For diamonds admirers and investors alike, Laurence Graff is a superstar on the order of Harry Winston or Warren Buffet. The eponymous Graff Diamonds Company was founded in 1960 and soon became known as one of the premier diamond houses of the world. However, he was principally known only to most rarefied of buyers such as the Sultan of Brunei, Elizabeth Taylor, members of the Royal House of Saud, and an assortment of billionaires.
The Iconic Graff Pink
Since then, the firm has become known for exquisite designs and as a source for some of the most significant stones extant. However, first he came to public notoriety in 2008 by purchasing the Wittelsbach Blue Diamond, once part of the Austrian and Bavarian crown jewels, at what was then the highest price ever paid for diamond at auction.
The Graff Pink, once owned by Harry Winston as a part of his private collection, resided out of the public eye for 60 years before being put up for auction in 2010. Originally estimated to fetch between the USD $27million and $38 million, Laurence Graff purchased the stone at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Sale in Geneva for a record-setting USD $46 million, making it among the most expensive single jewels ever publicly sold. He immediately named the diamond the Graff Pink.
Why this Diamond is So Special
Pink diamonds are among the rarest of stones, and the Graff Pink is a very special stone indeed. You will not find many of them above five carats; indeed, many never achieved gem quality. As purchased, the Type IIa classified stone had a weight of 24.78 carats and a color rating of fancy intense pink by the Gemological Institute of America. Though these stones can be free of impurities, the diamond exhibited 25 natural flaws that Laurence Graff felt could be removed without compromising the integrity of the diamond while also heightening the intensity of the color. While there were tremendous risks re-cutting the stone, with all of his experience, Mr. Graff decided it could be done.
The identities of diamond cutters are closely guarded, as are their secrets. Modern diamond cutting combines the latest technology with millennia-old knowledge, to achieve ever more perfect cuts in order to showcase brilliance of a flawless gem. No one can contest that after the stone was recut there were few superlatives left to describe it. While the stone was trimmed from 24.78 carats down to 23.88 carats, the color was indeed heightened from intense to vivid and the clarity of the stone to internally flawless. At present, there is no way to determine the worth of the stone until it goes to auction and is assigned a starting bid. Unfortunately, just because a diamond receives a high bid, that is no guarantee that the stone will actually be sold. The 59.6 carat Pink Star, originally valued at USD$72 million, received a winning bid of USD$83.2 million only to see the buyer default and Sotheby’s buyback the stone for the sum of USD$60 million. If and when the Graff Pink comes to auction, and there is no guarantee of that, it will be very interesting to see what price it will bring.
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