Muzo emerald reaches exceptional sale price at Christie’s Geneva sale

We publish courtesy of Diamond World


The Christie’s Geneva sale held recently, witnessed a magnificent 9.27 ct. emerald from the legendary mine of Muzo, Colombia, reaching a price of $835,682 or $90,149) per carat, which is an exceptional price for such a stone. The report from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute on this Muzo Emerald stated that “Natural emeralds from Colombia of this size, colour and purity represent a great rarity and the described gemstone is thus a very exceptional treasure”.

Jean-Marc Lunel, Head of Christie’s Geneva Jewellery Department said: “Golconda, Muzo, Kashmir: these are magic words to any gem connoisseur.” Adding to the historic enigma of the Muzo mines, Jean-Marc Lunel said, “The history of the legendary mines of Muzo began with the discovery of the New World by the Spanish conquerors in the early 16th Century. Emeralds from the Muzo mines are highly valued because of their famous saturated pure green to slightly bluish green hue, their size and their clarity.”

Although Muzo mines continue to yield high quality gemstones, very few display the purity and intense saturation of the exceptional square-cut ‘Muzo’ emerald weighing 9.27 carats, highly transparent pure crystal, free of any form of enhancement offered in the sale.

25-carat pink diamond sets new auction record

We publish courtesy of National Jeweler


This 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond ring garnered a world-record auction price of $46.16 million at Sotheby's on Tuesday.

Laurence Graff again raised the auction stakes for natural color diamonds on Tuesday evening when he paid a world record price of $46.16 million for a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond at Sotheby’s.

The legendary diamantaire, who immediately dubbed the diamond “The Graff Pink,” called the emerald-cut stunner the “most fabulous” diamond he has seen in the history of his career.

“I’m delighted to have bought it,” Graff said.

The diamond’s $40-million-plus price sets a new world record for any jewel sold at auction, shattering the previous record of $24.3 million held by Graff’s 2008 purchase of the blue Wittelsbach diamond at Christie’s.

Four bidders competed for the stone Tuesday at Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels” sale in Geneva. Sotheby’s Chairman in Asia Patti Wong, bidding on behalf of Graff, finally emerged as the winning bidder.

David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewellery Department for Europe and the Middle East, echoed Graff’s sentiments about the stone.

“Tonight’s spectacular result demonstrates that truly extraordinary objects will bring truly extraordinary prices,” he said. “This outstanding pink diamond combined exceptional color and purity with classic emerald cut and fully deserves the exceptional price [it attained]. It was simply one of the most desirable diamonds I have seen during my 35-year career at Sotheby’s.”

The diamond, mounted as a ring, is classified as a Type IIa diamond, diamonds that comprise less than 2 percent of all the world’s gem diamonds. It came to the market from a private collection and had not been seen on the open market since being purchased from Harry Winston some 60 years ago. The pre-sale estimate on the stone was $27 million to $38 million.

In total, the Magnificent Jewels sale garnered $105 million with a sell-through rate of 82 percent by lot and 94 percent by value.

Other lots sold included a fancy intense pink diamond ring purchased by an anonymous buyer for $2.81 million and a 20.16-carat diamond ring from Graff, which a member of the international trade snatched up for $2.76 million.



Two large white diamonds sold for $59,833 per carat

We publish courtesy of Diamond World


In a tender by Gem Diamonds, attracting world’s leading diamantaires, Johannesburg-based SAFDICO bought two large rough white diamonds from Gem Diamonds’ Letšeng mine in Lesotho, for a total of $22.7 million, or $59,833 per carat. The diamonds, as Gem Diamonds describes, are of top color and outstanding clarity and weigh 196 carats and 184 carats, respectively.

SAFDICO, is partly owned by Laurence Graff, Brian Gutkin and Johnny Kneller.

The sale also saw a 4.68 carat rough blue diamond being bought for $155,000 per carat, which Gem Diamonds describes is the highest price paid for a Letšeng. The tender which closed in Antwerp on November 24, realized an average price of $2,341 per carat, excluding the 196 carat and 184 carat sales.

It’s a Sad Sad Sad Sad Kimberley Process

We publish courtesy of JCK online

By Rob Bates

Following the announcement of the latest Kimberley Process impasse with Zimbabwe, there was a palpable feeling of disappointment at the Plenary in Jerusalem and anxiety about the KP’s future. Even industry supporters are starting to murmur, “What do we need this for?”

Seeing the KP in action—or, in this case, inaction—has given me an understanding why people have grown so frustrated and disappointed in it. What started as a serious effort to save lives has become a spectacle.

For the third KP meeting in a row, Zimbabwe dominated the proceedings. As one delegate joked, “By the end of this, Zimbabwe will be perfect, and the rest of the world will have gone to hell.” The Plenary ended with everything so up in the air that no vice chairman was chosen—the first time that has happened in KP history. (The U.S. wanted the post, but Zimbabwe objected, pending the resolution of the export question.)

To be fair, some of this haggling is the nature of the beast. The KP requires consensus be achieved among 72 governments. It is difficult to get 72 people to agree on anything—never mind 72 governments. And ultimately the industry can’t just rely on the KP, and those 72 unpredictable governments, to chart its future. It needs to take matters more into its hands.

I still support the KP—not because it helps consumer confidence in the industry, because I am not convinced it does. I believe the KP is the right thing to do, because uncontrolled diamond sales can lead to some horrible things. It has even proved its worth this year, leading to a marked improvement in the situation in Marange.

But all that is in jeopardy now, and if the KP does fall apart, it will be difficult to re-create. With “traditional definition” conflict diamonds basically history, there isn’t going to be much political will to construct an international gemstone certification scheme.

