Christie’s will launch the season of high-end auctions in New York on April 17, 2018 with its Magnificent Jewels auction featuring dozens of glamorous pieces of diamond and gemstone jewelry. We look at auction catalogs to gauge many things about the state of the diamond market. We are looking closely at the prices which the auction houses estimate that the pieces will earn, the presence or absence of important and investment worthy stones, and if any of these stones are repeats from previous sales. Occasionally, a diamond or gem is so impressive that it makes the international news headlines because of the rarity of the color and the price that it is worth.
This auction will not be featuring any diamonds that are quite so momentous, but there are many top investment quality blue diamonds that will be appearing, and an impressive pink diamond that is estimated to sell handsomely. Of all the lots to appear that evening, the top 3 lots of the entire auction by value consist of rare pink and blue diamonds. It is becoming a bigger challenge for the auction houses to find unique items to offer their high-end clientele and bidders. The supply of such diamonds is dry, as no new major discoveries are being found in the mines around the world, and so we are relying on old items that have been around for many years to come back to the auction scene rather than new pieces.
The top lot at the auction that evening is an 8.42 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond with a VVS1 clarity. The diamond is accompanied by a working diagram stating that the diamond is potentially Internal Flawless if it were to be re-polished. We estimate that if the pink diamond were to undergo the re-polish, it would still remain above 8.42 carats even if it were to be re-polished to the IF clarity. We think it will sell for a price reflecting the possibility of the IF clarity, and therefore there is no need to actually re-polish it to IF. It is currently valued by Christie’s to sell at a price between $4 million to $6 million, or $475k to $712k per carat.
The 8.42 carat Fancy Intense Pink VVS1 diamond Image credit: Christie’s
As the current valuation stands, the color that the diamond exhibits is most likely a weak Fancy Intense Pink color. A similar size and clarity sold for over $1 million per carat back in November 2017 in Hong Kong, a little less than double Christie’s highest estimate for this diamond. The market price for such a rarity should be $1 million per carat and even up to $1.5 million per carat, but it all depends on the depth of color. We will see at what price it will ultimately sell.
The second highest valued item for that auction is diamond ring containing a duo of diamonds – one pink diamond and one blue diamond. The pink diamond is a 2.85 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond with a low I1 clarity. The blue diamond is a 2.42 carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond with VS2 clarity. Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds in the 2 carat and greater size range are becoming increasingly rare and hard to find. This fact is reflected in the value given by Christie’s. They are valuing the ring to be worth between $4 million and $6 million. The clarity of the pink diamond on the ring makes the value of that diamond to be less than 10% of the ring’s total value, meaning that the real value there is in the blue diamond. Currently, the value of such a blue diamond rarity is in the $1.5 million to $2 million, which makes the blue diamond valued at $3.63 million to $4.84 million.
The dates of the certificates of the diamonds mean that they have either been updated to be recently graded, or that the diamonds have been re-polished. We think they were just updated, as no new significant blue rough diamonds have been discovered lately.
The 2.85 carat Fancy Intense Pink I1 diamond and 2.42 carat Fancy Vivid Blue VS2 diamond
Image credit: Christie’s
The next item is also a duo diamond ring, with an equally rare 2.10 carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond whose VS1 clarity and Vivid color intensity grade makes it a slightly better investment piece than the above item. The other diamond on the ring is a 1.98 carat D color VS1 diamond, which is easy to evaluate as all colorless diamonds are. The total evaluation for this ring is between $2.5 million and $3.5 million. If we use the same value estimate for this blue as the above diamond, we will have a total value of $3.15 million to $4.2 million, slightly above what the auction house estimated.
The 2.10 carat Fancy Vivid Blue VS1 diamond and 1.98 carat D color VS1 diamond Image credit: Christie’s
This next diamond is equally rare. It is 3.09 carat Fancy Intense Blue diamond with VS1 clarity and a beautiful emerald cut. It is valued at $2 million to $3 million, or $647k to $974k per carat. If the color is strong enough, we should be able to see it easily surpassing the $1 million per carat mark when the bidding begins. Should it pass the $1.3 million per carat mark, it would mean that experts see it as a potential upgrade to a Fancy Vivid Blue diamond if re-polished. This is one way of making great returns for investors, although it is done with caution and only when a diamond has potential for an upgrade. Not all diamonds would be “upgraded” if they were re-polished, and it takes a diamond expert to be able to see if there is potential.
The 3.09 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS1 diamond Image credit: Christie’s
Equally rare, this 2.81 carat Fancy Intense Blue diamond with a VVS1 clarity should see plenty of bidding as well. The value by the auction house seems to be low, unless the color is weaker than the pictures belie, and in which case the price would be justified. Should it be a good color, we shall see a bidding war for this blue diamond. It is valued at $1 million to $1.5 million, or $355k to $533k per carat. For a Fancy Intense Blue of this clarity with good, strong color, the price should be from $850k to $1 million per carat. I am excited to see how the war will take place for this diamond.
The 2.81 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS1 diamond Image credit: Christie’s
Either Christie’s is trying to put low value on purpose so we can see a significant added value over estimates, or the diamond color is very weak, and should be valued as a simple Fancy Blue Diamond.
Another Fancy Intense Blue diamond is being offered this evening. Slightly smaller at 1.27 carats and a VS2 clarity, this pear-shaped diamond is still valued at a ridiculous low estimated final price between $100k to $150k total, or $78.7k to $118k per carat. This price is so low, I am not sure what Christie’s experts were thinking! This price is even too low for a Fancy Blue diamond, even if the color here is weak. It should be estimated to sell at a price in the $350k to $550k per carat range, and if the color is strong, it will sell even higher. We will see a final price significantly above the high estimate.
The 1.27 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS2 diamond Image credit: Christie’s
This auction should be quite exciting, and I look forward to reporting results. Should you wish to bid for any of these items and need assistance, feel free to contact me. Got any comments on my evaluations or Christie’s? Got any questions about diamonds at auction or diamond investments? Ask in the comments!
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