$71 Million! Pink Diamond Shines in Record-Breaking Sale

The oval, mixed-cut, 59.6-carat jewel is the largest diamond classified as "internally flawless fancy vivid pink." (Image credit: Sotheby's)

The "Pink Star" diamond sold for a whopping $71.2 million this week, making it the most valuable jewel ever sold at auction, according to news reports.

International auction house Sotheby's announced the record-breaking sale on April 4, when the oval, mixed-cut, 59.6-carat diamond sold in Hong Kong. Billionaire businessman Henry Cheng Kar-Shun, chairman of Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook, won the renowned diamond in a three-person bidding war, reported the Associated Press (AP). According to the AP, the three contenders competed via telephone bids for 5 minutes before the hammer dropped.

The "Pink Star" has now been renamed the "CTF Pink Star," in celebration of Chow Tai Fook's 88th anniversary and in memory of Cheng Kar-Shun's late father, the founder of the company, according to Sotheby's. [Sinister Sparkle Gallery: 13 Mysterious & Cursed Gemstones]

"It is fitting that the owner of the most prestigious jeweler in greater China should today break the record for the most valuable item ever sold in Asia, as well as the most valuable diamond ever sold at auction — now appropriately named the CTF Pink Star," Tad Smith, Sotheby's president and CEO, said in a statement.

Discovered as a 132.5-carat rough diamond in South Africa in 1999, the pink gem underwent painstaking cuts and polishing for two years to become the "Pink Star" diamond known today. Its 59.6 carats make this the largest diamond classified as "internally flawless fancy vivid pink" ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Sotheby's said. The giant pink diamond was also graded by the GIA to have the highest color and clarity. It is part of a rare subgroup of gem diamonds known as Type IIa, considered chemically the purest of all diamond crystals and accounting for less than 2 percent of all gem diamonds, according to Sotheby's.

Sotheby's previously sold the gem at an auction three years ago for an even higher price, but that deal fell through after the buyer defaulted, the AP reported. This recent sale more than doubled the record for a fancy vivid pink diamond sold at auction. Sotheby's set the old record in 2016, when the "Unique Pink," a 15.38-carat and pear-shaped diamond, sold for over $31 million.

The Pink Star's sale also surpassed the record for any diamond or gemstone by nearly $14 million. The "Oppenheimer Blue" previously held that record, selling for $57.5 million at Christie's Geneva in May 2016.

Original article on Live Science.

Kacey Deamer
Staff Writer
Kacey Deamer is a journalist for Live Science, covering planet earth and innovation. She has previously reported for Mother Jones, the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, Neon Tommy and more. After completing her undergraduate degree in journalism and environmental studies at Ithaca College, Kacey pursued her master's in Specialized Journalism: Climate Change at USC Annenberg. Follow Kacey on Twitter.