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Top 10 Most Expensive Diamonds Ever Sold at Auction as of 2022 – 2023
January 11, 2021
From time immemorial to the time of this writing in 2022, the diamond has continued to be one of the most sought-after mining products in the world of gemstones and achieved out of this work prices when fixed on most expensive diamond rings, sold on auction.
Its rarity, beauty, expensive appeal, and even its rich ancient history has seen old price records shattered and new records set in all big auctions around the world.
A brief look at history shows that diamonds were a preserve of the high and mighty even before modern civilization. For instance, the Chinese believed diamonds could ward off evil, and consequently, the kings, royals, and wealthy individuals of those days wore them for protection. Ancient Greeks wore diamonds to denote devotion to Zeus – the Greek god of the sky and thunder – who created them to be sacred.
Fast forward to the present world, in 2022 diamonds are still one of the most valuable and expensive stones in the world. Owning one is considered to be the ultimate mark of wealth. The stone reigns supreme in all momentous, once-in-lifetime occasions celebrated around the world. A diamond ring or present is used to signify one’s undying enduring love at weddings, birthdays, or engagements.
To help us understand how expensive they can be, consider the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which means “Mountain of the light” in Persia. The British Crown owns it, and its exact worth remains unknown as of 2022 because it is “too expensive to have a price tag.” It is, however, estimated to be worth over a billion Euros.
Since Koh-i-Noor is astronomically priced, we’ll exclude it from our list and focus on the 10 most expensive diamonds ever sold at auction as of 2022 – 2023.
The Impact of the Ukraine War on the Diamond Industry
While certain regions are being directly affected by the Ukrainian conflict, the diamond industry is being hit hard as well. Russia accounts for about 25-30% of all rough diamond supplies, and sanctions on Russia are cutting off that supply line.
1. Restrictions and Sanctions
The Russian producer Alrosa was included in the U.S. government’s OFAC Specially-Designated Nationals (SDN). This status makes it impossible for banks to process payments meant for ALROSA, which means customers can’t purchase rough diamonds from them. The U.S. government has made it difficult for transactions to go through, even if they are in non-dollar amounts.
The worldwide diamond shortage has struck India the hardest. India polishes most rough diamonds, many of which originate in Russia. This fact could directly impact 2-3 million people, from employees to indirect workers to their families. And there will be massive shortages as well for companies wanting to purchase polished diamonds.
On top of the sanction, brands and retailers have taken it upon themselves to avoid purchasing polished diamonds that originated from the Russian rough. While previous conflicts have affected the diamond industry in some way, the Ukrainian conflict has had a major impact.
2. Increase in Prices
Of course, since there is a substantial shortage of diamonds there will also be a dramatic increase in their price. Unless other rough producers can increase their production to meet demand, polished prices and price points for jewelry will increase to reflect the low supply. A low supply affects the cost of the rarest diamonds in the world in 2022.
With such a large shortage, certain large companies are looking to increase their share of laboratory-grown diamonds (LGD). But keep in mind that LGD supplies are also limited, especially when it comes to small diamonds.
LGD prices will look more appealing to customers and can benefit from this limited supply of rough. But with the dramatic increase in demand in 2022, who can say whether that will remain the same for long?
De Beers Cullinan Blue
The De Beers Cullinan Blue Diamond was unearthed in 2021 at the Cullinan Mine in South Africa. This vivid blue diamond is not only extremely rare for its color, but its internally flawless cut and size. When the diamond was waiting to be auctioned, Sotheby estimated it to go for around $48 million.
The Cullinan Blue happened to go up for auction as the Russo-Ukrainian War was beginning to shake the diamond industry. When the diamond sold on April 27, 2022, it sold for more than $57.4 million.
This high price makes the Cullinan Blue the most expensive diamond in the world in 2022 on top of the rarest diamond in the world ever sold in 2022. It has broken several records in the diamond industry and is a beautiful specimen for diamond enthusiasts.
