Eight Hearts Diamond
The Ultimate Diamond

Billed as “the most valuable diamond ever to come to auction,” the 59.6-carat Pink Star lived up to its hype by selling for a world record price of more than $83 million at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale Wednesday.

The diamond was introduced prior to the bidding as “one of the most remarkable gems ever to appear at auction.”

Bidding opened at 48 million Swiss francs and gradually climbed to 64 million Swiss francs. After a pause it quickly moved to 67 million francs ($73.2 million), shattering its $60 million high estimate. Nervous laughter could be heard on Sotheby’s live feed as the bidding slowly pushed up to the winning bid of 68 million Swiss francs. Commission fees pushed the final total to more than 76.3 million Swiss francs ($83.4 million).

The diamond is graded as Type IIa, which is rare for any pink diamond, much less one of this size and color. Cut over a period of two years, The Pink Star is more than twice the size of the Graff Pink—a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond that established a world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel at $46.2 million, at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010. The current record price per carat for a fancy vivid pink diamond of $2,155,332 is set by a 5-carat diamond, sold in Hong Kong in January 2009. The current record price for any colored diamond sold at auction is $2,398,151 per carat, for “the Orange,” a 14.82-carat fancy vivid orange diamond that sold a day earlier at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction. The per carat price for the The Pink Star has yet to be released and will be updated.

Cut by Steinmetz Diamonds over a period of nearly two years from a 132.5-carat rough, the diamond was first unveiled to the public in May 2003 as the “Steinmetz Pink.” The stone was first sold privately in 2007 and renamed The Pink Star.

Left: The largest fancy vivid orange diamond to ever appear at auction shattered a world record as it sold for more than $35.5 million Tuesday at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale.

 “The 14.82-carat orange diamond is one such a stone, a rare gem, which will perhaps only be seen once in a lifetime. In the sale on Tuesday, it soared far above all previous records for any orange diamond ever sold at auction, placing The Orange among the greatest pinks and blues, which are traditionally the most appreciated colored diamonds.”

The final total of $35,531,974 million includes fees and commissions.

There was little question that the diamond, simply called “The Orange,” was going to fetch a record price. It is believed to be easily the world’s largest orange diamond. It is approximately three times larger than the two other known large orange diamonds: The 5.54-carat “Pumpkin Diamond,” which was sold privately, and a 4.19 carat fancy vivid orange diamond sold at auction for a record price of $2.95 million in October 2011.

Pure orange diamonds are exceptionally rare, the auction house said. It is more common to find orange diamonds with secondary colors. The orange color is the result of the presence of nitrogen during the diamond’s creation.

The Gemological Institute of America, which graded the diamond and issued its report, recently said: “Strongly colored diamonds in the orange hue range rarely exceed three or four carats in size when polished. (This diamond) is almost four times larger than that size range. In GIA’s colored diamond grading system, as the color appearance of strongly colored diamonds transitions from orangy yellow to orange the occurrence becomes progressively more rare—that is—the less yellow present the more rarely they occur.”

In the GIA report, the diamond was graded as VS1 clarity, and classified as a Type IA.