Pink Diamond Pulled from Christie’s Was Allegedly Stolen Property
A 13.15-carat, fancy-vivid-pink diamond withdrawn from a recent Christie’s auction in New York was allegedly part of a scam involving approximately $90 million in jewelry.
The emerald-cut stone, which had an estimate of up to $35 million at the December 6 sale, was suddenly pulled without explanation in the lead-up to the auction. However, court documents unearthed by Court Watch revealed the pink diamond was actually stolen from a wealthy citizen in Doha, Qatar.
An employee of the Qatari resident allegedly dispatched the pink diamond to a US-based individual who advertises himself as a “psychic adviser” online, according to the criminal complaint filed in the Middle District of Florida on November 21. The person also sent two canary-yellow diamonds, a 42-carat white diamond, a necklace bearing approximately 150 diamonds, and other pieces, hoping to “cleanse the jewelry of bad spirits.”
The psychic then allegedly sold the goods to a jeweler, after which the pink diamond ended up at “auction house 1,” where it was recognized by an associate of the original owner, court documents show. The auction house was Christie’s, Rapaport News understands. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security investigating the case requested a private viewing of the diamond, and then “took immediate possession of the stone, as it was readily apparent the diamond was stolen property,” the filing stated.
As to how a stolen diamond made it into a Christie’s sale, a source with knowledge of these matters said that auction houses were diligent about checking provenance, and it was likely the seller had a bill of ownership. The auction house takes in tens of thousands of items a year, and an issue of this nature only happens a “tiny fraction” of the time, the source explained.
“We can confirm that we cooperated with the authorities,” a Christie’s spokesperson told Rapaport News. “But Christie’s does not comment on ongoing investigations to which we are not a party.”
Image: The 13.15-carat pink diamond. (Christie’s)