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Arena Culture e real pink panthers The sale of a pink diamond last year for US$83 million broke all records. But for the majority of the diamond industry business is tough, thanks to the introduction of synthetic stones that can be produced in a lab Liam Woodcock Sotheby’s Geneva jewellery and fi ne art auctions are among the most prized events in the entire luxury goods calendar, especially when a pink diamond comes to town. Yet even the most experienced of auctioneers were surprised when the diamond known as ‘the Pink Star’ (formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink) was sold to New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf for a recordbreaking US$83 million (£52 million) in November 2013. Renamed again as the Pink Dream, the internally fl awless gemstone broke the world auction record for a diamond or jewel after spending more than ten years in museum exhibitions around the globe. e number of blood diamonds could potentially decrease if e orts are made to authenticate the source of diamonds as both natural and ethical David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s Jewellery Division in Europe and the Middle East, says: “I have had the privilege of examining some of the greatest gemstones in the world over the past 35 years, and I can say, without hesitation, that the Pink Star diamond is of immense importance. Its exceptional richness of colour – graded as ‘vivid pink’ by the Gemological Institute of America – combined with its extraordinary size, are characteristics that surpass those of any known pink diamond in state, royal, or private collections.” Weighing 59.60 carats in its fi nished state, the diamond is among some of the largest and rarest specimens ever discovered, with most pink diamonds weighing less than fi ve carats. The sale surpassed the previous record held by the Graff Pink diamond, which sold for $46.2 million in 2010. The colour grade of the diamond, ‘fancy vivid pink’, is one of the most sought-after categories of diamond in the world and people are queuing to get their hands on one. Famous examples include the mammoth 180-carat Darya-i-Nur (translated as the Sea of Light), which makes up part of the Iranian crown jewels, and the Williamson Pink – a brooch owned by Queen Elizabeth II. When it comes to other colours, wealthy buyers are making investments there too. The day before the Pink Dream sale, Christie’s sold a 14.82-carat ‘fancy vivid orange’ diamond for $35.5 million. So where has this new found love for coloured diamonds come from, and why? According to the Gemological Institute of America: “The most well-known historical and current sources of fancy colour diamonds are India, South Africa and Australia. Other diamond mine locations, including Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana and Indonesia, also produce fancy colour diamonds.” Today, Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the western Kimberley region of Australia produces more than 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds, and their popularity has been growing ever since the 1980s. However, the fi rm suggests its supply of the pink specimens will run out within a decade, making them even more valuable in investors’ eyes. Historically, India was the original Argyle Diamond Mine, East Kimberley, Australia © Bruce Wilson 48 l www.global -br ief ing.org second quar ter 2014 global


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