April 13, 2011 / 5:02 PM / in 7 years

Pink diamond fails to sell at auction

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A more than 10 carat purplish-pink diamond expected to fetch up to $15 million failed to sell at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction on Tuesday which took in a total of $31.8 million.

“We were disappointed that the 10-carat purple-pink diamond did not find a buyer, (but) top-quality white, blue, pink and yellow diamonds fared very well,” said Christie’s head of jewelry in New York, Radul Kadakia.

He added that a Fancy Vivid blue diamond sold for $3.67 million, or more than $1 million per carat which exceeded it high estimate.

Five jewels topped the $1 million mark. Christie’s said the sale saw heavy competition among both trade buyers and private collectors for colorless diamonds, large gemstones and signed jewels.

But the 10.09 carat Fancy Vivid cushion-cut was expected to be the sale’s highlight, with prices for large pink diamonds, the most expensive colored diamonds on the market, having skyrocketed in recent years. Fewer than 10 percent of all pink diamonds mined weigh more than .20 carats.

They get their color through a rare, naturally occurring slippage of the crystallographic lattice in the stone while it is forming deep within the Earth’s crust.

It failed to sell when two clients bid, but failed to reach the reserve -- an undisclosed minimum amount at which the owner is willing to sell.

Kadakia said Christie’s had already received inquiries regarding a private after-sale of the stone.

“The transaction is still alive, and though the diamond did not sell in the room last night, perhaps we’ll see something take place in the coming days,” Kadakia said.

He noted that while many clients appreciated the rare color and size of the purple-pink diamond, the decision to spend upwards of $10 million is not always a quick one.

The total sold at the auction comprised roughly 75 percent of the offerings.

Other strong prices included the top-priced gem, a cut-cornered rectangular cut diamond which fetched $4.4 million, in the middle of its estimated range, and a rectangular-cut Fancy Intense Pink 6.61 carat diamond, which sold for more than $3.5 million.

A 10-carat Art Deco sapphire ring also did well, fetching $746,500, or about three times the pre-sale estimate.

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