Now, while I “attended” the KP Plenary in Jerusalem, I didn’t go to any of the meetings; they were closed to the press. Apparently, at the closing session, I missed some truly insane stuff, with the U.S. flayed for imperialism and the KP chair having to prevent countries from walking out. Once the Plenary ended, Zimbabwe’s mining minister, Obert Mpofu, kept things interesting by declaring at a press conference that Marange diamonds had been cleared for export. This puzzled the assembled reporters, who had spent the last half hour hearing there was in fact no deal. Oh no, the minister declared: A proposal had been put before the Plenary. No one objected. Which, in his world, meant: It was approved.

Later, of course, KP chairman Boaz Hirsch explicitly contradicted this. However, it may have been noteworthy that Mpofu said that Zimbabwe would only be exporting from KP-compliant mines Mbada and Canadille, and not the rest of Marange. Which, truthfully, not many people do object to.

The irony here is, if you discount the Zimbabwe mess, there are some glimmers of hope for the KP’s future. The KP will finally establish a permanent staff, to ensure more continuity between the rotating chairs. There is also a new enforcement mechanism. These are important achievements that were top priorities of Hirsch, who is given good grades for his tenure, as tumultuous as it was.

The NGOs and the industry also agreed on “human rights language.” While this was ultimately blocked by a group of countries, it is likely to come up again, and there is optimism about it passing.  “Human rights” are already mentioned in the KP Preamble. Even so, adding this language is viewed by some as a pretty significant expansion of the KP charter, that could lead to further controversies like the one we are seeing over Zimbabwe. Angola, in particular, was just rapped in a Wall Street Journal article for the treatment of diggers by mine security forces.

Now, if all this turmoil results in a cleaner supply chain, it will have all been worth it. But one wonders whether the KP can survive many more rides on this roller coaster.

One final note: A little-known fact about JFK speechwriter Theodore Sorenson is that he helped develop the KP. Acting as a lawyer for Lazare Kaplan, he “facilitated” one of the sessions in Kimberley, South Africa, in 2000 that created the scheme. Sorenson died last week. Let’s hope the KP doesn’t die with him.

Scarselli Sells 68% of Tendered Fancy Color Diamonds

We publish courtesy of Idex online

(IDEX Online News) – Scarselli Diamonds sold 68 percent of the 300 diamonds offered at its color diamond tender. The tender included yellow, pink, blue, red a nd green diamonds. The company did not disclose prices.

The vast majority of buyers were European, Asian and Indian. Of most interest were the larger goods, notably the yellows, pinks and blues.


The company said that a few of the tender attendees were shown five “very special diamonds.” Three of them were reportedly sold fore more than a million dollars each “representing values in excess of seven figures,” according to the company.


Scarselli Diamonds will hold another color diamond tender in March 2011.

Enviable Precious Gemstone: Green Beryl

We publish courtesy of Color-n-Ice

Let’s sort this out. All emeralds are a variety of green beryl. But not all green beryls are classified as emerald. No, it’s not a trick. Just a way to further separate precious stones within the beryl family of minerals.

Beryls are a gorgeous group of gemstones owing to their clean crisp tints. Think aquamarine,morganite, heliodor, even that teensy rosy bixbite.
To the cognoscenti, the line is drawn between emerald and green beryl on matters of saturation and light–or richer greens. The deeper more intense greens toss the stone in the emerald group. Ideally an emerald is recognized by a strong deep green, and often with a very slight bluish back color. However, some Brazilian emeralds reveal an ever so slightly yellow secondary hue.
Green beryls are their own enviable gem however, and not considered a second fiddle to emerald. Take, for instance the alluring green beryl ring designed by Christian Dior, part of their ‘Incroyableset Merveilleuses’ collection. A ring like this sold at Christies Hong Kong last year for $42,135US against a pre-auctionestimate of $10-$15K. Goes to show you what Asian bidders –who are savvy color stone collectors thought about this ‘incredible and marvelous’ ring.
The large and ever so clean green beryl crystal from the SmithsonianInstitute gives one a closer view of what these lighter stones look like in the rough. Emerald that size would be much darker, maybe even semi-transparent, and true to its nature, often loaded with telltale percussive fracture inclusions.
Both of these verdant gems are treasured by collectors, and it’s a personal preference as to which one is more appealing. Fortunately for green beryl fans, the price is more appealing than emerald.

CIBJO President discusses CSR with two Nobel Prize laureates

We publish courtesy of Diamond World

At the World Business Forum that was held in Milan on October 27 and 28, CIBJO President Gaetano Cavalieri took on the discussion of Corporate Social Responsibility programme in the jewellery industry with two Nobel Prize laureates, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

“The issues that the two gentlemen discussed at the World Business Forum very much reflected those we currently are dealing with in the jewellery industry,” said Dr. Cavalieri. “Vice President Gore looked in depth at certain of the CSR issues that we have been discussing in our industry forums, and he expressed interest in the work that is being done in the jewellery sector. Mr. Krugman, who discussed the most critical issues facing the world economy, was interested to hear that, as a luxury product industry, we are so involved in promoting good corporate citizenship.”

Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, largely in recognition of his work in promoting environmental sustainability. This was the focus of his address at the forum in Milan. He has served as the 45th vice president of the United States from 1993 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton and was the Democratic Party nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2008 for explaining patterns of international trade and the geographic concentration of wealth. Over the past two years he has written extensively on the impact of the global financial crisis, and has questioned whether the governments of the leading industrialised countries, and particularly the United States, have done enough to stimulate their moribund economies.