On Nov. 14, a 163 ct. D flawless diamond set in a necklace designed by Swiss jeweler de Grisogono fetched $33.7 million at Christie’s jewelry auction in Geneva.
That diamond was set in an emerald-studded necklace (pictured below), dubbed the “Art of de Grisogono.” It is the largest D flawless ever offered at auction, and the sale set a new record for a D flawless stone.
The final price works out to $206,000 a carat. The buyer was anonymous.
Still, some found the final tally disappointing, considering a 118 ct. D flawless brought in $30.6 million in October 2013.
“I am disappointed that the Art of de Grisogono didn’t sell for a more dazzling price,” said 77 Diamonds managing director Tobias Kormind in a statement. “It is a worrying sign for the top end of the diamond market suggesting it is not as immune as one would have hoped to downward price pressures caused by global factors such as the Chinese slowdown, Russian sanctions, and lower oil prices.”
Overall, the sale fetched $118 million, with 82 percent sold by lot, and 89 percent sold by value.
The sale was not without controversy.
Gem explorer Yianni Melas initiated a seven-day, water-only hunger strike in protest of the auction. It was spurred by de Grisogono’s reported ownership by the Dos Santos family. Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Jose dos Santos, who until this summer served as Angola’s president, is considered Africa’s richest woman, with a $3.5 billion net worth.
The 163 ct. stone was fashioned from a 404 ct. stone discovered in Angola.
In a Facebook post that was widely shared on industry social media, Melas said, “Diamonds can help entire communities where they are mined.…My demands? ALL the proceeds from this sale should go towards building a children’s hospital in Angola…For Isabel [Dos Santos] it’s pocket change, for the children of Angola it’s life and death.”
De Grisogono did not respond to a request from JCK for comment. However, it has previously declined to comment on its ownership, adding its “procurement process is auditable and totally ethical.”
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