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The Most Expensive Jewel Ever Sold

Updated on April 12, 2011
The Graff Pink
The Graff Pink
The Graff Pink at different angles
The Graff Pink at different angles

The Graff Pink

On November 16, 2010, the most expensive jewel ever sold was purchased at Sotheby’s, Geneva, by Laurence Graff. This London jewelry dealer took claim to the flawless pink gem by phone, for a whopping $45.6 million.

The Graff pink is an exceptionally stunning fancy colored diamond that deserves to be placed in a category of its own. It has been described as “one of the greatest diamonds ever discovered”. The Gemological Institute of America has classified this gem as “fancy intense pink”- the most perfect color rating for pink diamonds. The stone’s rare, perfect pink color is thought to have been caused by its absorption of light in an unusual way when it was formed deep inside the earth over millions of years.

The Graff Pink has also been assessed as a type IIa diamond- less than 2% of the world’s diamonds are assessed as type IIa.

Mounted on a silver ring with two flanking shield-shaped diamonds, the emerald cut 24.76- carat stone was sold by a private collector. The early history of the stone is not clear, but it remained out of the sight of the open market for 60 years- since celebrity jeweler Harry Winston purchased it in the 1950’s.

Shortly after his 2010 purchase, Graff named the diamond “The Graff Pink”. Graff previously paid 16.4 million pounds for the 35.56-carat grayish-blue “Wittelsbach Diamond” at Christie’s International in London in December 2008. Until the purchase of the Graff Pink, the Wittelsbach Diamond was the highest auctioned gem of all time.

Laurence Graff
Laurence Graff

Laurence Graff- present owner of The Graff Pink

Laurence Graff is a Jewish English jeweler who has purchased and sold some of the most famous stones in the world.

Born and raised in London, Graff started a very small gem business at the tender age of 17. This business slowly expanded as Graff’s knowledge of, and fascination with diamonds grew. By the 1970’s he ventured into retail business and was selling diamonds to very wealthy Arabs and Royal families.

In 1973, Graff became the first jeweler to be presented with the Queen’s Award to Industry and Import. Graff went on to win this very award on three more occasions. Today, Graff is one of the best known suppliers of unique jewelry and rare jewels to the wealthy.

Graff is also Britain’s richest living art buyer. In October of 2010 he splashed $24.1m in New York on two of Warhol’s best works - Elvis and Campbell’s Soup Can.

Laurence Graff owns five luxurious homes in England, France, Switzerland and New York. He is also the owner of a private jet that reaches Tokyo from London non-stop, a Mediterranean yacht, his own diamond mine outside Johannesburg and half a dozen properties in Mayfair. Graff has many famous clients including Donald Trump and many royal families around the world.
Graff is the founder and Chairman of Graff Diamonds- an extraordinary company known for its top global diamond jewelry brand.

Entrance to Graff Diamonds, London.
Entrance to Graff Diamonds, London.

Graff Diamonds

Graff Diamonds is one of the most highly acclaimed diamond companies in the world- they are known for their rare and fine quality diamonds that they cut and manufacture.

Graff Diamonds has 26 boutiques located throughout the world. The Graff diamonds headquarters is located in London, but manufacturing operations for this company take place in Johannesburg, Antwerp, New York and Botswana.

Tens of thousands of diamonds are cut and polished by Graff Diamonds annually. Some of the rarest diamonds of the world that have been handled by Graff Diamonds include:

  • The Idol's Eye,
  • The Emperor Maximillian
  • The Porter Rhodes
  • The Windsor Diamonds
  • The Hope of Africa
  • The Begum Blue
  • The Paragon
  • The Star of America
  • The Golden Star
  • The Wittelsbach-Graff
  • The Lesotho Promise
  • The Delaire Sunrise
  • The Graff Constellation
  • The Graff Pink


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