A huge, hard gem came to light three years ago in a mine in northeastern Russia. A 14.83-carat diamond was cut from it and this Wednesday was auctioned and sold in Switzerland for 24.4 million francs (about 22.5 million euros). The Spectrum of the Rose, which takes its name from the homonymous piece performed by Nijinski for the Russian Ballets of the businessman Sergey Diaghilev in 1911, it is the most expensive pink diamond in history, according to the Sotheby’s house, responsible for the auction.
The matter is about records. The diamond crystal from which the spectrum was born weighed 27.85 carats, and according to CNN it was the largest pink ever found in Russia. It took a year to cut and polish it so that the elegant faceted and oval shape of the jewel emerged, which has been seen in Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan) and Hong Kong before landing in Geneva (Switzerland), where it has been awarded up for auction.
“Only 1% of all pink diamonds weigh more than 10 carats, and only 4% are labeled ‘elegantly vivid’, displaying bold and rich color,” said the director of Sotheby’s jewelery section at a article published on the auction house’s website, describing the color of the Spectrum as “purple rose” and highlights that its composition is absolutely pure. The “elegantly vivid” category is the highest of a range of seven that measures the intensity of diamond colors.
Pink diamonds were discovered by the West in the 17th century thanks to a reference, the first on record, of a French merchant in India. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier spoke of a pink, raw one, weighing more than 200 carats, christened Lto Great Table, and that it was sold for 600,000 rupees of the time, according to Sotheby’s. In addition to Russia, they are also found in mines in Brazil, South Africa, Tanzania, Canada and especially Australia: 80% of all gems of this type in the world come out of the Argyle mine in Western Australia. So rare are they that only 1 in 1,000 of the 20 million carats mined from Australian prospecting are pink diamonds, Sotheby’s notes.
While a chemical alteration in the crystallization process is what gives yellow and blue diamonds their tones (in the first case, nitrogen; boron, in the second), the pink color comes from a distortion of the crystalline structure caused by extreme heat and enormous pressure during rock formation, which alter the diffraction of light and make the gem appear pink.
The Spectrum of the Rose unseat from the podium to another gem of its kind sold in Hong Kong in April 2017 for the equivalent of about € 60.3 million. In May 2016, Christie’s auctioned the diamond for the current equivalent of € 42.8 million Oppenheimer Blue. 40.9 million euros was paid by a Hong Kong millionaire, Joseph Lau, for a 12.03 carat blue gem, Blue Moon, which he renamed as Dulce Josephine after getting it and giving it to his daughter, whom he had already given with another, valued at more than 8 million euros.