Unsold Green Diamond In Hong Kong Disappoints Philips Auction House

Although they are a smaller player in the auction arena, Philips cannot avoid its exposure now that the highlighted item of an auction went unsold. Similar to the fate of Sotheby’s in the recent Geneva auction, which finished the European auction season with two significant items going unsold, Philips did not sell the 5.62 carat Fancy Intense Green diamond, their most significant piece of the evening.

The rare 5.62 carat Fancy Intense Green VS2 diamond, the second largest Fancy Intense Green diamond to ever be offered at auction, did not meet the minimum reserve price which caused it not to sell. It was valued by the auction house at a price between $2.8 million to $3.3 million, or $498k to $587k per carat. The fact that people were not willing to pay the high price boils down to the diamond’s color intensity and consumer appetite. There may not be a large demand for Fancy Intense Green at this time, as opposed to Fancy Vivid Green, which is a higher color intensity. The market needs to better understand these rare green diamonds and their valuation in order to make proper and informed decisions, and to draw their interest to the different color intensities. Investors need to work with the experts that work with green diamonds in order to determine which ones are of investment quality, and there are not a lot of these individuals around.

The 5.62 Fancy Intense Green VS2 diamond          Image credit: Phillips


There were two previous Fancy Intense Green diamond that were indeed sold at these valuations, but there is also a 5.28 carat Fancy Intense Green diamond that went unsold at a Christie’s Hong Kong auction back in May of 2017. This shows that the market is very mixed about this color and intensity.

The 5.28 Fancy Intense Green diamond          Image credit: Phillips


Another item of interest that went unsold during the auction is the 0.95 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond that has an original Argyle certificate. Although it had an SI1 clarity, which is not especially high, the most likely reason that it failed to sell is due to weak color. Even if the GIA certificate graded it as a Fancy Intense Pink, it could be a weak intense in reality. We have previously explained that within color grades, there are levels from 1-10 that further define how strong a color is, even within its own grade. Ten is the strongest of that color intensity, and 1 is the weakest of that color intensity. This pink diamond may be low on the scale, which would make the color closer to a Fancy Pink, and that would lower the potential value of the diamond – and an expert would see this right away and recommend not to pay the estimated auction price. Investors are realizing the value of expert advice when it comes to strategic acquisitions. The diamond was valued at $165k to $200k total. There are similar size pink Argyle diamonds that sell at higher prices than the auction estimate, but certainly their color is stronger and that would justify the price. Other fancy color diamonds also went unsold during the auction.

The 0.95 carat Fancy Intense Pink Argyle diamond          Image credit: Phillips


On a positive note, exceptional diamonds did sell at the auction. Again, this is not surprising because investors and buyers are looking for the best, and the best always sells.

The 8.09 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow IF pear shaped diamond with a unique Zimmi Yellow color did sell. It was estimated to go for a price between $700k to $830k, or $86.5k to $102.5k per carat, sold for $745.5k total (based on a 7.7 HKD/USD exchange) or $92.1k per carat.

The 8.09 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow IF pear shaped diamond          Image credit: Phillips


A nice sale was made with the 10.22 carat Fancy Brown-Pink VVS2 diamond. It was estimated to sell at a price between $320k to $450k total, or $31.3k to $44k per carat. It ended up selling for $659k, or $64.5k per carat, a 46.6% premium on top of its high valuation.

10.22 carat Fancy Brown-Pink VVS2 diamond          Image credit: Phillips


Another successful sale was the 0.73 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS2 marquise shaped diamond. It was estimated by the auction house to sell at a price between $150k to $200k total, or $205.5k to $274k per carat, and ended up selling for $176.2k, or $241.5k per carat.

The 0.73 carat Fancy Intense Blue VVS2 marquise shaped diamond          Image credit: Phillips


Like with all diamonds, the prices for fancy color diamonds change depending on the carat weight. The valuations for the pink diamonds and blue diamonds above may have seemed low to you, but note that they are less than 1 carat in weight. As the carat weight increases, the per-carat value increases significantly. The prices for blue diamonds and pink diamonds start to increase exponentially once their weight is above 1 carat in size due to the rarity factor. Color diamonds increase in value as well, but not by such a huge factor, because they are not rare.

Got any questions about the diamonds that sold, or about what happens to a diamond that doesn’t sell? Ask us in the comments!

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