The "Unique Pink"
We see the term ‘unique’ a lot these days.
It tends to be bandied around, losing its significance in a wealth of individual items which all claim to be the only one of their kind. Is this another case of the importance of a thing being overplayed, or is there something truly rather special about this stone?
There is a new pink diamond in town, unveiled to the press at Sotheby’s London, which is being auctioned in Geneva on 17th May 2016. I was lucky enough to be invited along to the press viewing of this stone this morning, and privileged to be able to have a closer look at it through a loupe, and even to try it on!
The “Unique Pink”, as it has been named, is a Fancy Vivid Pink pear-shaped diamond weighing 15.38 carats. The GIA have described it as “A truly exceptional gem. A rare and remarkable beauty”.
Now, first of all I should disclose to you, that although ShinyPrettyThings is very pink indeed, I’m not, myself, a huge fan of pink diamonds. I usually find them a little too saccharine – too ‘Barbie’ if you will – to suit my personal taste. I will let Diamond Girl tell you all about the properties of pink diamonds in her own time. I’d rather focus on what makes this one pink stone so very very special that it has been termed the “Unique Pink”.
In terms of the chemical structure of the stone, this is a Type IIa diamond. All this means is that there is no significant amount of nitrogen in its structure (nitrogen is responsible for the yellow colour in diamonds, and is found in approximately 98% of diamonds). Effectively, this is a lump of pure carbon in an extremely beautiful pink form. Most Type IIa diamonds are colourless. Very rarely they might be pink or brown. This is also a stone graded as VVS2 clarity – meaning that it is very very slightly included. It is just two tiny steps away from being flawless. All these things make this stone rather a special thing in the field of diamonds.
Then there’s the intensity of that pink colour. Pink diamonds might just have a subtle tinge of rose tones to them. They still class as pink diamonds. This stone, the “Unique Pink”, has been given a certificate by the GIA (the Gemological Institute of America; which is considered to be the leading authority on diamond grades) stating that it is a ‘Fancy Vivid Pink’. That ‘Fancy Vivid’ is the highest possible colour grade for any coloured stone. The scale ranges from ‘Fancy Light’ at the bottom, through ‘Fancy Intense’ to ‘Fancy Vivid’ right at the very top. This is graded on the tone and saturation of the colour seen in that particular stone.
So we are already looking at an extremely unusual, nearly flawless stone with the best possible saturation and tone of colour in a large size. But there have been other pink diamonds of a good size and decent clarity in the market over recent years. One notable one was the “Sweet Josephine”, a 16.08ct cushion-cut, which was sold at Christie’s in November 2015. This was also a Fancy Vivid pink diamond with VVS2 clarity. In 2010, Sotheby’s sold “The Graff Pink” – a considerably larger stone at 24.78cts with a lower colour grade at ‘Fancy Intense’. This was still an intensely beautiful stone, and was sold for over US$46M – a world record price for any pink diamond in auction history.
So what is it that makes the "Unique Pink" diamond so special that it leaves these stones behind?
To my mind, it is the hue of this stone. When it comes to pink, we are talking about a wide range of possible colours. Pink is considered to be a tint of the hue red, but really could fall anywhere between red, white and magenta colours. Red diamonds are so utterly, indescribably rare that we have only ever unearthed a very small handful of them. The largest ever seen in the market is the “Moussaieff Red” at 5.11cts. ‘The Unique Pink’ seems to fall at the perfect halfway point between magenta and red, with a modifying lightness that renders the stone pink to one’s eye. As one turns this stone, the light reflecting through it gives flashes of flamingo and berry, along with moments of a more intense reddish tone that give a richness to the hue seen.
The “Unique Pink” is mounted in a very simple platinum shank, which really consists of wires holding the stone in place and nothing more. There is nowhere for anything to hide in this setting, and there is no enhancement bought to the stone by a decorative mount. Everything about this stone is on display to the viewer. This is a challenging setting for any stone, and it really displays the skill of its cutter, Cora International, which has achieved worldwide renown for handling rare diamonds. There is not one point in this stone where a facet leaks colour from the body of the material. That in itself is remarkable. Yet more so, when one considers that this is a pear-shape stone - a shape which veers away from the traditional round brilliant cut and therefore gives rise to the possibility of loss of light through the back facets - an effect which is often referred to as the 'bow-tie effect'. Even a cushion-cut stone has a higher chance of holding light better than a pear-shape provided that the culet (bottom facet) of the stone is small.
In the words of David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, “It is difficult to imagine a diamond that better illustrates the term Vivid Pink than this outstanding stone. The colour is simply astonishing and, for its size, it is in my experience truly unique.”
As for me, I will eat my words. I am now a convert to this gloriously pink diamond. This is a truly delicious, irrefutably pink stone that defies the terms ‘pastel’, ‘saccharine’ and ‘Barbie’. It has been an utter privilege and delight to see and to handle this diamond and I was reluctant to return it to the lovely people standing guard over it. I will be having a chat with my bank manager in the near future…
My thanks go out to Marie-Beatrice at Sotheby’s for her kind invitation to view this stone today and for all her help with providing images and details on this wonderful diamond.
The “Unique Pink” will go on sale at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels & Noble Jewels, Geneva on Tuesday 17th May with an estimate of US$28,000,000-38,000,000.
Exhibition Calendar for the “Unique Pink”
Hong Kong: 1-4 April
London: 8-12 April
New York: 15-19 April