Given that Cullinan Blue is already the most expensive diamond in the world sold in 2022, a lack of supply and increased sanctions will increase the price of diamonds like it.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Most Expensive Diamonds in The World
It would be an understatement to say a lot changed due to COVID-19 and the pandemic technically is not over. The coronavirus has had a bit of an impact on the expensive diamond trade industry around the World, concerning travel and mining efforts. This specifically affected jewels coming out of China. Disregarding the virus, diamond auctions barely slowed down as records broke throughout 2020 and 2021.
The Most Expensive Diamonds Ever Sold before COVID-19
1. The Pink Star
The Pink Star, formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink, currently holds the record from the Gemological Institute of America for being the largest flawless Vivid Pink diamond ever sold. The Pink Star fetched a staggering $71.2 million in under five minutes of bidding at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong.
The diamond, which has since been renamed CTF PINK STAR, was bought by famed Jeweller, Chow Tai Fook, and weighs 59.6 carats. It traces its roots to South Africa, where De Beers mined it in the year 1999. In its rough form, it weighed 132.5 carats. The Benny Steinmetz Group then intricately cut the diamond over 20 months to its present weight of 59.6 carats.
2. Oppenheimer Blue Diamond
This extremely rare Blue Diamond weighing 14.62 carats is the world’s largest fancy vivid blue diamond to ever sell at an auction house.
In May 2016, the amazing diamond sold for a record $57.5 million, which included fees and commission at the Christie’s auction in Geneva.
The rectangular shaped diamond bears a unique hue with an astounding proportion. First owned by the Oppenheimer, the diamond originated from South Africa where the family had diamond mines.
The family owning diamond mines also meant that they also owned some of the world’s amazing and rarest diamonds.
3. The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
The Wittelsbach-Graff diamond, formerly only known as the Der Blaue Wittelsbach, weighs 31.06 carats and has a colour of Fancy Deep Blue.
The diamond’s history dates back to the 1600s when it was discovered in the mines of Kollur, which is in Andhra Pradesh, India. Billionaire Laurence Graff bought the stone in the 2008 Christie’s auction for a then world record of $24.3 million.
Back then, it had a colour of fancy greyish blue and weighed 35.56 carats. The new owner thought a diamond over 360 years old needed some retouches, to achieve a “perfect” clarity and brilliance. Though it lost 4.52 carats during the process, it enabled it to attain a higher grade from the Gemological Institute of America.
It now dons the coveted colour of “fancy deep blue” as opposed to its original colour of fancy deep greyish blue. Moreover, it is now rated Internally flawless (IF) which holds more weight than its initial rating of VS1 clarity.
After the recut, Laurence Graff renamed the diamond The Wittelsbach-Graff.
4. The Graff Pink
After setting a world record with the purchase of The Wittelsbach-Graff, Laurence Graff would shatter it two years later with the acquisition of “The Graff Pink” diamond at Sotheby’s auction, for a jaw-dropping price of $46.15 million.
It is emerald cut, has the colour of Fancy Intense pink and weighs 24.78 carats. The Gemological Institute of America has classified it as Diamond Type IIa, which puts it in the coveted ranks of the top 2% of the world’s diamonds. As with The Wittelsbach-Graff, the billionaire identified 25 natural flaws to be removed, to elevate its status to internally flawless.
His efforts were not in vain; though the Graff Pink now weighs 23.88 carats, its colour has been heightened from fancy vivid pink to vivid pink, and the clarity rose to internally flawless.
It held onto the record of the most expensive pink diamond ever sold till 2017 when the Pink Star dethroned it.
5. The Princie Pink Diamond
The Princie Diamond , which got its name from a 14-year-old son of Sita Davi, the Maharani of Baroda, is another rare and unique stone. The expensive diamond, which traces its origins from India, is among the largest pink diamonds in the world as of 2022.
When it first hit the auction, the 34.6-carat stone sold for $24.3 million.
In 2013, the diamond sold for a staggering $40 million at Christie’s in New York, making it one of the most expensive pink diamonds ever sold as of 2022 – 2023. Though controversy still surrounds its ownership, it remains one of the most exquisite and rarest stones ever sold.
