We have been spoilt in 2016 with an incredible array of diamonds in all shapes, sizes and colours, with our top 10 including four blues, three pinks and one extraordinary green. But it was a huge 813-carat rough that became the most valuable diamond of the year when it sold for $63.3 million back in May.
Named The Constellation, it was bought by Nemesis International, which sold the rights to market the huge rough to Fawaz Gruosi of de GRISOGONO. Unearthed at Lucara’s Karowe mine in Botswana, the enormous gem, which the Swiss jeweller exhibited at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris in September, measures six centimetres across and is likely to be one of the largest flawless diamonds in the world when it is cut and polished.
The day before the discovery of The Constellation, an even bigger diamond was found in the same section of the Karowe mine. The 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona – the second largest uncut diamond in history – was touted as “the find of a lifetime”, and it looked like it was going to topple The Constellation to become the most valuable diamond of 2016. However, in a turn of events that surprised all, bidding stalled at the Sotheby’s auction devoted to this whopper of a gem and the Lesedi La Rona remains unsold.
Fancy coloured diamonds dominate the top 10, with blue diamonds, which account for a tiny 0.0001% of the world’s diamonds, performing particularly well this year. Back in May, the Oppenheimer Blue, a 14.62-carat emerald cut Fancy Vivid blue diamond dubbed the “gem of gems’, sold for $57.7 million at Christie’s Geneva, setting a world auction record price for a blue diamond and becoming the most expensive gemstone ever sold at auction. Other blues achieved dizzying sums also, including the Cullinan Dream and the Sky Blue.
Two pear-shaped Fancy Vivid pink diamonds made the top 10, including the 15.38 carat Unique Pink, which sold for $31.6 million in spring to become the most expensive Fancy Vivid pink diamond in the world. The second gem, a 9.14 carat Fancy Vivid pink, was sold to an Asian buyer for $18.2 million, who quickly renamed it The Light of Memory.
The only white diamonds to make the top 10 are also pear-shaped. The exceptional pair of diamonds, weighing 52.55 and 50.47 carats, are set into a sensational pair of Miroir de L’Amour earrings by Boehmer et Bassenge.
D colour – the top grade for colourless diamonds – the diamonds are also flawless and Type IIa, which refers to their superior transparency, making them pretty much perfect in every way. They sold for $17.6 million at Christie’s Geneva in November, setting a new world auction record for a pair of earrings.
While number 10, the Aurora Green diamond, didn’t achieve anything close to the big blues and pinks, it is a fascinating addition to the list. Green diamonds almost never appear at auction, and this one is a Fancy Vivid, which gives the green a striking intensity. Special not just because of its size – 5.03 carats – but also because of its VS2 clarity, it set two auction records when it sold for $16.8 million at Christie’s Hong Kong in May, shattering the previous record for a green diamond by millions.
Our round-up of the most valuable diamonds of 2016 wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the Harrods Diamond, a 228.31 carat pear-shaped diamond that is in a league of its own. Found in the vaults of the famous London department store, it appears to have been cut recently, but its owner has chosen to remain anonymous, heightening the intrigue around this epic gem. It’s price on application, so we can only speculate about its value, but it may exceed The Constellation.
Top 10 most valuable diamonds of 2016
1. 813-carat “The Constellation” rough diamond, sold for $63.3 million.
2. Oppenheimer Blue diamond, sold for $57,541,779 at Christie’s Geneva in May.
3. The Unique Pink diamond, sold for $31,561,200 at Sotheby’s Geneva in May.
4. Cullinan Dream diamond, sold for $25.4 million at Christie’s New York in June.
5. 17.07 carat Fancy Intense pink diamond ring, sold for $20,778,352 at Sotheby’s Geneva in November.
6. 9.14 carat pear-shaped Fancy Vivid pink diamond, renamed The Light of Memory, sold for $18,174,631 at Christie’s Geneva in November.
7. Miroir de ‘Amour pear-shaped D colour flawless diamond earrings, sold for $17,613,175 at Christie’s Geneva in November.
8. 7.32 carat internally flawless Fancy Vivid blue diamond, sold for $17,112,629 at Sotheby’s Geneva in May.
9. Sky Blue diamond, a Fancy Vivid Blue diamond weighing 8.01 carats, sold for $17,074,168 at Sotheby’s Geneva in November.
10. 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Aurora Green diamond, sold for $16,818,981 at Christie’s Hong Kong in May.
The Harrods Diamond, a 228.31 carat pear-shape stone, is amongst the largest diamonds of our times.
The Constellation, an 813-carat rough diamond, was unearthed at Lucara’s Karow mine in Botswana. It sold for $63.3 million in May, making it the most valuable diamond of 2016.
The Oppenheimer Blue is the second most expensive jewel to sell at auction. It went under the hammer for $57.7 million at Christie’s Geneva in May 2016.
The South African-mined Unique Pink sold for $31.56 million, becoming the most expensive Fancy Vivid pink diamond.
The 24.18ct Cullinan Dream - the largest Fancy Intense blue diamond to ever appear at auction - sold for $25.4 million at Christie’s New York in June 2016.
From an important private collection, this 17.07 carat Fancy Intense pink diamond ring sold for $20.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November.
This 9.14 carat pear-shaped Fancy Vivid pink diamond, renamed The Light of Memory, sold for $18,174,631 at Christie’s Geneva in November.
The only white diamonds in our top 10, these Miroir de l‘Amour pear-shaped D colour flawless diamond earrings sold for $17.6 million at Christie’s Geneva in November.
This 7.32 carat internally flawless Fancy Vivid blue diamond sold for $17.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in May.
The Sky Blue diamond, a Fancy Vivid Blue diamond weighing 8.01 carats, sold for $17.1 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November.
The 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Aurora Green diamond sold for $16.9 million at Christie’s Hong Kong in May.
Breaking records at Sotheby’s was the most expensive Fancy Vivid pink diamond ever to be sold: the Unique Pink.