The star of April’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadite auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong is particularly dazzling. Set in platinum, the Pink Star Diamond is what the auction house is calling “one of the world’s great natural treasures.” Still, spring 2017 doesn’t mark the coveted gem’s debut.
According to Artnet, the Pink Star Diamond was unearthed in South Africa at 132.5 carats in 1999. For two years, a team of designers worked to cut and polish the jewel, “casting it in epoxy over 50 times while experimenting with different treatments.”
In 2003, the finished product was presented in Monaco before traveling to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History for an exhibition titled The Splendor of Diamonds in Washington, D.C. The diamond was such a marvel that it attracted 500,000 visitors to the museum, and prompted an extension by popular demand.
Ten years later in November 2013, the diamond was purchased at Sotheby’s Geneva by New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf for a record-breaking $83 million. At the time, auctioneer David Bennett called the Pink Star Diamond “fit for any royal [or] museum collection,” as “there is no [other] stone of that size and color known.”
But Wolf wound up defaulting on the purchase, leaving Sotheby’s to buy the stone itself for the guaranteed $60 million price. According to Forbes, Sotheby’s now owns the diamond in partnership with Diacore, a diamond dealer, and the jewelers of Mellen Inc. “The house estimates its value at $72 million,” Artnet reports.
The Pink Star Diamond is due to give the Oppenheimer Blue, the world’s largest and most expensive 14.62 carat Vivid Blue diamond sold for $57.5 million at Christie’s Geneva, a run for its money.