18.96-Carat 'Pink Legacy' Sells for $50.3 Million, Sets Auction Record at Christie's Geneva

In the lead-up to yesterday's highly anticipated auction of the "Pink Legacy," Christie's Rahul Kadakia had gone out on a limb and said the 18.96-carat fancy vivid pink diamond was "as good as it gets."

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“To find a diamond of this size with this color is pretty much unreal,” said the International Head of Jewellery at Christie’s. “You may see this color in a pink diamond of less than one carat. But this is almost 19 carats and it’s as pink as can be. It’s unbelievable.”

Kadakia's evaluation was right on the mark as the vibrant, VS1-clarity, rectangular-cut gem was purchased by Harry Winston for $50.3 million, establishing a record price-per-carat for a diamond of that hue.

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The hammer price at Christie's Geneva was at the top end of the $30 million to $50 million pre-sale estimate, and set a new high-water mark for fancy vivid pink diamonds at $2.7 million per carat. The previous record holder was the 14.93-carat Pink Promise, which sold at auction for $2.2 million per carat a year ago in Hong Kong.

“We are proud to continue in the Winston tradition of acquiring the finest gems in the world,” Harry Winston Chief Executive Officer Nayla Hayek said in a statement. The winning bidder also appended the diamond's name. It will now be known as the "Winston Pink Legacy."

Once owned by the Oppenheimer family — famous for its connections to the De Beers mining company — the Winston Pink Legacy was discovered in a South African mine about 100 years ago and hasn't been altered since it was first cut in 1920.

The Winston Pink Legacy is the largest fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered at auction by Christie’s. In fact, over the course of its 252-year history, only four fancy vivid pink diamonds larger than 10 carats have ever appeared for sale.

Kadakia said in September that “its exceptional provenance will no doubt propel it into a class of its own as one of the world’s greatest diamonds.”

Despite its impressive $50.3 million hammer price, the Winston Pink Legacy fell short of the world record for the highest price ever paid for a pink diamond — or any gemstone. That honor is still held by the fancy vivid Pink Star, a 59.5-carat diamond that sold for $71 million in 2017.

Credits: Images courtesy of Christie’s.

Miners Seek Coveted 'AO' Status for Colombian Emeralds, Claim They're Geographically Unique

Colombian miners are seeking to gain coveted "AO" status for their emeralds, widely considered to be the finest in the world. "AO" is shorthand for "appellation of origin," which is a designation given to products that possess unique characteristics associated with their geographic location.

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One of the most notable products with "AO" status is Parma ham from Italy. For ham to be marked with the Parma name, it must be produced in the Italian province of Parma using pigs exclusively from that area. Other famous "AO" products include Tequila from Mexico, Bordeaux wine from France and Gruyere cheese from Switzerland.

Colombia's national emerald producers’ association, Aprecol, is planning to submit its "AO" application to Colombia’s patent and registration office by the end of this year, according to the Financial Times. Once approved by that office, the application will be forwarded to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, for further consideration. A final decision could come as early as March 2019.

The association will argue that Colombia's emeralds are distinctively different than emeralds mined in other parts of the world. Not only do they possess a rare combination of intense color and crystalline transparency, but they also have a unique chemical fingerprint, according to gemologists. With the use of X-ray spectroscopy, they can pinpoint whether a stone was sourced at Colombia's Muzo, Coscuez or Chivor mine.

“We want customers to know that when they buy a Colombian emerald, they are getting the genuine thing, that it was exported from Colombia legally and that it was mined ethically and responsibly,” Aprecol president Edwin Molina told the Financial Times.

The Colombian-sourced Gachala Emerald, above, weighs 858 carats and was gifted to the Smithsonian by Harry Winston in 1969. The extraordinary gem was mined in Gachala in 1967.

Credit: Image by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.

All-Diamond Ring Crafted From a Single Rough Gem May Fetch $250,000 at Benefit Auction

An all-diamond ring custom crafted from a single rough gem is expected to fetch up to $250,000 when Sotheby's offers it for sale December 5 at the third (RED) Auction in Miami. Proceeds from the sale will support HIV/AIDS programs in Africa.

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Conceived by Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, and renowned industrial designer Marc Newson, The (Red) Diamond Ring will contain no metal elements. The lab-grown rough diamond will be carved into a ring shape by master cutters in Antwerp using laser beam and water jet technology. It will come to life by removing material rather than adding it.

“It is not a precious stone in a metal setting mounted on a metal band,” Ive told robbreport.com. “It is truly a diamond ring.”

In the end, the ring will feature between 2,000 and 3,000 individual facets, some as small as several hundred micrometers (1,000 micrometers equals 1 millimeter). According to Sotheby's, the ring's interior will be cylindrically cut for the desired smoothness using a micrometer-thick water jet.

The ring in the photo, above, is conceptual. The actual piece will be custom-made for the winning bidder in any ring size up to 5. Sotheby's set the pre-sale estimate at $150,000 to $250,000.

