A rare pink diamond sold for $39.3 million at auction on Tuesday. The diamond is one of the largest pink diamonds in existence and was expected to sell for a record price of around $45 million.
Instead, the diamond, called the “Princie,” won second place for a jewel at auction, though it still won the world record price for a Golconda diamond. The highest price ever paid for a diamond was $46.16 million for another rare pink diamond.
The cushion-cut Princie diamond was discovered in the Golconda mines of southern India 300 years ago. It then spent time in the possession of India’s royal family of Hyderabad, who used to rule Mughal province.
Mughals and other Indian royals historically sourced their jewels from the ancient Golconda mines, which are located in Andra Pradesh. Rahul Kadakia, the head of Christie’s jewelry department, explained:
“The most beautiful stones discovered in Golconda were always reserved for kings and rulers as they represented the highest power, which was then magically transferred to the owner.”
Golconda boasts some of the earliest known diamond mines in the world. All four of the world’s top pink diamonds were discovered there. Nizam of Hyderabad sold the Princie diamond in 1960 to the London branch of jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. From there, it was sent to the jeweler’s store in Paris.
The rare pink diamond’s nickname was bestowed during a party at the company’s Paris store. The 14-year-old prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother, Maharani Sita Devi, expressed his fascination for the 34.65-carat jewel. From then on, the diamond was referred to as the Princie.
It is not clear what happened to the rare pink diamond since 1960, as it was not seen again in public until an anonymous seller came forward to offer it at the Christie’s auction on Tuesday. Jewelry sales from Tuesday’s auction totaled about $81 million — the Princie accounting for almost half of the total.
The last diamond from Golconda to be sold at auction was the Archduke Joseph Diamond, which went for $21.5 million, a record price for a colorless diamond.