Image credit: bbc.co.uk & www.christies.com
6. The Orange
Pink and blue diamonds are some of the most treasured and appreciated gems. Adding the Orange Diamond to the list of the most beautiful coloured diamonds was worth everything because this stone is in a class of its own.
The rare gem weighing 14.82 carats was first estimated to sell for $21 million at the auction. However, “The Orange” exceeded expectations by selling at a record $35.5 million in 2013 at Christie’s Geneva auction.
The stone also set a new record of the highest per carat price for any coloured diamond ever sold.
What makes this diamond extra-special is its colour of pure-orange, which is very rare. The majority of orange diamonds have other secondary colors.
7. Blue Moon of Josephine
Hong Kong billionaire, Joseph Lau, paid a whopping $48.4 million for the Blue Moon at the 2015 Sotheby’s auction in Geneva.
It weighs 12.03 carat and is considered the largest cushion-shaped cut diamond to ever appear at an auction. It has the colour of Fancy Vivid Blue.
Discovered in South Africa in January 2014, it’s worth noting that this was not the first record-breaking diamond to be bought by the mogul. He reportedly paid $28.5 million for an expensive cushion-shaped, 16.08 carat diamond at Christie’s auction, the day before Sotheby’s auction where he splashed over $48 million for the “Blue Moon”.
Joseph Lau has since renamed it “Sweet Josephine“, perhaps as a sign of affection for his eleven-year-old daughter. Similarly, “The Blue Moon” was renamed “The Blue Moon of Josephine”, again to denote his love for her daughter, Josephine.
8. The 101
The Harry Winston firm joined the ranks of other expensive diamond lovers by purchasing this flawless and rare stone from Christie’s auction in Geneva in 2013.
It traces its roots to Botswana where it was named 101, deriving its name from its near-perfect weight of 101.73 carats.
It is among the largest colourless diamonds known to exist, with its pear-shaped structure being likened to the size of a little egg. It is classified as flawless, and fetched $26.7 million, making it join the ranks of the most expensive diamonds to ever sell at an auction house by 2022.
It has been christened the “Perfect Diamond” and sold for a record $254,000 per carat, which is a colourless diamond world record. The Gemological Institute of America has classified it as “the most perfect” D-colour, type IIA flawless stone.
9. The Winston Blue Diamond
The Winston blue weighs 13.22 carats and is one of the largest flawless blue diamonds ever sold as of 2022 – 2023.
The diamond, whose country of origin is South Africa holds the record for the highest price per carat (approximately $1.8 million) ever paid for a blue diamond.
It is the largest, flawless Vivid Pink diamond in the world and was sold for a record $23.8 million at Christie’s auction in Geneva Magnificent Jewels. It was initially known as “The Blue” but was renamed “The Winston Blue” by Nayla Hayek, the CEO of Harry Winston Inc.
10. The Perfect Pink
Not all diamonds are made equal; pink diamonds, in particular, hold the record for the most expensive diamonds in the world as of 2022 – 2023. Their rarity notwithstanding, the fascination with pink diamonds dates back to the Elizabethan Era, when they were held as a symbol of happiness. Today, the colour pink is thought to symbolize love and tenderness, which is as rare as the pink diamond.
The Perfect Pink is a rectangular cut, type IIA diamond with a weight of 14.23 carats. It sold for an astounding $23.3 million at Christie’s 2010 auction in Hong Kong, setting a record as the most expensive jewel ever sold in Asia.
So what is the most expensive diamond in the world in 2022 – 2023? While this updated list has yet to beat the most valuable diamond in the world, “The Pink Star,” it’s as clear as these gorgeous crystals that diamond auctions are here to stay.
Beyond the costliest diamonds in our 2022 lists
Despite the Pink Star and Oppenheimer Blue being the most expensive diamonds ever sold across the globe as of 2022, there are a few new and overlooked contenders worth discussing.