Shawish Geneva was the first company to form a ring from a single diamond. Shawish unveiled the innovative ring to the public during the 2012 Baseworld Watch and Jewelry Show. That ring was laser-cut from a 150-carat rough diamond. While the Shawish ring was certainly groundbreaking, the Ive-Newson design is said to be more wearable.

The company responsible for creating the lab-grown rough diamond for this project is San Francisco-based Diamond Foundry. The rough is expected to be larger than 45 carats.

The (Red) Diamond Ring will be auctioned by Sotheby’s during Art Basel Miami. Previous (RED) Auctions have generated $68 million for AIDS research.

Credit: Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Music Friday: Tommy and Janey Visit a Jeweler in 'Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you fun songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, country music artist Tracy Byrd tells the story of Tommy and Janey's life-changing trip to a jewelry store in 1997's "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine."

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In the very first verse, we are introduced to a young couple looking for the perfect engagement ring. They're holding hands and staring into the bridal case when a particular ring catches Tommy's eye.

Byrd sings, "Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it / I think it's gonna fit just fine / As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man / Don't love make a diamond shine."

Byrd goes on to explain that any diamond — no matter what size — looks like a million bucks "sittin' on the hand of a girl in love." He also takes a shot at a rich couple whose perfect 15-carat diamond is "duller than dirt" because their relationship is on the rocks.

Written by Mike Dekle and Craig Wiseman, "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine" was released as the third single from Byrd's fourth album, Big Love. The song reached #17 on the U.S. Billboard Country Songs chart and #13 on the Canada Country Tracks chart. Big Love became Byrd's third gold-selling album.

Born in Vidor, Texas, Byrd explored his musical talents with a local band called Rimfire while attending Southwest Texas State. A friend encouraged Byrd to sing a cover of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" at a mall recording studio and the result was so impressive that the studio's owner entered Byrd into a local talent contest. The artist caught the attention of MCA Records, which offered him a recording contract in 1992.

The 51-year-old has charted more than 30 singles, including 11 Top Ten hits. He's produced 10 studio albums and two greatest-hits albums.

Please check out the audio clip of Byrd performing "Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Don't Love Make A Diamond Shine"
Written by Craig Wiseman and Mike Dekle. Performed by Tracy Byrd.

Tommy and Janey barely eighteen
Holding hands at the jewelry store
Eyes open wide staring inside
At the ring that they wanted for her

Mister bring it closer, mister can we hold it
I think it's gonna fit just fine
As he slipped it on her hand, Janey kissed her man
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

There's a rich lady with a new Mercedes
Livin' up in a high rise
She's got a big ol' rock on her left hand
That looks cheaper than a Cracker Jack prize.

'Cause her man don't know that it ain't the dough
No all he needs to spend is time
And that big marquis'd be a laser beam
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine
It don't matter if it costs a dime
Dang thing looks like a million bucks
Sittin' on the hand of a girl in love.

A perfect fifteen carat is duller than dirt
If the heart don't wear it
With three little words it'll knock you blind
Don't love make a diamond shine.

Don't love make a diamond shine...



Credit: Screen capture via YouTube.com.

King Tut's Breastplate Features a Scarab Carved From Rare Libyan Desert Glass

When British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter entered the intact tomb of King Tutankhamun in 1922, he encountered thousands of luxury objects intended to accompany the boy king into the afterworld.

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Among the items decorated with gold, silver and precious gemstones was a breastplate depicting the god Ra as a winged scarab carrying the sun and moon into the sky. The scarab was carved from a pale greenish-yellow stone that Carter originally identified as chalcedony, a translucent variety of quartz.

A decade later, British geographer Patrick Clayton found samples of a similar glass-like material while exploring the Libyan Desert along the border of modern Egypt and Libya and classified it as Libyan Desert Glass (LDG).

In a recent article published at Forbes.com, geologist David Bressan explains that LDG forms when quartz-rich desert sand is exposed to a heat burst of 3,600°F and then rapidly cools. Modern researchers noted that LDG has a different crystal structure than common quartz and contains traces of rare minerals and unusual elements, suggesting they could have been part of a vaporized meteorite.

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The LDG sample shown here weighs 22 grams (0.78 ounces) and measures 55 mm (2.17 inches) wide.

The lack of an impact crater near the areas where LDG has been found lends credence to the theory that a comet may have exploded before touching down in the desert — generating enough heat to melt the sands. Scientists have compared LDG to trinitite, which is created when sand is exposed to the thermal radiation of a nuclear explosion.

Because of the unusual factors needed to create Libyan Desert Glass, it is truly among the rarest minerals on Earth. LDG is found only in Libya's desolate Great Sand Sea north of the Gilf Kebir Plateau. Whether King Tut's handlers in 1323 BCE were aware of this rarity remains a mystery.

Credit: Tutankhamun breastplate by Jon Bodsworth [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons. LDG image by H. Raab (User:Vesta) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0 at], from Wikimedia Commons.