Sotheby’s has been forced to cancel its sale of the Pink Star, the 59.6 ct. pink stone that supposedly sold in November for $83 million to New York City dealer Isaac Wolf. At the time, the price was an auction record for any gem or jewel.
The stone is now sitting in Sotheby’s inventory, the auction house said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the result of what it termed a “default” by Wolf, who bought it on behalf of a group. (Wolf did not return a call from JCK.)
Sotheby’s spokesman Darrell Rocha says they have “great confidence in the desirability of the Pink Star because of its extraordinary rarity and quality.”
In 2011, two record-setting sales—one at Sotheby’s, one at Christie’s—were also canceled. Both of those stones were sold quickly to private buyers. This time, there were at least three underbidders. Rocha declined comment on why none of them bought the stone.
“Defaults happen rarely,” Rocha says. “Our purchaser default rate is immaterial in relation to the total volume of transactions brokered by Sotheby’s.” Veteran auction watcher Ettagale Blauer agrees: “I just see this as a series of unfortunate occurrences.”
White Light, White Heat
A Louisiana resident found a 2.89 ct. white diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Ark., after his mother-in-law saw the park on TLC’s reality show 19 Kids and Counting.
The triangle-shape diamond is “the size of an English pea,” according to park interpreter Margi Jenks. “It was an okay diamond,” she says. “The size was nice. It had a really nice shine.”
It also had a metallic sheen, she adds. “That is very typical of crater diamonds,” she says. “They don’t look like African diamonds. They have that smooth surface.”
The stone’s finder, Brandon Kalenda, found the diamond after only 20 minutes of searching. He named it the Jax Diamond after his infant son, Jackson, and told park staff he plans to keep the stone.
The park, open since 1972, lets visitors search for diamonds and keep what they find. Staff provides free identification and valuation of the diamonds.