Nov 20, 2015

How Natural Fancy Color Diamonds Get Passed Down

By   ghwaccess   |   Tags: , , , ,   |   Category: The Guildhall Color Diamond Advisor, Trending


In May 2015, an 8.72 carat, “extremely rare” fancy vivid pink diamond belonging to Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, niece of French Emperor Napoleon I, sold for $15.9 million at Sotheby’s spring Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels auction in Geneva. The stone, known as “The Historic Pink”, mounted on a ring is prized for its classic non-modified cushion cut which is quite rare to see, but the history is just as interesting.  The stone was stored in a bank vault since the 1940’s and possesses a formidable history of owners.


As stated above, The Princess was the niece of Napoleon I, but also a relative of King George III and the Tsar Alexander of Russia.  When Mathilde died in 1904, the pink diamond went to auction in Paris, along with her other jewels and was acquired by William Andrews Clark Sr., a US senator, industrialist and entrepreneur.  In 1925, the diamond was passed down to his daughter Huguette Marcelle Clark.

Huguette M. Clark was one of the last heiresses of America’s Gilded Age and a recluse with no heirs.  She died in May 2011 but had vaulted her prized possessions years earlier, in the safe of a bank in the 1940’s.

Clark’s collection of 12 lots (including jewelry, a clock, and picture frames) went to Christie’s New York for auction.  Huguette Clark’s name was splashed across major global media outlets in 2012 when her 9 Carat Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink, Cushion Cut Diamond aptly named “The Clark Pink” sold for a record $15.7 Million USD.  Estimated to fetch $6-$8 million the diamond went for double the pre-estimate and set a record as “the most valuable pink diamond ever sold in the United States at auction” according to Christie’s.


Three years later, one of Clark’s Pink diamonds surfaced at Sotheby’s Geneva known as “Princess Mathilde’s Pink Diamond”.

Princess Mathilde’s Pink Diamond is an example of how a diamond of such beauty and rarity remained within aristocratic families for years being passed down from generation to generation.

When there are no heirs left, stones of such size and rarity usually end up at the finest auction houses being Sotheby’s and Christie’s for there is no one else to pass these diamonds down to; no beneficiaries or relatives – just the estate.


Keeping jewelry within a family is a time honored tradition in many families.  When you purchase a Natural Fancy Color Diamond, consider your loved ones.  Are you planning on keeping it within your family as a store of wealth and as a precious family heirloom for future generations?