The ‘Leonardo da Vinci of Diamonds’ Sets a $50 Million World Record at Christie’s Geneva

It's the most per carat ever paid for a pink diamond.

The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie's Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.
The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie's Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

The “Leonardo da Vinci of diamonds” sold for $50.4 million at Christie’s Geneva this week. The rare 19-carat stone is of the “Fancy Vivid” variety, which has the highest grade of color intensity and is a designation given to just one in 100,000 diamonds.

“That is a world record per carat for a pink diamond,” Francois Curiel, head of Christie’s in Europe, who coined the Leonardo nickname, told Agence France Presse. “I don’t think there is anything better.”

The final sale price came out to $2.6 million per carat, topping the $2.2 million fetched by the 15-carat Pink Promise diamond last November at Christie’s Hong Kong, which sold for a total of $32.5 million.

The newly sold diamond is called the Pink Legacy. It was discovered in South Africa about a hundred years ago, and was likely cut in the 1920s. The shape is a rectangular emerald cut, more commonly used with white diamonds.

The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie's Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie’s Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

The stone hammered down at $44.5 million, surpassing the $30 million–50 million pre-sale estimate. It’s the largest pink diamond Christie’s has ever sold, and one of just four Fancy Vivid pinks over 10 carats ever offered by the auction house.

The diamond once belonged to the Oppenheimer family, which once ran South Africa’s De Beers diamond mining company. Christie’s did not publicize the seller, but the new owner, American luxury brand Harry Winston, has already renamed the stone the Winston Pink Legacy.

Since the company’s acquisition by the Swatch group in 2013, Swatch chairman and Harry Winston CEO Nayla Hayek has made some high profile diamond purchases: the 101.73-carat Winston Legacy, a pear-shaped white diamond for $26.7 million in 2013 and the 13.22-carat Fancy Vivid Winston Blue diamond for $23.8 million in 2014, both also at Christie’s Geneva.

The world record for a pink diamond was set last year with the $71.2 million sale of the 59.6-carat Pink Star Diamond at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. (The stone had previously sold for $83 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2013, but the buyer defaulted, rendering the record price void.) Exceedingly rare, Fancy Vivid pink diamonds tend to be quite small, with only 10 percent of pink diamonds weighing more than one-fifth of a carat and very few over five carats.

See more photos of the diamond below.

The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie's Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

The Pink Legacy diamond. Photo courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie's Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

The Pink Legacy diamond. Photo courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

The Pink Legacy sold for just over $50 million at Christie's Geneva. Photo courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

The Pink Legacy diamond. Photo courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.


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