The 59.6 carat Pink Star diamond sold for $71.2 million at a Sotheby's auction held in Hong Kong on Tuesday, April 4, setting a new record and surpassing the auction house's presale estimate of $60 million.

The Pink Star

The oval mixed-cut diamond, which was formerly known as Steinmetz Pink, is the largest flawless fancy vivid pink diamond that the Gemological Institute of America has ever graded. The gem was mined by De Beers in South Africa in 1999.

The diamond weighed 132.5 carat in the rough and it took about 20 months to cut it before it was unveiled in a public ceremony in Monaco in May 29, 2003.

Tuesday's sale came three years after the diamond was sold at another Sotheby's auction held in Geneva. That deal did not push through after the buyer defaulted.

Sold To Hong Kong Jeweler Chow Tai Fook 

Three telephone bidders competed for the rare stone during the bidding. The gem was eventually sold to Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook, who gave the gem a new name. The diamond sold at a hammer price of $63 million, which does not include the buyer's premium.

"Sotheby's set a new record for any diamond or jewel when the Pink Star, a 59.60-carat oval mixed-cut fancy vivid pink internally flawless diamond, sold for HK$553 million (US$71.2 million) to renowned jeweller Chow Tai Fook, who has renamed the stone 'CTF Pink Star,'" Sotheby's said in a statement.

No Worries About Another Default

The Pink Star was auctioned for $83 million in November 2013 but the winning bidder, diamond cutter Isaac Wolf, failed to pay. Sotheby's was then forced to buy the gem itself because it guaranteed a $60 million sale price.

Sotheby's Asia Chairwoman Patti Wong said that the auction house is not worried about another default since the bidders were vetted and already had longstanding relationships with Sotheby's

Until now, the Oppenheimer Blue held the record for the most expensive diamond to be sold at an auction. It fetched an equivalent of about $57.6 million in May 2016. The 24.78 carat Graff Pink, which sold for $46.2 million in 2010 held the previous world auction record for a pink diamond.

Demand From Wealthy Asian Buyers

The auction house decided to bring the diamond back to the market as demand rises from wealthy Asian buyers.

"Fom what I've been hearing from members of the trade I've been talking to, in the last six months they have become more and more important," said David Bennett, Sotheby's chairman of the jewelry division, who noted the importance of the Asian element in the market.

Wealthy Asians are indeed actively buying rare diamonds. Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, for instance, had been eyeing the world's most expensive gems.

In 2015, Lau bought a 12.03-carat blue diamond he later dubbed the "Blue Moon of Josephine" at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva. He also bought a 16.08-carat pink diamond at a Christie's auction priced at $28.5 million and a 7.03-carat blue diamond at another Sotheby's Geneva auction at $9.48 million.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.