DIAMONDS: Fancy Pinks Up for Auction; De Beers Antitrust Update



On Pink Ice

It seems like the entire auction world has been thinking pink lately—pink diamonds, that is.

• The gem receiving the most notice is the 24.78 ct. fancy pink gem that will be sold by Sotheby’s on Nov. 16 in Geneva. The ultra-rare stone—which received a presale estimate of $27 million to $38 million—is currently graded VVS2 clarity, but the Gemological Institute of America thinks it could be deemed flawless after repolishing. David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East, called it “one of the most desirable diamonds I have ever seen…a truly outstanding gemstone.”

• The same could be said about the smaller—but still impressive—­Perfect Pink, a 14.23 ct. fancy intense pink gem sporting a rare-for-a-­colored-diamond rectangular cut. The stone, predicted to fetch between $14 million to $19 million, will be sold by Christie’s Hong Kong on Nov. 24. 

Courtesy of Canturi Jewels
Barbie donned a pink diamond choker for her debut at Christie’s last month.

• And it turns out that even Barbie is a pink diamond fan. Custom designed by Stefano Canturi, “The World’s Most Expensive Barbie”—at press time, she was expected to realize $300,000 to $500,000 at Christie’s New York on Oct. 20—sports 3 cts. t.w. of white diamonds around her plastic neck, highlighted by a 1 ct. emerald-cut fancy vivid purplish-pink stone. All proceeds from the sale go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Hearing Aid

A recent decision to hold a new hearing on the De Beers antitrust class action settlement means it’s more likely the $295 million payout will be approved soon, say lawyers.

In July, after reviewing objections to the 2008 settlement, a three-judge panel from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent it back to a lower court. Complying with the panel’s proposed changes would be “complicated,” complains plaintiff attorney Joseph Tabacco. (See “De Beers Class Action Suit in Limbo,” JCK, September 2010, p. 26.)

Jim Arbogast/Getty Images
De Beers’ antitrust class action suit may soon be settled.

But weeks later, the larger 15-judge bench overturned that ruling and agreed to re-hear arguments at a special session called an en banc—suggesting that they disagreed with the decision to nix the settlement.  (In an “en banc” hearing, the full group of judges hears a case, as opposed to just a panel.)

“We feel this will pave the way for the settlement to hopefully become final in the next few months,” says Tabacco. Cecilia Gardner, president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, notes: “It is not so easy to get an en banc, so the judges must be thinking about something.”

The appeal revolves around esoteric jurisdiction questions raised by a group of objectors. But De Beers’ lack of a formal U.S. presence has complicated matters, leading to questions over which state’s rules apply. De Beers declined comment.

Rough and Ready

The Lestseng mine in Lesotho has unearthed a 196-carat rough colorless diamond. Mine owner Gem Diamonds says the stone has evidenced high color and clarity. Analysts say it may fetch more than $100 million.

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