Sotheby's sold a pair of pear-shaped diamond earrings at a hammer price of about $51 million Tuesday, though the 14.54-carat flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond that was the auction's highlight fell short of the expected range. Apollo sold for $42.1m while Artemis went for $15.3m. But the earrings sold some way below their estimated prices of $70m.
The 16-carat "Artemis Pink" is near identical in shape. It is also one of the world's most "chemically pure" diamonds, according to the Gemological Institute of America, which experts say gives the stone such a high degree of transparency.
The Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction garnered a total of $151.5 million. In addition to the earrings, Sotheby’s sold a modified rectangular brilliant-cut, 7.04-carat, fancy intense purplish pink, VS1-clarity diamond for $13.2 million, or $1.9 million per carat — a record value and per-carat price for the color and clarity combination.
Sotheby's chief auctioneer David Bennet said that coloured diamonds are extremely rare "show stoppers". "These are in their own right extraordinarily rare stones, but taken together they are unprecedented, they are absolutely stunning," he said.
Bennett declined to identify the buyer who snapped up both lots, but the auction house did say the buyer was renaming the gems as "The Memory of Autumn Leaves" for the blue diamond earring and "The Dream of Autumn Leaves" for its pink sister.
The sale of the world's most celebrated and valuable earrings follows closely on the sale of the world's most valuable gem stone on April 4, 2017.
Sotheby's captured both records, selling the Pink Star for $71.2 million, and more than doubling the record for a fancy vivid pink diamond that was set at $31.56 million in Geneva in May 2016 for the 15.38-carat Unique Pink' diamond.
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