5 Notable Diamonds That Recently Hit the Auction Houses

In recent weeks, auction houses have announced sales of such rare stones as a 9 ct. purple-pink and 3.21 ct. blue. But those aren’t the only notable diamonds that have gone on the block recently:

– It was owned by Kings. Pawned by Queens. Four Royal families traded it back and forth like a baseball card. And now the historic, 35 ct. internally flawless double rose-cut Beau Sancy can be yours when Sotheby’s auctions it in May—if you pony up the estimated $2 million–$4 million.

– Talk about a diamond fit for a queen—at least of the film variety. The 33 ct. D Flawless gem formerly known as the Krupp was one of the most-talked-about pieces at Christie’s blockbuster sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection in December. The Richard Burton–bestowed gem, now known as the Elizabeth Taylor Diamond because the late film actress sported it every day, was described by a Christie’s VP “one of the most beautiful gems I have ever seen.” It sold for a beautiful $8.8 million.

– No one was surprised when Laurence Graff scooped up the Wittelsbach, a legendary 35 ct. blue, for a record $24.3 million in December 2008. But the London gem aficionado shocked many when he recut the stone soon afterwards, losing 4 cts. in the process. “Is this gem vandalism?” The Financial Times asked, quoting two experts who called the actions “criminal.” But Graff boasts he improved the stone’s color and clarity—and the stone, now dubbed the Wittelsbach-Graff, still made ’em gasp when it was exhibited in at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 2010.

– Graff made news again last November, when he paid $3.99 million for an oval-shape D IF 24.30 ct. diamond ring auctioned by Christie’s Geneva. The twist: The gem was a “diamond by Graff,” meaning it was one he had previously owned. “Laurence always goes for the best diamonds in all the auctions,” François Curiel, president of Christie’s Asia later noted, “whether sold by him before or not.”

– When you auction one of the largest yellow diamonds known to exist, one would expect it would fetch an equally large price. Even so, the 110.03 ct. Sun-Drop Diamond managed to surpass all expectations at Sotheby’s Geneva in December, setting a new world record for a yellow stone—$12.4 million. Even more impressive, the previous record for a yellow diamond had been set by Christie’s just two months earlier.