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The Most Buzzworthy Diamonds of 2020

Dec 30, 2020 5:23 AM   By Leah Meirovich
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RAPAPORT... Amid a challenging year for the industry, diamonds proved the coronavirus pandemic couldn’t dampen their appeal. Several stones made headlines, set records, exceeded expectations, or simply showed their sellers the money. Most of all, they caught our attention in 2020.

Bringing in the big bucks

1. Bundle of blues
In November, Petra Diamonds sold a set of five blue, type IIb, gem-quality diamonds weighing a total of 85.6 carats from its Cullinan mine in South Africa to a partnership between De Beers and Diacore. The collection realized $40.4 million, exceeding analysts’ predictions.

2. Showing spirit
An oval modified brilliant-cut, 14.83-carat, fancy-vivid-purple-pink, internally flawless diamond mined by Alrosa, named Spirit of the Rose, topped the Magnificent Jewels auction at Sotheby’s Geneva in November. It sold for $26.6 million, or $1.8 million per carat.

3. Flawless fancy
Following 15 minutes of fierce bidding, a marquise-cut, 12.11-carat, fancy-intense-blue, internally flawless diamond ring fetched $15.9 million at the Christie’s July sale in Hong Kong. It beat its high estimate of $12.3 million.

4. Ovals online
A private collector bought an oval-shaped, 102.39-carat, D-flawless diamond, for $15.7 million. The stone, sold at an online auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October, is one of only eight D-flawless or internally flawless diamonds over 100 carats ever sold at auction.

Setting the record straight

1. No reservations
The 102.39-carat diamond, mentioned above, sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong was the first world-class diamond ever auctioned without a reserve price.

2. An eternity
Hong Kong-based Kunming Diamonds won the 2.24-carat, fancy-vivid-purplish-pink Argyle Eternity at Rio Tinto’s penultimate Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender in December. The stone set the record for the most valuable fancy-vivid diamond in the event’s 37-year history.

3. From Russia with love
In August, Alrosa recovered a 236-carat, intense-yellow-brown diamond at its Ebelyakh deposit in Yakutia. It was the largest natural colored diamond ever found in Russia.

4. Black in the lab
The International Gemological Institute (IGI) graded a 115.65-carat, black, type IIb synthetic diamond, which holds a Guinness World Record as the largest lab-grown diamond of its color.

Exceedingly impressive

1. Four score
A ring featuring a square emerald-cut, 21.86-carat emerald, flanked by baguette diamonds, was the top lot at the Magnificent Jewels sale at Sotheby’s New York. The jewel, from the collection of philanthropist Cecile Zilkha, brought in $3.7 million, nearly four times its $1 million high estimate.

2. Blue bling
A pair of marquise-cut, fancy-intense-blue, internally flawless diamond earrings, each featuring a 3.29-carat stone, sold to African manufacturer Diacore for $927,000 per carat, or $6.1 million, smashing its $4.4 million estimate.

3. Dame’s diamonds
A diamond brooch from the collection of Dame Joan Collins, designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, fetched $161,892 at the Bonhams London Jewels sale in November, more than six times its high valuation.

Earth-shattering finds

1. Karowe carats
In November, Lucara Diamond Company unearthed a 998-carat, unbroken, high-quality white diamond from the high-value south lobe of its Karowe mine in Botswana.

2. Living large
Lucara also dug up a 549-carat unbroken diamond of “exceptional purity” from the mine in February. It named it Sethunya, which means flower in Setswana. The company sold the stone to Louis Vuitton in November.

3. What a gem
Gem Diamonds recovered a 442-carat, type II diamond from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho in August, and plans to finance a special community project with some of the funds from its sale.

4. Take two
Letšeng also yielded a high-quality, 233-carat, type II diamond, the miner reported in September.

Attention grabbers

1. Selling Sewelô
In January, Lucara sold Botswana’s biggest diamond, the 1,758-carat Sewelô rough, into a partnership with Louis Vuitton and manufacturer HB Antwerp.

2. Changing colors
The IGI graded a 10.06-carat, fancy-vivid-pink lab-grown diamond that had previously been submitted as a fancy-intense yellow, after the color was shifted using an irradiation treatment, it said in September.

3. Put a ring on it
In August, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graded an all-diamond ring made entirely from a fancy-dark-grey stone. The piece, weighing 13.15 carats, originated from a 196-carat rough.

4. Getting to the heart of it
Lucapa revealed a heart-shaped, 15.2-carat, fancy-intense-orangey-pink, VVS1-clarity diamond in December, one of three manufacturing partner Safdico cut from a 46-carat pink rough recovered from the miner’s Lulo operation in Angola.

Image: Petra’s five-stone blue-diamond collection. (Petra Diamonds)
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Tags: Alrosa, Argyle Eternity, Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, bonhams, Cecile Zilkha, Christie’s, Cullinan Mine, Dame Joan Collins, De Beers, Diacore, Ebelyakh, Gem Diamonds, Gemological Institute of America, GIA, guinness world record, HB Group, IGI, International Gemological Institute, Karowe mine, Kunming Diamonds, Leah Meirovich, Letšeng mine, Louis Vuitton, lucapa, lucara, Lucara Diamond Company, Lulo, Magnificent Jewels, Petra Diamonds, Rio Tinto, Safdico, Sethunya, Sewelô, Sotheby’s, Spirit of the Rose, Van Cleef & Arpels
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