‘Incomparable’ pink diamond could smash record at Geneva auction

The Pink Legacy has been described as ‘one of the world’s greatest diamonds.’ (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2018

‘Incomparable’ pink diamond could smash record at Geneva auction

  • The rectangular-cut diamond has been graded ‘fancy vivid’ — the highest possible grade of color intensity
  • The classic rectangular cut is traditionally used for white stones, but is rare for pink diamonds

GENEVA: An exceptionally rare 19-carat pink diamond goes under the hammer in Geneva Tuesday, when it could fetch $50 million, setting a new record for a stone of its kind.
The Pink Legacy used to belong to the Oppenheimer family, which for decades ran the De Beers diamond mining company, but auction house Christie’s refused to say who the current owner was.
Christie’s international head of jewelry, Rahul Kadakia, described The Pink Legacy as “one of the world’s greatest diamonds.”
The rectangular-cut diamond has been graded “fancy vivid” — the highest possible grade of color intensity.
Christie’s has noted that in the salesroom, fancy vivid pink diamonds over 10 carats are “virtually unheard of” and that only four vivid pink diamonds or over 10 carats have ever been offered at auction.
One of them, the nearly 15-carat Pink Promise, was sold last November at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong for $32.5 million. That amounts to $2.176 million per carat, which remains the world auction record price per carat for any pink diamond.
Eddie LeVian, CEO of jewelers Le Vian, said that record could fall at Tuesday’s auction, which is being held at the ultra-luxurious Four Seasons des Bergues hotel on the banks of Lake Geneva.
“We’ve recently witnessed a meteoric rise in the number of the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals who view rare, natural fancy color diamonds as investments,” Le Vian said in a statement.
“I therefore believe the Pink Legacy will beat the current world auction record,” he added.
The stone was discovered in a South African mine around a century ago and was probably cut in the 1920 and has not been altered since, Christie’s said.
“Imagine a domino that you have cut the corners off of,” Jean-Marc Lunel, an international jewelry specialist at Christie’s, recently said, pointing out that the cut is a “classical so-called emerald cut,” which stands out from the typical, more rounded, multi-facetted cuts used today.
The classic rectangular cut is traditionally used for white stones, but is rare for pink diamonds.
Christie’s said the Pink Legacy is “the largest and finest Fancy Vivid Pink diamond ever offered at auction by the company,” calling the stone “incomparable.”
“It is probably the most beautiful (specimen) ever presented at public auction,” Lunel said.


Bosnian ‘energy pyramids’ boosted by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visits

Updated 25 November 2020

Bosnian ‘energy pyramids’ boosted by tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s visits

  • Tennis star Novac Djokovic has made two trips this year, hailing the site as a ‘paradise on earth’

VISOKO, Bosnia and Herzegovina: With tree-covered slopes that rise to a pointed summit, the mountain overlooking the Bosnian town of Visoko resembles any other ordinary hillside in the Balkan state.
Yet thousands of yearly visitors – including high-profile stars like Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic – don’t see it that way.
Despite scientists’ efforts to debunk the claims, large numbers of people still believe the hill is part of an ancient man-made pyramid complex with healing powers.
Djokovic, who is known for his new-age spiritual interests, has made two trips this year, hailing the site as a “paradise on earth.”
The mountain is now part of a controversial pyramid park founded by Semir Osmanagic, a 60-year-old self-styled explorer who “discovered” the site just outside of Sarajevo in 2005.
“I saw this hill covered with fir trees and vegetation, its slopes perfectly oriented toward the cardinal points,” Osmanagic, wearing a leather jacket and Indiana Jones-style hat, said on a recent weekend while leading a tour group through the site.
“It was obvious to me that it was not a natural hill but the construction” of a “technologically superior civilization,” he said, insisting it is the “largest and oldest pyramid ever built.”
Archaeologists have long ago disputed this theory as pseudo-science, saying the hill is a natural geological structure.
In a letter to Bosnian authorities in 2006, European archaeologists denounced the support given to a “cruel hoax on an unsuspecting public” that “has no place in the world of genuine science.”
But this did not prevent Osmanagic, previously a US-based businessman, from carrying out “archaeological excavations” on the hill with hundreds of volunteers from abroad.
He bought a piece of surrounding land, which includes a network of tunnels he says emit a curative energy force, and a few years later opened the park through his “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun” foundation.
Today, the park is buzzing with visitors, who have come in even higher numbers since two recent trips from Djokovic.
In July and October, Djokovic made pilgrimages to the park and invited “all athletes” to take advantage of the healthy oxygen levels.
“I know there are many doubts and dilemmas about the authenticity (of the place),” he said in October.
But “in order to fully understand what is going on here... you have to come.”
After a quiet spring subdued by the pandemic, weekend crowds are back at the park, consisting mostly of visitors from the region.
“The beginning of the season was catastrophic, but since Djokovic has been here, it’s been a joy,” says Nermin Alihodzic, 47, who sells tourists colorful mini-pyramids and pieces of quartz.
While the government stopped backing the park over a decade ago, local authorities have helped finance the construction of roads, parking lots and other infrastructure to encourage tourists.
A five-euro ($5.94) entry fee for the whole park also includes access to the underground tunnel network which Osmanagic claims emit healing electromagnetic waves.
In his tour of the park, Osmanagic takes groups down to the chambers, urging them to hold their hands over a smooth rock and feel the “energy” rising.
Dzenana Halepovic, a 67-year-old from Sarajevo, is a frequent visitor.
In the tunnels “I feel good, I breathe well, I feel light. I simply feel like I’m receiving energy there,” she said.
For Enver Imamovic, a professor emeritus of archaeology at the University of Sarajevo, the project is pure scam.
The tunnels are likely “remnants of an ancient gold mine” while wedges of stones on the hillside, which believers consider to be the building blocks of the pyramid, are “nothing more than natural geological formations,” he said.
“Everything that is said about the pyramids is absolutely unacceptable.”
Founder Osmanagic has also been promoting the site as a place to “boost immunity” during the coronavirus pandemic.
While he insists no cures are guaranteed, he cites other alleged miracles in which people have been healed of ailments like hypertension, diabetes or even cancer after a trip to the underground tunnels.