The ‘Pink Star’ diamond, sold at Sotheby’s in 2017 for $71m. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
The ‘Pink Star’ diamond, sold at Sotheby’s in 2017 for $71m. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Moscow/London — A 14.83-carat pink gem found and cut by Alrosa is expected to fetch one of the highest prices ever for a diamond when the Russian company puts it up for sale later this year.

The oval stone, named The Spirit of the Rose, has been certified by the Gemological Institute of America as fancy, vivid purple-pink with excellent clarity, excellent polish and very good symmetry, said Alrosa spokesperson Evgeniya Kozenko, adding that the sale is planned for November.

Coloured diamonds, formed by impurities such as boron or nitrogen, are the most expensive and rarest, with pink and red stones fetching the highest prices. The Spirit of the Rose may be one of the most expensive pink stones ever, according to Eden Rachminov, the chair of the Fancy Color Research Foundation.

He estimates the potential price at between $60m and $65m.

Sotheby’s set the record for any gem ever sold at an auction in 2017, with its $71m sale of the 59.6-carat Pink Star to Hong Kong-based jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery group. The stone was mined by De Beers, and dethroned the Oppenheimer Blue, which fetched $58m in an earlier sale at Christie’s.

Kozenko declined to comment on how much Alrosa hopes to raise from the sale, but said that The Spirit of the Rose will be the most expensive stone ever polished in Russia. The company is still considering how to conduct the sale, with a decision expected next month, she said.

It’s a good time for a sale, as pink stones are about to get even rarer after Rio Tinto Group confirmed earlier this year that it is  shutting its giant Argyle operation in Australia. The mine produces about 90% of the world’s pink gems.

Alrosa found the 27.85-carat rough stone at its alluvial mines in Russia’s far east in 2017 and named it Nijinsky, after ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. The preparation and cutting process, which took a full year, was done at Alrosa’s cutting factory in Moscow.

The Spirit of the Rose was named for the ballet Le Spectre de la Rose, staged by the Ballets Russes company, which premiered in 1911 and in which Nijinsky was the star.

Bloomberg