As the year comes to a close, Rapaport News takes a look back at the largest rough stones miners unearthed in 2018, and the diamonds that fetched the highest prices at auction.
The 910-carat Lesotho Legend, which Gem Diamonds recovered in January, claims
the top spot this year. The D-color, type IIa stone — which the miner says is the fifth-largest gem-quality diamond ever found — sold to Samir Gems for $40 million.
Dominion Diamond Mines unearthed a 553-carat yellow diamond at the Diavik mine, its joint venture with Rio Tinto, in December. The company claims the chicken-egg-sized stone is the largest known gem-quality diamond found in North America.
In April, Lucara Diamond Corp. recovered a 472-carat, light-brown, gem-quality diamond, the third-largest it has ever produced from its Karowe mine in Botswana.
Later that month, Lucara also mined a 327-carat, white gem-quality stone from Karowe, its eighth over 100 carats this year.
A 169-carat find by Gem Diamonds rounds out the list. The white, type IIa diamond was recovered from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho in March.
The top-selling piece at auction this year was the Pink Legacy, a rectangular-cut,
18.96-carat, fancy-vivid-pink diamond, which sold to Harry Winston for $50.4 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in November. The diamond set a world record for average price for a pink diamond at auction, fetching $2.7 million per carat.
A natural-pearl and diamond pendant that once belonged to Marie Antoinette sold for more than 18 times its high presale estimate, going for $36.2 million at Sotheby’s Geneva auction in November.
A pear-shaped, 8.01-carat, fancy-vivid-blue, internally flawless diamond necklace by Moussaieff comes in third, raking in $20.5 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong in May. The piece achieved $2.6 million per carat.
The fourth-highest seller this year was also sold by Christie’s, at its December Magnificent Jewels auction in New York. The cushion-cut, 8.08-carat, fancy-vivid-blue Bulgari diamond ring went for $18.3 million.
Finally, the Ai diamond, named after the Chinese word for love, captures the fifth spot. The step-cut, 5-carat, fancy-vivid-blue stone went for $13.8 million — $2.8 million per carat — at Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction in October.
Information about the biggest diamonds recovered this year was collected from miners that release such data, and does not include De Beers, Alrosa and others.
Image: The Lesotho Legend and the Winston Pink Legacy. (Gem Diamonds, Christie’s)