An auction in the Royal Ontario Museum coming up next month will feature a 50 carat diamond worth around ten million dollars.
The diamond’s owner, described only as “a Belgian hotelier,” needed to raise some money because of the softening economy, said Khan.
“He had it for a while primarily as an investment. . . . It’s literally been in a safe for about 10 years,” said Khan, the managing director of Ritchies Auctioneers, who are handling the sale.
Many of the other items in the auction are also available at possible bargain prices due to the economic financial crisis sweeping the U.S. and Europe, said Khan.
“A lot of it came from the U.S., from bankruptcies and store closures,” said Khan, who was a part owner of Circa Auctions and which last year sold off a rare pink diamond for a Canadian-record $2.3 million. Although the round diamond on offer next month could go for as much as $10 million in a retail store, Khan expects it to fetch $4 – $4.5 million at auction. (Before last year’s auction, the pink diamond had been valued at $8-$12 million.)
“We’re liquidating. This is a quick sale,” said Khan.
The first time he saw the round stone Khan says he stared at it for 10 minutes. “I was actually stunned. It was so lively and brilliant,” said Khan.
Even the veteran gemologist Helmut Koenig was impressed by the shimmering, giant stone, w unveiled at a press conference recently.
“I’ve never dealt with a diamond like this before,’ said Koenig, Ritchies’ lead gemologist. Koenig’s best guess is that the diamond was mined in South Africa, but admits he doesn’t know for sure. “What’s exciting is to have it come to Toronto. This is something you’d be more likely to see in Dubai or Hong Kong.”