Most expensive engagement ring in the world

Written by: Hagai Bichman

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Time to read 10 min

While prices fluctuate based on market conditions,

conditions, the title of Most expensive engagement ring in the world ever publicly sold is currently held by the opulent "Winston Blue" ring,

Which fetched an astounding $57.2 million at a Christie's Geneva auction in 2022...

What is considered the most expensive engagement diamond ring ever sold ?

While prices fluctuate based on market conditions, the title of most expensive engagement diamond ring ever publicly sold is currently held by the opulent "Winston Blue" ring, which fetched an astounding $57.2 million at a Christie's Geneva auction in 2022.

This show-stopping ring features an internally flawless, fancy vivid blue diamond weighing a remarkable 13.22 carats. It set a new world record price-per-carat for any engagement diamond ring sold at $4.35 million per carat. The mesmerizing blue color tone is also categorized as "vivid" putting it in the absolute highest echelon for saturation and intensity of hue.

The exquisite cushion-cut center stone was originally mined in one of the famed Cullinan mines near Pretoria, South Africa in the 1980s before being painstakingly crafted into a certified masterstroke of modern diamond-cutting design. It's flanked by two smaller baguette white diamonds in a sleek platinum setting on a simple pavé band.

However, beyond just color and clarity, much of this engagement ring's record price stems from its direct connection to the legendary House of Winston. As one of the world's most prestigious and renowned diamante, any major stone from the Winston collection carries an impeccable pedigree that enhances desirability for collectors.

The $57 million price tag surpassed the previous public record for an engagement ring set by the $32.67 million Wittelsbach Blue sale in 2008. However, some private sales and crown jewel pieces likely exceed this public auction record for an "engagement" style diamond ring behind closed doors among billionaire collectors.

Nevertheless, the Winston Blue unified exceptional rarity of natural color, world-class size over 10 carats, pristine clarity, and the brand legacy prestige of the House of Winston into one definitive, show-stopping engagement diamond ring unlike any other. For now, its price attained rare air unmatched publicly on the modern market.

What makes certain engagement diamond rings so extraordinarily valuable ?

While all diamond engagement rings hold sentimental pricelessness, certain specimens achieve extraordinary objective valuable through an intersection of key attributes. These elements span diamond quality, overall size, rarity, craftsmanship and design provenance.

First and foremost, the diamond(s) within an ultra-valuable engagement ring must rank among the highest quality based on criteria like color, clarity, cut quality, carat weight, and fluorescence. For colorless diamonds, attaining a D-F color grade and Flawless or Internally Flawless clarity elevates the price exponentially vs. lower grades due to scarcity of material.

More importantly, fancy colored diamonds like pinks, blues, greens, or even red push value into the stratosphere. Their incredibly rare hues combined with optimized large sizes represent the ultimate convergence for a center stone.

Size itself is another key driver, with diamonds over 5 carats achieving premium pricing, and those over 10 carats exponentially more valuable due to scarcity. Extremely large specimens over 20 carats make up less than 1% of all diamonds ever faceted.

Cut precision further enhances quality. Engagement rings highlighting ideal proportions, symmetry, and light refraction command maximum price. Universal certification by respected labs like GIA proves diamond quality bona fides.

Beyond the center gem(s), design and materials also impact value. Exquisite artistry with precious metals and side stones, alongside iconic branded provenance from jewelry houses like Graff, Cartier, Bvlgari or Harry Winston justifies higher prices.

Exclusive collections, limited editions, and unique concept designs or motifs can further differentiate high end rings from mass production. And historical significance or origin narratives add intangible value as with crown jewels or celebrity ownership.

So in summary, to achieve ultra-elite pricing, all the aligned attributes must converge - large carat weights, natural origin, top certifications, optimized cut quality, historical provenance and branded design artistry folded into one impeccable, singular engagement diamond ring to transcend the ordinary.

What are some historical examples of record-setting expensive engagement rings ?

Over the past century, a handful of exceptionally rare and exquisite diamond rings have set successive record-breaking prices at auction for engagement ring sales. These historic jewels represent the absolute pinnacle of diamond quality, size, craftsmanship and artistic design converging into singular, ultra-valuable packages.

The Oppenheimer Blue This legendary 14.62 carat fancy vivid blue diamond stunned in 2016 when it sold for over $57.5 million through Christie's Geneva auction, setting a price-per-carat record. The emerald-cut gem's exceptional color saturation, clarity and cushion-cut presentation elevated this engagement ring into the record books.

The Winston Blue Diamond Ring
Surpassing the Oppenheimer record in 2022 at $57.7 million, the "Winston Blue" is an internally flawless 13.22 carat fancy vivid blue cushion diamond showcasing the premier color vividness with Harry Winston's iconic provenance. Its $4.35 million per carat set a new overall engagement ring record.

A 51.53 Carat Diamond Ring Set While not an established record, this triple-stone ring with a massive 51.53 carat center diamond flanked by two 14 carat white side diamonds commanded over $9.6 million at a Christie's Geneva sale in 2015. Its immense total carat weight of over 80 carats made it a record contender just for sheer size.

The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
This historic fancy grayish-blue diamond has origins dating back to the 17th century Bavarian royal family. The 31.06 carat stone set a price-per-carat record when Laurence Graff paid over $23.4 million for it in 2008 before resetting it as an engagement ring centerpiece.

The "Perfect Pink" Diamond Ring In 2010, a Fancy Vivid pink diamond ring weighing a rare 14.23 carats achieved $23.2 million at a Sotheby's Hong Kong sale, setting records for a vivid pink diamond ring due to its unprecedented size at such an intense pink color saturation.

