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Princie Diamond Is Most Expensive Jewel Ever Sold at Christie’s

By Rob Bates, Senior Editor
Posted on April 17, 2013
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Princie Diamond Is Most Expensive Jewel Ever Sold at Christie’s
The Princie Diamond (Photo courtesy of Christie’s)

On April 16, The Princie, a 34.65 ct. fancy intense pink cushion cut, scored $39.3 million ($1.1 million a carat) at Christie’s New York—making it the most expensive jewel ever sold in the auction house’s 200-plus year history.

The sale price represents surpasses the previous record of $24.3 million, set in December 2008 by the Wittelsbach. 

The Princie now also holds the record for the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction in the United States, the auction house said. The buyer was kept anonymous.

The Type IIa stone—which was found in the famed Golconda mines of India—was originally owned by the Nizams of Hyderabad, rulers of the south central state in India. It was first auctioned in 1960 and purchased for £46,000 by the London branch of Van Cleef & Arpels. The diamond was named in honor of 14-year-old Prince of Baroda, India, who attended a party at a Paris Van Cleef store in 1960 with his mother, Maharani Sita Devi. 

A defining characteristic of the Princie diamond is its bright orange fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, Christie’s said, adding that it is the largest pink stone to display this characteristic. 

“Aside from Christie’s sale of the legendary collection of Elizabeth Taylor, this was the most successful jewelry auction ever held in the United States,” Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie’s Americas and Switzerland, said in a statement. 

Other highlights of the daylong auction: 

  • A 30.32 ct. rectangular-cut D color diamond fetched the auction’s second highest price of $4.4 million ($146,300 per carat).
  • A marquise-cut D color diamond ring by Harry Winston fetched $3.2 million.
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