The World’s Most Expensive Coloured Diamonds
Unlike white or colourless diamonds that are valued for their absence of colour, natural fancy colour diamonds are prized for their beautiful saturation of colour in every shade you can imagine. From canary yellow to exceptionally rare red, blue and green, we take a look at the top 10 most expensive coloured diamonds in the world. These precious gems come with jaw-dropping price tags and are valued for their remarkable size, rarity and beautiful hues.
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10. Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond ($24.3 million)
The original Wittelsbach Diamond
iscovered in India in the mid-1600s, the original Wittelsbach Diamond weighed more than 35 carats and was once part of the Austrian and Bavarian crown jewels. It was purchased by English jeweller Laurence Graff in 2008 for $24.3 million (R367 million). Graff renamed it the Wittelsbach-Grafflater after removing several flaws as well as four carats of this Fancy Deep Blue Diamond.
9. Zoe Diamond ($32.6 million)
The 9.75-carat Fancy Vivid Blue Zoe Diamond
The 9.75-carat Fancy Vivid Blue Zoe Diamond is one of the most expensive blue diamonds in the world. While many famous and valuable diamonds have a well-known history and date of discovery, the Zoe Diamond remains rather mysterious with not much known about its origins.
The stunning pear-shaped diamond sold at Sotheby’s New York for $32.6 million (R500 million) in November 2014, breaking its estimate of $15 million and setting a record price at the time for a blue diamond (more than $3.3 million per carat). It was purchased by a property tycoon and private collector in Hong Kong, Joseph Lau, who bought it for his daughter Zoe. The Zoe diamond was later knocked off its record-holding podium in 2015 by the Blue Moon Diamond (see below), which is also owned by Lau.
8. The Orange Diamond ($35 million)
Largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond
The 14.82-carat pear-shaped gem, also known as “The Orange”, is the largest Fancy Vivid Orange Diamond to ever appear at an auction. It shattered the world record when it sold for $35 million (R528 million) at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in November 2013 – (R218 million) above its estimate.
7. Graff Pink Diamond ($46 million)
Graff Pink Diamond
Rivaling the Pink Star Diamond (number four on our list) is the 24.78-carat emerald-cut Graff Pink Diamond. This Fancy Intense Pink Diamond was named after its current owner, Laurence Graff, who purchased the diamond for staggering $46 million (R694 million) at Sotheby’s auction in Geneva in 2010.
6. Blue Moon of Josephine Diamond ($48,5 million)
The Blue Moon, named due to its rarity.
The 29.6-carat rough Blue Moon diamond was discovered in January 2014 in the Cullinan mine (the same mine that produced the famous Cullinan Diamond) in South Africa. It took six months to cut and polish into a 12.03-carat flawless cushion-cut diamond. Originally named the Blue Moon (as a tribute to its rarity), this stunning Fancy Vivid Blue diamond was sold for a whopping $48.5m (R732 million) – over $4 million per carat – at the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva in 2015. It was bought by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau who renamed it “The Blue Moon of Josephine” after his 7-year-old daughter. Lau made the purchase the day after he bought a 16.08 carat vivid pink diamond for $28.5 million (R430 million) and renamed it “Sweet Josephine”.
5. Oppenheimer Blue Diamond ($57 million)
Fancy Vivid Blue emerald cut diamond
The 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue Diamond is named after its previous owner, Sir Phillip Oppenheimer. It was auctioned for the incredible price of $57 million (861 million) in 2016 to an anonymous buyer. Following the auction, this Fancy Vivid Blue emerald cut diamond held the title as the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, until it was unseated by the Pink Star Diamond in 2017.
4. Pink Star Diamond ($71 million)
The Pink Star Diamond
The Pink Star Diamond (previously known as the Steinmetz Pink) is considered by many to be the finest pink diamond in the world and is the largest diamond to have been graded a Fancy Vivid Pink. This beautiful gem was mined in 1999 in South Africa and weighed 132.5 carats in its rough form. It took about 20 months to cut and was unveiled in Monaco in May 2003 in a public ceremony.
Its colour and size rank it among the top three in its pink diamond class. The oval-shaped 59.6-carat pink diamond broke the record for the highest price ever paid for a jewel at the 2017 Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong, bringing in an astounding $71 million (R1 billion).
3. Hope Diamond ($250 million)
One of the most famous and notorious diamonds in the world.
As one of the most famous and notorious diamonds in the world, the stunning Hope Diamond is as beautiful as it is valuable. It carries a long history of mystery and fascinating tales, as the diamond is rumoured to be cursed.
Believed to have been discovered in India in the 1600s, the 45.52-carat blue-grey Hope Diamond is currently housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, amid high security. The diamond is considered to be the second-most visited piece of art in the world (behind the “Mona Lisa”). As the third most expensive coloured diamond in the world, the Hope Diamond is valued at a staggering $250 million (R3,7 billion).
2. Ocean Dream Diamond (Value Unknown)
Ocean Dream Diamond
Discovered in central Africa, the Ocean Dream Diamond is the first and only natural diamond known to possess a blue-green hue. Despite its relatively small size (5.50 carats), this one-of-a-kind diamond is one of the rarest in the world with an unknown value. Its extraordinary and unique colour is believed to have resulted from exposure to natural radiation over millions of years. Cut into a triangular brilliant (or trillion-cut) diamond, the Ocean Dream is currently owned by the Cora Diamond Corporation and was displayed in 2003 as part of the Smithsonian’s “The Splendor of Diamonds” exhibit, alongside other famous diamonds.
1. Spirit of de Grisogono Diamond (value unknown)
The largest cut black diamond in the world
The 312.24-carat Spirit of de Grisogono is the largest cut black diamond in the world as well as the fifth largest diamond before it was cut. Mined several decades ago in Africa, it weighed in at an astounding 587 carats in its rough form. It was eventually set by Swiss jeweler, De Grisogono, in a white gold mounting and surrounded by 702 white diamonds, totally 36.69 carats. Its value has not been disclosed.
Other Valuable Coloured Diamonds
Polished round brilliant cut diamonds
The list doesn’t end here. Other extremely valuable coloured diamonds include the Pumpkin Diamond ($3 million), the Moussaieff Red Diamond ($7 million), the de Grisogono Green Diamond ($7.3 million), the yellow Sun-Drop Diamond ($10.9 million) 10 Heart of Eternity Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond ($16 million), Graff Vivid Yellow Diamond ($16.3 million) and the Incomparable Diamond ($20 million).
Book a tour at the Cape Town Diamond Museum and learn more about the fascinating world of diamonds. You also have the unique opportunity to see life-size replicas of some of the world’s most famous diamonds on display. The museum is open seven days a week, from 9am to 9pm, at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.