$50 million Pink Legacy diamond sets new record at Geneva auction

$50 million Pink Legacy diamond sets new record at Geneva auction
Christie’s jewelry department head Rahul Kadakia holds the hammer during the sale of The Pink Legacy on Tuesday, November 13, in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2018

$50 million Pink Legacy diamond sets new record at Geneva auction

$50 million Pink Legacy diamond sets new record at Geneva auction
  • ‘This stone is for me the Leonardo da Vinci of diamonds’
  • Christie’s said only four vivid pink diamonds of over 10 carats have ever been offered at auction

GENEVA: An exceptionally rare pink diamond of nearly 19 carats fetched 50.3 million Swiss francs ($50 million) at auction in Geneva Tuesday, Christie’s said, setting a new per-carat record for a stone of its kind.
The Pink Legacy, which once belonged to the Oppenheimer family who for decades ran the De Beers diamond-mining company, was snapped up by American luxury brand Harry Winston, part of the Swiss Swatch group.
“$2.6 million per carat. That is a world record per carat for a pink diamond,” said Francois Curiel, head of Christie’s in Europe, of the price that included all fees and commissions.
“This stone is for me the Leonardo da Vinci of diamonds.”
The 18.96-carat diamond was discovered in a South African mine around a century ago, Christie’s said. It was probably cut in the 1920s and has not been altered since.
The stone was immediately rechristened the “Winston Pink Legacy” by its buyers.
Christie’s international head of jewelry, Rahul Kadakia, described it as “one of the world’s greatest diamonds.”
The rectangular-cut stone has been graded “fancy vivid” — the highest possible grade of color intensity — as it has no trace of another hue like purple, orange or brown.
Most pink diamonds weigh less than one carat and those in the top color category with more than 10 carats are virtually unheard of at auction houses.
The Pink Legacy is classed as Type IIa, meaning it is extremely chemically pure, a category only two percent of diamonds fall into.
“These are stones that have little if any trace of nitrogen,” said Kadakia, adding that this often gives Type IIa diamonds “exceptional transparency and brilliance.”
“Imagine a domino that you have cut the corners off of,” Jean-Marc Lunel, an international jewelry specialist at Christie’s, recently said, describing the stone’s unusual shape.
He pointed out that the diamond has a “classical so-called emerald cut” — standing out from the typical cuts used today, which are more rounded and multi-faceted.
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.
Christie’s said only four vivid pink diamonds of 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 was previously the world auction record price per carat for any pink diamond.
The Pink Legacy’s record-smashing price accounted for nearly half the takings at Tuesday’s auction, which saw total sales of more than $110 million, according to Christie’s spokeswoman Alexandra Kindermann.
While 86 percent of the lots found a buyer, a big heart-shaped white diamond of 53 carats, expected to fetch around $3 to 5 million, went unsold.
Another Geneva auction is set cause a buzz on Wednesday when Marie Antoinette’s diamonds and pearls go under the hammer at Sotheby’s.
The dazzling treasures, which have not been seen in public for two centuries, are part of a 100-piece collection held by the Italian royal House of Bourbon-Parma.


No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’
Updated 20 January 2021

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’

No-go for Joe Exotic: Donald Trump’s pardon list omits ‘Tiger King’
  • Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison
OKLAHOMA CITY: One name missing in President Donald Trump’s flurry of pardons is “Tiger King” Joe Exotic.
His team was so confident in a pardon that they’d readied a celebratory limousine and a hair and wardrobe team to whisk away the zookeeper-turned-reality-TV-star, who is now serving a 22-year federal prison sentence in Texas. But he wasn’t on the list announced Wednesday morning.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, was sentenced in January 2020 to 22 years in federal prison for violating federal wildlife laws and for his role in a failed murder-for-hire plot targeting his chief rival, Carole Baskin, who runs a rescue sanctuary for big cats in Florida. Baskin was not harmed.
Maldonado-Passage, who has maintained his innocence, was also sentenced for killing five tigers, selling tiger cubs and falsifying wildlife records. A jury convicted him in April 2019.
In his pardon application filed in September, Maldonado-Passage’s attorneys argued that he was “railroaded and betrayed” by others. Maldonado-Passage, 57, is scheduled to be released from custody in 2037, but his attorneys said in the application that “he will likely die in prison” because of health concerns.
Maldonado-Passage’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Wednesday.
The blond mullet-wearing zookeeper, known for his expletive-laden rants on YouTube and a failed 2018 Oklahoma gubernatorial campaign, was prominently featured in the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.”