The Top Diamonds and Gems That Marked 2015

January 6th, 2016 by Noam Flint

2015 in the Colored Diamonds Industry
2015 Colored Diamonds Summary

At the end of 2014, most industry players and the broader market predicted that 2015 would be uneventful and demonstrate a continued decline. On most fronts, those predictions were actually correct – except for the markets of fancy color diamonds and one-of-a-kind precious gems.

We decided to put together a quick guide to the 2015 top 10 diamonds and gems and most, if not all of the stones on this list, broke records when the hammer came down at auction and the final prices for them were determined. In some cases, these records had been held up for years, and others were broken after mere months of being broken previously. The interesting thing about diamonds and gemstones when they sell at auction is that no matter how many records are set for their prices, these records always seem to be broken by new buyers, the fearless individuals who are willing to pay for the most beautiful gems in the world. The following are the top 10 champions of the gem world in 2015, in order of total sale price.

The Most Expensive Stone of the Year

The top spot of the year goes to no other than the Blue Moon Diamond, a 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid blue IF diamond, which was renamed “the Blue Moon of Josephine” diamond after its sale.

The infamous buyer, Joseph Lau bought the diamond for his 7 year old daughter Josephine and named the diamond after her. This diamond is probably one of the best known diamonds of modern times as its whole history has been widely publicized since its discovery. It was first discovered in the Cullinan mine in South Africa in its 29.6 carat rough state and sold at a record price for a blue rough diamond at $25.6 million or about $865,000 per carat.

Blue Moon Diamond
The Blue Moon Diamond &nbsp 
Image: Sotheby’s

It continued on its course in history when it was polished into the most desired color depth of “Fancy Vivid”, and the highest desired clarity of “Internally Flawless”. Its crowning characteristic was its final weight after polishing of 12.03 carats, making it into the 10 ct+ special category, one of only a handful of diamonds to achieve this size (not to mention blue diamonds). It now earned the ultimate crown as it has earned the title of “the most concentrated wealth” in the world, having sold for just over $4 million per carat ($48,468,158 in total to be exact), making its value in just one gram of the diamond at $20.14 million. That is quite a price for a gram of anything! It was sold by Sotheby’s in the beginning of November.

Second Place – the Silver Medalist

The second spot goes to the 25.59 carat Ruby and diamond ring set by Cartier. This ring broke a record just a few short months after the record setting Graff Ruby, an 8.62 carat pigeon blood red ruby also set in a diamond ring, which sold for a substantial premium even from the previous Ruby record setter. The 25.59 carat Cartier ruby was sold for $30,335,698, or $1.19 million per carat, at Sotheby’s in May. It also happens to be the first to break the $1 million per carat price for a gemstone (for a non-diamond).

Cartier Ruby 25.59 carat - by SothebysCartier Ruby and Diamond Ring – 25.59 carat
Image by Sotheby’s

Third Place – the Bronze Medalist

The next highest priced item for 2015 was the 16.08 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ring renamed the “Sweet Josephine”. It was sold for $28,523,925, or $1.77 million per carat. It’s not exactly a world record for a Fancy Vivid Pink diamond or any pink diamond in general, but it was acquired a day prior to the “Blue Moon” by the same individual referenced above, for the same daughter, and named after her. It was sold by Christie’s Geneva in November.

Vivid Pink Diamond 16.08 carat - Christie'sFancy Vivid Pink Diamond 16.08 carat
Image by Christie’s

Fourth Place through Sixth Place

100 carat D IF emerald cut100.20 carat D color IF
Image credit: Sotheby’s

Our next item is the lone colorless diamond on our list for this year. The 100.20 carat D color IF emerald cut diamond was sold for $22,090,000, or slightly over $220,000 per carat. This diamond was sold by Sotheby’s New York in April. On top of being in the 100 ct+ club, it is a type IIa diamond (meaning that it is the most chemically pure form of diamond that can be found in nature), and which makes it that much rarer.

The next item also happens to be the second Ruby on our list, and it too, broke the record price per carat set earlier in the year – the one set by the 25.59 carat Cartier Ruby in May. This one was slightly smaller at 15.04 carat and sold for $18,372,913 total (less than the total price paid for the Cartier ruby) or $1.22 million per carat. Although it was sold for only slightly above the $1.19 million per carat that the Cartier Ruby did, it is significant to note that it is only a 15 carat sized ruby compared to the rarer 25 ct+ Cartier ruby. The bidder clearly saw value here and was willing to pay more per carat for this ruby than the bigger ruby earned. This ruby was sold by Christie’s in December and named the “Crimson Flame”.

Crimson Flame 15 carat Pigeon Blood RubyCrimson Flame 15 carat Pigeon Blood Ruby
Image credit: Christie’s

The following diamond also went into the history books simply because of its bombastic name, the “Historic Pink”. An 8.72 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond, it is said to have been owned by Napoleon Bonaparte’s niece. It was sold for $15,903,422 total, or $1.82 million per carat. It did not seta world record, but still a strong price amongst its peers and the sixth most expensive gem sold this year. It was sold by Sotheby’s Geneva in May.

Seventh Place through Tenth Place

Yet another pink diamond earned a place in the top 10 stones of 2015. Standing at 8.24 carats, this Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink diamond is unique due to its color balance between purple and pink and amazing pear shape. It was sold for $13,866,553, or $1.68 million per carat, reiterating the claim made above that these prices are holding amongst their peers. It was sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in November and was the second highest earned price at that auction.

Fancy Vivid Purple Pink 8.24 carats8.24 carats Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink pear shaped diamond ring
Image credit: Sotheby’s

As the only necklace on this list, the eighth highest price earned this year for diamonds or jewelry was this ruby and diamond necklace that also broke a record at the time. The necklace sold for $13,006,656 at Christie’s Hong Kong in June and its noteworthy feature is that it contains 48 rubies from Burma, a type of highly sought after rubies, and 120.74 carats worth of diamonds. The necklace was designed and made by Etcetera, a high end jeweler based in Hong Kong founded by Edmond Chin. Chin also ran Christie’s Hong Kong Jewelry department for five years.

Another pink diamond made it in at 9th place this year, the 9.07 carat Fancy Intense Pink emerald cut Harry Winston diamond. It was sold for $12,643,776, or $1.394 million per carat. It also has the distinguished honor of being a type IIa diamond, adding to its rarity status. It was sold by Christie’s Hong Kong in June.

harry winston intense pink 9.07
Harry Winston 9.07 carat Fancy Intense Pink Diamond Ring
Image credit: Christie’s

Finally, our last item, not any less rare than the other items on our list, is another pink diamond. This 5.18 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond makes it into last place as it was sold for a total of $10,709,443, or $2.067 million per carat. This ring was sold by Christie’s Geneva in May.

It is incredible to see that 5 out of the 10 highest priced diamond and gemstones of the year were pink diamonds, once again proving their amazing value in the fancy diamond market. What do you think 2016 will bring us? Will we see any unique items like in 2015, and even in 2014 with the 9.75 carat Fancy Vivid Blue Zoe diamond that also broke an earlier record?