A Vivid Pink Diamond and a Giant Ruby Both Sold for a Record $35 Million at Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s and Christie’s sold a combined $158,152,390 worth of jewels this week in New York, in sales that were dominated by spectacular named diamonds (flawless, colored, or huge), along with eye-popping specimens of ruby ​​and sapphire, one of them setting the record for the most valuable gemstones sold at auction. Sotheby’s clocked its highest total for a jewelry auction in New York, at $95.9 million, setting several gemstone price records, and Christie’s hammered at $62,252,390 in its Magnificent Jewels sale, which included the 127-carat Peace Diamond, selling for $13,635,000.

Sotheby’s $95.9-million Magnificent Jewels sale in New York on June 8 smashed its previous highest-sale record of $65.1 million for a New York sale, set in 2015. Two jewels sold for over $30 million, and four pieces sold for over $1 million. Tied for the top lot was the 55.22-carat “Estrela De FURA” ruby, which sold for $34.8 million, over a high estimate of $30 million. That makes it not only an auction record for a ruby, but the most valuable colored gemstone ever sold at auction—previously held by the Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59-carat Burmese stone that sold for $30.3 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2015. The ruby, mined in Mozambique, by FURA Gems, is the largest gem-quality ruby ​​ever to appear at auction, with outstanding clarity and a vivid red hue known as pigeon’s blood.

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Estrela de Fura Ruby

The Estrela de Fura ruby ​​has a vivid pigeon’s blood hue.

Also selling for $34.8 million was an outstanding bubble-gum pink diamond, known as The Eternal Pink, an internally flawless diamond rated as a fancy vivid purplish pink, the most valuable of that color ever to appear at auction. It is cut in a cushion shape, set into a ring and flanked by two diamonds. It set a new record for the highest price per carat for a purplish pink diamond, at $3.3 million per carat. The Eternal Pink was discovered by De Beers in partnership with Botswana at the Damtshaa mine.

The Eternal Pink Diamond in Sotheby's auction

The Eternal Pink diamond weighs 10.57 carats.

Just to hit home the investment value inherent in high-quality gems, Sotheby’s also sold a 33.51-carat Burmese sapphire ring, previously owned by Constance Prosser Mellon. It sold for $3.3 million over a high estimate of $2.5 million. A matching necklace with five Kashmir sapphires sold for $2.8 million. Both rings and necklaces were made by Cartier. The sale included a large selection of pieces from the Mellon family collection, which in total sold for $6.9 million, with more pieces to come in the Sotheby’s Fine Jewels sale on June 14.

The Light of Peace Diamond

The Light of Peace diamond.

Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale combined with The Magnificent Jewels of Anne Eisenhower totaled $62,252,390. The highlight was the Light of Peace diamond, a D color, Internally Flawless gem with a pear-brilliant cut, weighing 126.76 carats. It sold for $13,635,000. Formerly known as the Zale Light of Peace, the diamond was previously owned by the Zale Corporation of Dallas, which arranged showings of the diamond and used proceeds of the ticket sales to establish a fund for peace-supporting missions. A portion of proceeds from the current sale will be donated to the USA for UNHCR, a UN Refugee agency.

The second-highest lot was a Van Cleef & Arpels ruby ​​and diamond “Jarretiere” bracelet, which sold for $4,527,000. The gem, from the estate of Anne Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was once owned by Marlene Dietrich. Another Van Cleef piece, a ruby ​​and diamond cascade necklace, sold for $1,184,400. The Eisenhower portion of the sale totaled $11,521,260.

Two more high-value gems rounded out the Magnificent Jewels auction. A Burmese sapphire and diamond pendant sold for $4,648,000, and a 2.97-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, set in a ring, sold for $3,075,000.

The takeaway from these two sales is that some things never change: large fancy colored and/or flawless diamonds remain one of the world’s best investments, as do Burmese or Kashmir sapphires and high color large rubies. And when it comes to finished jewelry, you can’t go wrong with Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and other historically top makers.

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