‘Fancy vivid pink’ diamond sold for Rs 410 crore: Why is the jewel so rare and expensive?


Diamonds are known to be the most mesmerising jewels of all. Now think of a pink diamond, the colour of which not only adds to its beauty but makes it rare and more expensive than normal diamonds.

On Friday, the sale of an extremely rare and “fancy vivid pink” diamond broke all world records to become the most expensive diamond ever to be sold. The Williamson Pink Star diamond was bought by an undisclosed buyer for sold for $392 million Hong Kong dollars ($49.9 million or Rs 410 crore). It was originally estimated at $21 million. The pink diamond was auctioned by Sotheby’s.

According to a report by CNN Style, the Williamson Pink Star is one of the purest and pinkest diamonds ever to come to auction.

Pink diamonds are not as common as white, yellow or brown stones. Its rarity is what makes it so expensive.

We take a look at what makes them so rare and expensive.

How are pink diamonds formed?

Normally, all diamonds are made of carbon atoms. These atoms are arranged in triangular pyramids, which gives them the unique look that they possess.

The quality of a pure diamond is based on its transparency level and colourlessness.

According to Museums Victoria, they are created when trace elements interact with the carbon atoms of a diamond. The shades of yellow, green and blue diamonds are acquired from chemical elements like nitrogen, sulphur and boron.

The most unique and different of all other diamonds is the pink one. Rather than trace elements, which are not found in them, distortion in their crystal lattice as a result of intense heat and great pressure is what makes a diamond pink.

Distortions move the carbon atoms of a diamond from their normal positions and alter the qualities of light that are reflected by the diamond. It is this special process of formation that exhibits the pink colour in the stone.

The Gemological Institute of America has classified pink diamonds based on the intensity of the colour: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense and Fancy Vivid.

Pink diamonds from the Argyle Mine in Western Australia are said to have the highest saturation.

For every one million carats of pink diamond produced at Argyle, only one carat is of high-quality pink colour.

What makes them so expensive?

According to Sotheby’s website, pink diamonds were first discovered in India in the 17th century in the Kollur mine of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. It then became a part of the legendary Golconda kingdom.

A French merchant and adventurer, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier wrote in his travel book that the 200-carat pink diamond was shown to him in 1642. The diamond, which was named ‘The Grand Table’ was valued at Rs 600,000 at the time.

Given its rarity and exquisite quality, the value of pink diamonds has increased considerably over the years.

Moreover, the only biggest source of pink diamonds, the Argyle Mine, was shut down in 2020 as it was no longer rendering profitable. Therefore, ever since the closure of the mine, the jewel has become rarer and its value has gone up, according to a report by Only Natural Diamonds.

The cost of a pink diamond ranges from $10,000 per carat for a less intense pink to $700,000 per carat for a deep and intense pink.

What are the features of the Williamson Pink Star diamond?

The Williamson Pink Star diamond is named after two other pink diamonds – the 59.60- carat, mixed-cut, oval Pink Star diamond that was sold in 2017 for $71.2 million and Queen Elizabeth’s 23.60-carat Williamson stone.

The diamond was sold for twice its estimated value. Known for its internal clarity, the Williamson Pink Star diamond has been valued for its journey from a rough stone weighing 32 carats to the finished product weighing 11.15 carats. The diamond has been cut and polished by master cutters from Diacore.

According to a report by The Guardian, Tobias Kormind, the managing director of a London jewellery shop called ’77 Diamonds’ said that the stone’s relation with the Queen has helped elevate its value. He said, “This is an astounding result, proving the resilience of top diamonds in a shaky economy. When you consider an alluring link to Queen Elizabeth, the rising prices for pink diamonds thanks to their increasing rarity, and the backdrop of an unstable global economy.”

What are some other pink diamonds?

Apart from the Williams Pink Star, Pink Star and the Williams diamond, many other pink diamonds have been sold in the past.

In 2021, a 15.81-carat Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink diamond, called ‘The Sakura’ was sold for $29.3 million in Hong Kong.

‘The Grand Mazarin’, a square-shaped Light Pink coloured diamond was sold for $14.6 million dollars in 2017. The diamond was originally given to Louis XIV by Cardinal Mazarin in 1661.

In 2016, a pear-shaped 9.14-carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond was sold for $18 million. The diamond sits between tapered baguette-cut diamond shoulders on platinum. It was certified in the same year by the Geological Institute of America.

With inputs from agencies

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‘Fancy vivid pink’ diamond sold for Rs 410 crore: Why is the jewel so rare and expensive?
‘Fancy vivid pink’ diamond sold for Rs 410 crore: Why is the jewel so rare and expensive?
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