A rare, oval-shaped diamond known as the “Pink Star” became the world’s most expensive jewel after fetching $71.2 million at a Hong Kong auction on Tuesday.
Sotheby’s sold the 59.6-carat gemstone to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, a local, family-owned conglomerate that runs a chain of jewelry shops. Company chairman Henry Cheng Kar-Shun phoned in the bid.
The final price of HKD $553 million ($71.2 million) includes the buyer’s premium, or auction house charge, but not sales taxes.
Sotheby’s President and CEO Tad Smith said in a press release:
“It is fitting that the owner of the most prestigious jeweler in Greater China should today break the record for the most valuable item ever sold in Asia as well as the most valuable diamond ever sold at auction – now appropriately named the CTF Pink Star.”
The rough diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1999, sold for $83 million in 2013 at another Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. However, buyer Isaac Wolf, a diamond cutter based in New York, failed to pay.
As a result, the gem stayed in Sotheby’s inventory until the company looked to Asia. David Bennett, chairman of jewelry division, said (via the Associated Press):
“The Asian element in the jewelry market is extremely important and from what I’ve been hearing from members of the trade I’ve been talking to, in the last six months they have become more and more important.”
With its sale, the “Pink Star” surpassed the record of the “Oppenheimer Blue” as the most expensive polished diamond. The latter sold for $57.5 million at a Christie’s auction in Geneva last year.
The “Pink Star” was mined by De Beers as a 132.5-carat gem and polished by Steinmetz Diamonds over a two-year period. Its final appearance was made public in May 2003, the Washington Post noted.
It is said to be the largest “fancy vivid” pink diamond graded by the Gemological Institute of America.