Flawless Diamond Auction: Favourite Diamonds and Jewels and their Stories

They say diamonds are a girls’ best friend and we’ve found a few that we’d all want on our Christmas list. The diamond sold at auction for a whopping $22,090,000 last month (around £15 million!), making headlines across the internet. Gary Schuler, head of the jewellery department at Sotheby’s, New York, even described the stone as ‘the definition of perfection’, and likened its transparency to ‘a pool of icy water’.


Image: The Jewellery Editor

Believe it or not, though, this isn’t the most expensive diamond to have ever been auctioned. Maria Doulton, founder of The Jewellery Editor, has put together an unbelievable roundup of record-breaking diamonds – here are the top three:

  1. 118.28ct oval diamond ($30.6 million)

This flawless beauty sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2013, snagging itself a world record for the highest price ever paid for a colourless diamond at auction. But the records didn’t end there: it also became the largest diamond to ever go under the hammer!

  1. The Orange ($35.54 million)

The highest price ever paid per carat for a coloured diamond was shelled out for ‘The Orange’, which was auctioned at Christies Geneva at a price equating to $2.4 million per carat! The stone is even described as ‘a miracle of nature’, owing to the orange diamond’s status as one of the rarest coloured gems on the planet.

  1. The Pink Star ($83.19 million)

A star indeed, this stunning pink diamond is the largest internally flawless ‘Fancy Vivid’ pink diamond in the world. Not only that, but after selling for $83.19 million in November 2013, it holds the record as the most valuable diamond ever sold at auction. Well, it would do if Sotheby’s hadn’t been forced to reacquire it, after the buyer discovered that they couldn’t afford it.


Image: Hancocks

When it comes to jewellery with a unique story, however, the piece most steeped in history has to be the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace.

Presented to Queen Elizabeth as a wedding present and, more recently, worn by Princess Kate, the necklace has an intriguing past which has been eloquently explored by Hancocks jewellers:

‘Nizam Osmar Ali Pasha (1886 – 1967) was the seventh and last ruler of Hyderabad, the foremost princely state of British India. The Nizam was attributed by Time magazine in 1937 to be the world’s wealthiest man, and was one of the few Indian Princes entitled to a 21 gun salute under British rule.

‘In 1947, the Nizam instructed Cartier that his wedding gift was to be chosen by Princess Elizabeth herself, from their stock in London. The future bride selected a diamond tiara, and a necklace composed of a pave set, brilliant cut diamond central section with curving scrolls, 13 emerald cut diamonds, a pear-shaped diamond pendant and countless other rows of glittering jewels – the soon-to-be-famous Nizam of Hyderabad necklace.

‘In the 1950s the Queen wore the necklace for many official photographs and portraits. In 1952 it made a sparkling contrast to the strapless, rippled black taffeta crinoline by Hartnell: the Princess’s hands clasped on her lap among the leaf layers of the spreading skirt. In 1953, it provided a dazzling accompaniment to another Hartnell crinoline in yellow tulle, decorated with mimosa sprigs and sequins.

‘Today the necklace is worn less frequently by the Queen, but during her first official royal appearance of 2014, the Duchess of Cambridge attended a fundraising gala and dinner at London’s National Portrait Gallery. The dress code for the dinner was ‘black tie with a hint of sparkle’, and as the Duchess stepped from her car, she drew gasps from the waiting onlookers. Dressed in a full length midnight blue silk dress, the ‘hint of sparkle’ was provided by the Nizam’s necklace.’


Example of an Asscher cut diamond: Nick Webb / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

And finally, we couldn’t write a post about diamonds without a mention of the Krupp diamond, a favourite of Mellissa from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover. She told us:

‘My favourite diamond is the Krupp diamond as worn by Elizabeth Taylor. This 33.19ct, internally flawless Asscher cut diamond may not be the biggest in the world, but it symbolises romance and glamour, having been given to her by her husband Richard Burton. It is graded as VS1 in clarity and D in colour, while the unusual design is simply stunning. It was sold in 2011 for $8.8 million’.

How much would you be willing to spend on a sparkling diamond? Do you have a favourite piece of famous jewellery you’d love to try on for a day? Let us know!

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