The ‘Martian Pink’ diamond has sold for US$17.4 million – more than double its estimated selling price – at the Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Auction.
The diamond, the “largest round fancy intense pink diamond” ever to come up for auction, was on sale for the first time in 36 years.
According to Vickie Sek, director and head of jewellery for Christie’s Asia, the diamond “created a sensation” during its worldwide exhibition tour and was subject to “a 10-minute bidding war”.
She said the “extremely rare” 12.04 carat diamond was the property of a private collector who purchased it from Harry Winston in 1976 – the year that the United States launched its first satellite on a mission to Mars.
At the time Ronald Winston said the colour of the diamond was so intense that he named it ‘Martian Pink’ to honour and celebrate the historic event.
There are only two known significant sized round pink diamonds in the world – the Martian Pink and the Williamson Pink (a 23.60-carat pink diamond that was presented to Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her wedding in 1947).
Sek said the Martian Pink carries a pink hue which is “an extraordinary and unique colour expression”.
“While most natural pink diamonds exhibit a colour modifier like purple, orange or grey, the Martian Pink shows absolutely no trace of a secondary colour, making it exceedingly rare.”