Diamond Investing

Colored diamonds continue to sell for record-breaking prices. But what are the most expensive diamonds ever sold at auction?

Like many commodities, diamonds had a tough time in 2015. The year brought nearly a 15-percent slump in rough diamond prices, and major miners had to react fairly quickly to that downturn.
Luckily, expectations are running high that 2016 will be a better year for diamonds. Rough diamond prices are expected to increase midway through the year, and overall market watchers are cautiously optimistic about the industry as a whole.
What’s perhaps even more exciting is that natural fancy colored diamonds continue to sell for record-breaking prices at auction. The gems have long been considered valuable — just think of the world-famous blue Hope diamond and red Moussaief diamond — and it seems that they’re only becoming more coveted.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the three most expensive diamonds ever sold at auction. You may be surprised to see how much they went for!

1. Blue Moon diamond

Selling price: $48.5 million
At the top of the list is the 12.03-carat Blue Moon diamond, which was sold by New York jewelry company Cora International for a whopping $48.5 million in November 2015. According to a Rapaport report released at the time, Sotheby’s has claimed that’s a world record for a diamond of any color.

The buyer of the gem was Hong Kong real estate investor Joseph Lau. After purchasing the Blue Moon diamond, he renamed it the Blue Moon of Josephine after his daughter. Lau also recently spent $28.6 million on a 16.08-carat pink diamond for his daughter; it is now called the Sweet Josephine.

2. Graff Pink diamond

Selling price: $46 million
Before the sale of the Blue Moon diamond last year, the 24.78-carat Graff Pink diamond held the record for the most expensive diamond sold at auction. The gem was sold in 2010 by jeweler Harry Winston for an impressive $46 million.
Laurence Graff, founder of Graff Diamonds, was the buyer of the diamond; before being purchased by Graff, the Graff Pink had been part of a private collection for 60 years. Graff has purchased other high-profile stones at auction as well.
Interestingly, the Graff Pink was almost unseated as the world’s priciest diamond even before the Blue Moon diamond took its crown. In 2013, the 59.6-carat Pink Star diamond sold for $83 million; however, the buyer ultimately defaulted on the purchase.

3. The Orange diamond

Selling price: $35.5 million
Though it sold for over $10 million less than the Blue Moon and Graff Pink diamonds, the 14.82-carat Orange diamond, which sold for $35.5 million in 2013, it still one of the most expensive diamonds ever sold in an auction.
Notably, a Forbes article published at the time of the sale states that the Orange diamond “shattered its high estimate of $21 million,” and also set a world record for a fancy vivid orange diamond. The gem is also thought to be “easily” the largest orange diamond in the world — in fact, it’s three times larger than two other noteworthy large orange diamonds.

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 
Related reading: 
Colored Diamonds 101
Colored Diamonds: Stones with Brilliant Profit Potential
Brown Diamonds Set to be the Next Big Thing


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