A mismatched pair of fancy colored diamond earrings have been sold at auction in Geneva for a record-breaking price of $57.4m (£44.4m).
The pear-shaped jewels which was mined in South Africa is nicknamed Apollo and Artemis- after the twin brother and sister who are among the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities.
Sotheby’s chief auctioneer David Bennet said that coloured diamonds are extremely rare “show stoppers” and world’s most valuable pair of earrings ever offered at auction.
Apollo and Artemis differ in one crucial area – the 14.54 carat, pear-shaped Apollo Blue was the big prize of the pair and sold for more than $42.08 million (including buyer’s premium), within its estimate of $38 – $50 million.
The 16-carat, pear-shaped Artemis Pink, sold for more than $15.3 million (including buyers premium), within its estimate of $12.5 – $18 million.
It is the largest internally flawless fancy vivid blue diamond ever to be offered at auction, Sotheby’s said. It was graded as a Type IIb diamond, which amounts to less than 1% of all diamonds. In recent years, the only mine to produce blue diamonds with any regularity is the Cullinan mine in South Africa.
When in full production, less than 0.1% of diamonds sourced showed any evidence of blue color, according to the Gemological Institute of America, which graded both diamonds and issued reports on them. An infinitesimally small percentage of those is graded Fancy Vivid Blue.
The fancy intense pink diamond was graded by the GIA as a Type IIa diamond, describing this category as “the most chemically pure type” of diamonds.
The occurrence of pink diamonds is rare. According to the GIA, of all diamonds it grades each year, “no more than 3% are classified as colored diamonds; less than 5% of those colored diamonds are predominantly pink.”
“The Apollo and Artemis diamonds will be the stars of our May sale in Geneva—by far the most important pair of earrings ever offered at auction,” David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Division, said prior to the sale.