All eyes were on The Orange, the largest fancy vivid orange diamond ever offered at auction, at Christie’s Nov. 12 Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva.
Weighing in at an astounding 14.32 cts., the Great Pumpkin of the gemstone world inspired a high-stakes bidding war before finally selling for $35,540,612. The prodigious sale set two new world records: the highest price per carat ($2.4 million) paid for any diamond sold at auction; and the highest-ever price paid for an orange diamond at auction.
Pure orange diamonds of more than five carats have very rarely been seen at auction, said François Curiel, international head of Christie’s jewelry department in a statement. “Time and again, a stone will appear on the market that is truly a miracle of nature,” he said, adding that the likes of The Orange “will perhaps only be seen once in a lifetime.”
The last orange diamond of this caliber to be up for auction, dubbed The Pumpkin Diamond, weighed 5.54 cts. and sold for $1.3 million at Sotheby’s in 1997—to Harry Winston’s son Ronald Winston.
A single anonymous collector has owned The Orange for at least 30 years. Its record-breaking price positions it “amongst the greatest pinks and blues, which are traditionally the most appreciated colored diamonds,” said Curiel.
But one of its records may not hold for long. Sotheby’s is hosting its Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva today (Nov. 13), which will feature a 59.6 ct. internally flawless diamond called the Pink Star. Valued at more than $60 million, it may be crowned the most expensive diamond ever bought at auction if it finds a buyer.
Still, The Orange wasn’t the only record-setter at the Geneva jewelry auction, which brought in a total of $125,360,131, selling 89 percent by lot and 96 percent by value.
Anna Hu’s Côte d’Azur brooch
A one-of-a-kind brooch created by Anna Hu Haute Joaillerie that sold for $4,568,163 broke the world auction sales record for a contemporary jewelry piece, as previously held by JAR. The Côte d’Azur brooch’s centerpiece jewel, a dazzling cushion-cut Burmese sapphire weighing 58.29 cts., broke the record for highest auction price per carat for a Burmese sapphire ($78,370 per carat).
Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s head of jewelry for Switzerland and the Americas, reported that the energy in the auction room “was constant throughout the sale, with collectors and members of the trade bidding with abandon.”