Despite the Global challenge with Covid-19, Christie’s had a successful auction in Hong Kong. The total sales amount to HKD $395,710,000 compared to HKD $396,463,750 last year. On the other hand, Christie’s continues to disappoints the market with its lack of transparency. It continues to remove unsold items from its website. By doing so, they remove the ability of the market to completely understand estimates and real outcome for many items.
Christie’s, as a private company can choose to conduct its business anyway it sees fit, but the market view is different, and being a leader in many aspects of the auction industry, it must strive to be a leader in transparency, despite pressure coming from owners of jewels not sold. Perhaps the auction house ends up selling these items via its private sale channel, but nevertheless, it must strive for true leadership in transparency.
The top Fancy Color Item sold was the pair of earrings with Fancy Intense Blue Diamonds. The pair was a perfect match by size. both were 3.29 carat and Internally Flawless Clarity (GIA 2201325021 and GIA 2205357721) both were a rare marquise shape. The estimate was between $3.2 million to $4.4 million or $486k to $669k per carat. It ended up selling for $6.07 million or $922k per carat. This resulted from the rarity of the pair and strength of color.
The pair was sold to Diacore, An African manufacturer that has started to make the News Headlines with their recent acquisition of the five blue rough diamonds in partnership with De Beers. Diacore is the rebirth of Steinmetz Diamonds which also polished the 59.6 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond sold to Chow Tai Fook in a Hong Kong auction.
The second highest selling Fancy Color Diamond was the 4.90 carat, Fancy Intense Pink Diamond with a VS1 clarity (GIA 5192291260). It was valued between $3.2 million and $4.5 million or $653k to $918k per carat. It ended up selling for $3.748 million or $765k per carat. Prices in the 3-5 carat sub-category have not been this strong since 2017 when a 3.30 carat diamond was sold for $776k per carat.
The next important Fancy Color Diamond to sell was the 18.08 carat, Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond ring (GIA 2203948452), which was estimated to sell between $700k to $1 million and ended up selling for $1.426 million or 42% above the high estimate. The $78.9k per carat is on the high end of the price levels where such diamonds should sell.
The next important diamond to sell was the 2.25 carat, Fancy Intense Blue Diamond with an SI1 clarity (GIA 5212130508). It was estimated to sell between $650k to $1 million or $289k to $444k per carat. It ended up selling for $1.04 million or $461.6k per carat. The price was at the high end of the valuation, but reasonable considering the low clarity.
The next item sold was the 1.04 carat, Fancy Deep Purplish Pink diamond with a VS2 clarity (GIA 5211009396). It was estimated between $150k to $230k or $144k to $221k per carat. It ended up selling for $806k or $775k per carat, over 3.5 times its high value. This price is completely over the valuation which was correctly done by the auction house. There is only one reason why the price would climb that high.
The dealer who acquired it (no private person would be sane to pay such a price), actually believes that by re-polishing it, he can get it upgraded to a red color intensity. Normally, a Fancy Deep Purplish Pink diamond color can be upgraded to either a Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink, or to a Fancy Purplish Red. Due to the price paid, my assumption is Purplish Red, simply because if it would turn to a Fancy Vivid, the price is still high because you can safely find a 1 carat Vivid Pink with a VS2 clarity in the market for the same price or even less, without taking the risk of re-polishing. If the re-polishing is a success, and provided that the weight remains at 1.00 carat or more, then the financial reward would be huge. As we have seen in a recent auction how a 1 carat red with a VS2 clarity was sold for $2.8 million. The sale was also a record price per carat paid for a 1 carat Fancy Deep Pink in the 1-3 carat sub-category.
I wish the dealer good luck in the process. If it fails, it would be a substantial financial loss.
The 1.36 carat, Fancy Intense Pink diamond with the SI2 clarity (GIA 5211008883) was estimated to sell between $190k to $320k or $140k to $235.3k per carat. It ended up selling for $403k per carat or $296.5 per carat.
Overall it was a successful auction with magnificent Fancy Color Diamonds sold. While a pink diamond broke a record, the auction house failed miserably with its transparency policy by removing unsold items from its website. The market demands more transparency and in fact, keeping the untold items listed with the estimates and last bid would be appropriate to display.
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