In a gilded ballroom at the Four Seasons hotel in Geneva last month, the world’s wealthiest collectors and their envoys gathered to bid on the final and most anticipated lot: a nearly 19-carat cotton-candy colored diamond called the Pink Legacy.
As the stunning rectangular-cut gem, set in a ring with two white diamond side stones, appeared on stage in its own illuminated glass case, the crowd of more than 500 hushed. Then the frenzied bidding began, quickly surpassing the auction house’s low estimate of $30 million, as four clients — two in the room, two others on the phone — topped one another’s outrageous offers until, finally, the gavel dropped.
Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry for Christie’s and the auctioneer who ran the sale, gestured to the winner in the front row: “Sold for you, sir!”
The winner was a representative for Harry Winston, and at $50 million, it was a record-breaking price per carat for a pink stone. The company promptly renamed it the Winston Pink Legacy.
“It’s my business to hope and dream for stones like this,” Kadakia told The Post a few weeks after the sale. “If I’m at Christie’s for another 25 years, I won’t see another like it.”
His excitement came down to the stone’s impressive legacy — it was once owned by the Oppenheimers, the so-called “first family of diamonds” who helmed De Beers for almost a century — as well as the shocking color. Graded as “fancy vivid,” the highest level of color intensity for a diamond, “the whole room turned pink” the first time Kadakia saw it, he said.
The stone is a strong investment for Harry Winston, he added. “Ten years from now, this diamond could be worth $100 million.”
The prices of pink diamonds — as well as those of their naturally candy-colored cousins in blue, green and red — are skyrocketing, increasingly making white diamonds seem like the people’s stones.