For a mere $15 to $20 million, you could be the new owner of one of the largest fancy yellow diamonds in the world. On May 13, Sotheby’s of Geneva will auction the 100.9 carat Graff fancy yellow diamond, along with an Egyptian themed sapphire and diamond necklace inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra. The Graff fancy yellow, praised for its brilliant clarity and pure daffodil color, was named after famed diamond collector Laurence Graff of London.
Graff founded Graff Diamonds of England in 1960 and has since acquired several world-renowned jewels, including the Delaire Sunrise, the largest cut fancy yellow diamond in the world at 118.08 carats, and the Peacock Brooch, a peacock with a fanned tail valued at $100 million.
Fancy yellow diamonds are graded and priced based on several different qualifications. Any diamond with natural color is considered more valuable than colorless diamonds, and the more vivid and deep the color, the more rare and expensive the diamond. Yellow diamonds have a wide range of saturation, with fancy vivid, such as the yellow Graff diamond, being the rarest and most valuable.
Yellow diamonds have increased in popularity in the past decade, with fancy vivid yellows selling or auctioning for tens of thousands of dollars. Marilyn Monroe was an avid fan of yellow diamonds, and women of the 21st century have apparently caught onto the trend, preferring colored diamonds to the clear ones that their mothers and grandmothers wore. Heidi Klum’s made a splash when she debuted her yellow fancy vivid engagement from Seal, and in this year’s Oscar nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jordan Belfort, presented his onscreen love, Naomi, with a large fancy vivid yellow engagement ring.
The popularity of yellow diamonds has also been fueled by the emerging market in Asia for the colored gems, pushed by strong campaigns from Tiffany & Co. Once seen as the lesser relations of clear diamonds, yellow diamonds are now among the most purchased types of diamonds in the world, behind uncolored diamonds and pink diamonds. To find one larger than 100 carats that is as clear and vividly yellow as the Graff fancy yellow is especially rare, and it is nearly an assurance that it will go for its appraisal price—or higher.
If the 100 carat Graff Fancy Yellow headed to auction at Sotheby’s meets its appraised value, it will set a new record for fancy vivid yellows; the old record was set last year, when a sun drop diamond—later renamed the Lady Dalai—sold for $12.4 million. The Graff fancy vivid yellow is a full 24 carats larger than the Lady Dalai and is a deeper and more brilliant yellow. The Graff fancy yellow began as a larger, 223.6 carat unshaped yellow diamond and was later cut down to make several smaller pieces, including the one that Graff purchased in the 1980s from a private estate. Whatever the outcome, the auctioning of such exquisite diamonds, affordable only to the most privileged and wealthy, is always newsworthy and exciting.
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