At $35.5 Million – ‘The Orange’ diamond sale exceeds expectations – SOLD!

November 13th, 2013 by Noam Flint

While pink and blue stones have gotten the most attention from collectors of colored diamonds, a 14.82-carat vivid fancy orange diamond recently set several records at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. If this sale is in any indication, orange diamonds may be piquing the interest of more jewelry enthusiasts due to their rarity and stunning hue.

The Orange - Largest Vivid Orange Diamond EverTHE ORANGE
The largest fancy vivid orange diamond in the world
Image by Christie’s

Smashing predictions

Initially, Christie’s expected “The Orange” to fetch between $17.4 and $20 million at the auction. However, it ended up selling for much more: $35.5 million, or $2.4 million per carat. As a result, the gem set the world record not only for the sale of a fancy orange diamond, but also for price per carat for any colored diamond sold. The bidding started at 10 million Swiss francs, but didn’t take long to reach 20 million Swiss francs. Then the pace slowed down with interested parties raising the bids by half-million francs. On Christie’s live Internet feed, it seemed as if a few of the bidders in the room were competing with interested buyers that were making offers on the phone. After the winning bid was made and the Christie’s auctioneer shouted “Sold!” the crowd of 200 people erupted into applause. The private collector who had the winning bid quickly left the room. He wishes to currently remain anonymous.

Breaking records

Why all the fuss about this particular stone? “The Orange” is the largest fancy vivid orange diamond to ever be graded by the Gemological Institute of America. The 5.54-carat “Pumpkin Diamond,” which had a light hue and brown undertones, previously held the top slot. After being sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $1.32 million in 1997, it was set in a ring, which was sported by Halle Berry when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Before that, the 4.77-carat Graff Orange diamond sold for $3.92 million in 1990.

Clearly, “The Orange” has far surpassed those records. François Curiel, International head of Christie’s Jewelry Department, was not surprised by its smashing success at the auction.

“Time and again, a stone will appear on the market that is truly a miracle of nature, he said, as quoted by Rapaport. “The 14.82-carat orange diamond is one such a stone, a rare gem, which will perhaps only be seen once in a lifetime. In the sale on Tuesday, it soared far above all previous records for any orange diamond ever sold at auction, placing ‘The Orange’ among the greatest pinks and blues, which are traditionally the most appreciated colored diamonds.”

Extraordinary color and carats

According to the GIA, pure orange diamonds, otherwise known as “fire diamonds,” are extremely rare. Typically, these stones have secondary colors in them, such as yellow, that make their orange hue less intense. The more nitrogen that’s present during the diamond’s creation, the richer the orange shade. Not only that, but the GIA noted that diamonds with such a strong orange hue don’t usually exceed three of four carats once they are polished, meaning that “The Orange” is nearly four times larger than the average stone of its kind. This pear-shaped diamond was found in South Africa. It was classified as a Type Ia and graded as VS1 clarity in the GIA report.

“To have one that’s over 14 carats is exceptional,” Christie’s international jewelry director David Warren told AFP. “… Colored diamonds are real freaks of nature. They begin as white diamonds, and it’s some accidental coloring agent in the ground that will turn it a particular color.”

As more collectors realize the rarity and radiance of fancy vivid orange diamonds, they will likely continue to set records at future auctions.