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Rare Red Diamond Fails To Sell

Rare Red Diamond Fails To Sell

Sotheby's Australia was anticipating great things in their first stand-alone jewelry auction. Among their many beautiful pieces was a bit of national pride, an extremely rare purplish-red diamond from its own Rio Tinto Argyle Mine. Red diamonds are unique to this location, and only a few are produced each year, so expectations were high for this one. With a reserve set at $700,000 and an estimate of $700,000-$1 million, the buyers were less enthusiastic. There was a lot of interest in this rare piece, a 0.82-carat fancy purplish-red round brilliant set between two blue diamonds and encircled by white and the diamond industry as a whole took note that this stone was going up for auction. In 2004, a 0.91-carat red diamond brought in over $1 million at a Hong Kong auction. Sotheby's began receiving calls from interested parties in both Asia and North America, but reserve seemed to put them off. This is unusual, as the higher-ticket, ultra-luxury items still have a strong market, but bidding never went above $445,000. The auction included over 250 lots, of which the red diamond was the star attraction. Among the items which sold were jewels by Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., Paspaley South Sea Pearls, and Cartier. Also for sale were watches from both Cartier and Rolex, and loose diamonds—all GIA-certified—in white, pink, and yellow. Had the red diamond sold, it would have broken the previous record for any piece of jewelry sold at auction in Australia. The honor is still held by a 5.35-carat un-mounted brilliant-cut white diamond, which sold for $456,000 at Sotheby's in 2007. The diamond may still be sold as a private sale, or could be held by the owner until the market is more seller-friendly.





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