The Pink Legacy
Possessing the most expensive diamond color to date, “The Pink Legacy Diamond” originally belonged to the Oppenheimer family. The rare gem was mined in South Africa in 1980, weighing in at 18.96 carats, and sold at Christie’s for $50 million or nearly 50.4 million Swiss francs in November of 2018.
Acquired by the Harry Winston jewel company, this fancy vivid pink diamond was renamed the Winston Pink Legacy by the Harry Winston CEO, Nayla Hayek. Each carat sold for $2.6 million setting a world record at the time of this pink diamond’s sale. It has a cut-cornered rectangular-cut and previously sat on display at the Harry Winston store in New York.
The Pink Legacy holds this title as the rarest diamond with pink undertones.
The Largest Diamond Ever Sold
“The Largest Diamond Ever Sold” was purchased at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong back in 2013. The biggest and one of the most expensive diamonds in the world as of 2022 was priced at a whopping $30.6 million. To this day, the white diamond does not hold a unique name like the others.
Weighing in at 118.28 carats, it is cut in the shape of an oval which is presently considered to be one of the most expensive diamond cuts in the world. People often refer to it as the “Magnificent Oval Diamond” in place of any official title.
Originally mined in an unspecified part of southern Africa in 2011, this jewel is the largest and most valuable, colorless diamond to ever reach an auction. It also remains the most expensive diamond ever auctioned in Asia to this very day (2022).
“The Sakura Diamond” is a purple-pink diamond that sold for $29.3 million at Christie’s auction in Hong Kong in May 2021. Named after the Japanese cherry blossom tree, this diamond weighs in at 15.81 carats and is the most expensive diamond in the world, of its particular color, to ever sell at an auction as of 2022 – 2023.
Taking over the Perfect Pink, which used to hold the top spot for the priciest pink diamond ever sold in Asia, the Sakura diamond classifies as fancy vivid, and internally flawless. Fancy vivid is a title only 4% of the world’s pink diamonds receive, giving it all the more reason to cost nearly $30 million.
Additionally, this rare diamond jewel is the absolute largest of its type to go under the hammer. Not only is The Sakura the largest purple-pink diamond and the second-largest pink diamond in the world, the record-breaking continues as this gem earned the number one spot of the most expensive purple-pink diamond, a title that initially belonged to “The Spirit of the Rose.”
The Spirit of the Rose
“The Spirit of the Rose,” named after Vaslav Nijinsky’s “Le Spectre de la rose” 1911 ballet, sold for $26.6 million at Sotheby’s auction in Geneva back in November 2020. This gem was unearthed in northern Russia back in 2017, and cut from a much larger rough diamond uncovered in Alrosa.
Before the Sakura came along, “The Spirit of the Rose” broke the world record as the most expensive purple-pink diamond in existence to sell at an auction, as of 2022 – 2023.
De Beers Millennium Jewel 4
The “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4” is a blue diamond valued at $31.8 million. Weighing 10.10 crats, it sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in 2016 and is the second-largest fancy vivid blue diamond to ever make it to an auction.
What is the most expensive diamond in the world in 2022 – 2023?
The answer remains “The Pink Star,” but this list is proof that the world’s most expensive diamond isn’t the only diamond worth viewing.
Generally speaking, diamonds, irrespective of colour classification, will continue to hold their value and fetch astronomical prices in the market. Their incredible beauty and scarcity have made it join the list of the worlds’ most sought after collectables and consequently, their prices keep appreciating.
Fine assets are always in big demand as prices at auctions around the world continue to grow every year. You may also want to read our comprehensive articles on most expensive items ever sold on auction for assets like fine wine collections, expensive jewellery, (including an article on most expensive Cartier jewelry) luxury handbags, classic cars and art. If you like watches, then we wrote articles on the Top 10 most expensive Rolexes ever sold , Top 10 Most Expensive Watches ever sold, and Top 10 Brands of Fine Watches you Should Invest in
Those who have a penchant for the finer things in life understand that diamonds denote luxury, class, wealth or the priceless feelings we yearn for or wish to express that money can’t buy.
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