“The Spirit of the Rose,” a rare purple-pink diamond mined in Russia, was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for nearly $27 million. A picture taken at a press preview on November 6, 2020.
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images
The largest purple-pink diamond ever to be auctioned has been sold in Geneva, Switzerland for 24,393,000 Swiss francs ($26,700,871).
The purple-pink diamond, called “The Spirit of the Rose,” was sold to an anonymous buyer, bidding over the phone at the Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday. It weighs 14.8 carats but was cut from a larger rough diamond that weighed 27.8 carats, which was discovered in Yakutia, northeast Russia in 2017.
The rough diamond was said to be the largest pink crystal to have ever been mined in Russia and was named “Nijinksy” after the legendary Russian-Polish ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. “The Spirit of the Rose” was the name given to the cut diamond, after the last ballet Nijinsky performed on stage.
It took a year for Russian cutting masters to form the end diamond, giving it an oval shape to ensure it would be the maximum size.
Pink diamonds were first discovered in India in the 17th century and their color is thought to be the result of a distortion in the “crystal lattice,” or its atomic arrangement. This is “created by intense heat and great pressure after the stone’s formation in the earth,” according to an explanation on Sotheby’s website.
“This distortion displaces many carbon atoms from their normal positions and alters the qualities of light reflected by the diamond — resulting in us observing the stone as pink,” the auction house explained.
Pink diamonds differ from other colored diamonds as there are no chemical trace elements present in its formation. For example, the presence of nitrogen forms yellow diamonds, while boron creates blue diamonds.
Only 1% of pink diamonds are said to be larger than 10 carats and just 4% are graded “fancy vivid.”
The “CTF Pink Star,” weighing 59.6 carats, holds the current record for the price paid for a pink diamond at auction, at $71.2 million, which was sold in Hong Kong in April 2017.
“The Grand Table,” which was shown to a French merchant and adventurer in India in the 17th century, is considered to be largest pink diamond recorded to date, at over 200 carats.