These iconic rings all set records not only for astronomical prices, but for coalescing legendary colored diamonds of immense quality, size, and historic provenance into singular engagement ring designs. Such remarkable convergence commands value matched only by uniqueness.

How do the world's priciest engagement rings compare in diamond size and quality ?

For engagement rings to scale the uppermost heights of valuation, the center diamond or diamonds typically must excel across multiple intertwined sizing and quality criteria. Examining the specifics behind some of the world's most expensive reveals how these criteria converge into record-setting prices.

Sheer Carat Size Massive diamond weights are foundational to many record-holders. The famed "Perfect Pink" ring featured an incredibly rare 14.23 carat Fancy Vivid pink diamond. The Oppenheimer Blue combined 14.62 carats with its blue hue. Midrange but still sizeable is the 13.22 carat Winston Blue.

Oversized examples stretch even further - the $9.6M Diamond Ring Set united diamonds weighing over 80 total carats with a 51.53 carat principal stone. Diamond weights this immense across 10+ carats are exponentially more rare.

Diamond Rarity Yet rarities of color and clarity prove equally crucial value drivers. The fancy colored Pinks, Blues, and rare Wittelsbach-Graff's Gray-Blue diamonds unlocked access to exclusive top pricing echelons inaccessible for white diamonds. Colored varieties, especially those saturated as "Fancy Vivid" command astronomical premiums versus white examples.

Meanwhile clarity of Internally Flawless (IF) and Flawless (FL) grades like seen in the Oppenheimer and Winston Blues allows maximum brilliance - alongside certifications confirming the intrinsic rarity of these blemish-free specimens.

Cut Quality Superior cuts and polish optimizing fire, scintillation and overall beauty are also hallmarks - the Oppenheimer's emerald cut, the Perfect Pink's modified rectangular brilliant cut, and the Winston Blue's proportions of a cushion cut all met idealized optical symmetry standards.

Supporting Side Stones Finally strategic use of supporting side stones can encase massive center diamonds while supplementing radiance and size perception. The $9.6M Diamond Ring Set's triple diamond design magnified its 80+ carat aura.

So in summary, the most valuable engagement rings check all boxes - rarity in color or clarity, massive singular diamond weights over 10+ carats, optimal cut quality like ideal cushion proportions, and sometimes multiple diamond designs to visually scale impact. Converging these factors catapults valuation.

What styles and settings characterize the highest valued engagement diamond rings ?

While exceptionally valuable, the style profiles of the world's most expensive engagement rings tend to differ somewhat from mainstream bridal trends. Rather than emphasizing traditional solitaire or side stone halo settings, these ultra-rare masterpieces often showcase innovative designs highlighting impeccable large diamonds with artistic metalwork and custom settings.

One common theme across many record-setters is the prominence and centering around one singular extraordinary diamond, typically over 10 carats in weight and possessing superior color, clarity and cut symmetry. The fancy vivid colored diamonds like the Oppenheimer Blue, Winston Blue and Perfect Pink rings exemplify this.

Their respective settings - a emerald cut, cushion cut and modified rectangular brilliant - showcase careful consideration for ideal light performance from immense principal stones. Minimal flanking accent stones preserve the center diamond as the unequivocal star attraction.

Three stone engagement rings, with one major center diamond flanked by two smaller yet still significant side stones, have also earned records. The $9.6M "Triple Diamond Set" ring united over 80 total carats in this classic trilogy style. However, rings like these use substantial side stones strategically to amplify the visual impact rather than traditional accents.

Designers for highest level rings frequently favor simple, elegant and modernist styles over ornate vintage motifs on surrounding bands and baskets. Sleek precious metal bands and discrete pave diamond accents or cathedral designs provide complementary elegance without distracting from the central diamond(s).

At the same time, a minority of record-holders like the famous Wittelsbach-Graff have embraced intricate diamond-encrusted floral halos and openwork designs incorporating centuries of artistic lineage and craftsmanship. Royal connections elevate cultural and historical significance in these cases.

So while diversity exists across elite engagement ring styles and settings, many share an unobstructed centering on one revered diamond or clustered diamonds staged with minimalist brilliance. The elemental artistry emerges from geometric perfection of cut quality over excess embellishment, amplifying each ring's deserved reputation as an investment-grade showpiece of gemological and precious metal mastery.

How have auction prices for rare colored diamond engagement rings escalated over time ?

Over the past several decades, auction prices for rare colored diamond engagement rings have exhibited an almost parabolic rise driven by exponentially growing demand from collectors, newly wealthy buyers abroad, increased gemological understanding, and long-term supply constraints. Price records have repeatedly fallen even for the world's most elite gemstones.

The 1980s marked somewhat of an inflection point as auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's began heavily promoting fancy colored diamonds alongside traditional white diamond jewelry sales. The first recognized "million dollar per carat" sale occurred in 1987 for a 0.95 carat purplish-red Hancock diamond.

Yet compared to today's levels, even top prices hovered under $1 million total, such as the $962,000 paid in 1987 for the 18.24 carat Huai Batonga red diamond ring. So while pioneering new high ground, seven figure sales remained semi-novel events.

The 1990s saw broader appreciation spark, with iconic vivid pink diamond rings capturing mainstream attention. The stunning 16.08 carat Worden Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond Ring commanded $6.9 million in 1996 - a major milestone.

By the 2000s decade, prices accelerated sharply alongside growing global wealth concentrated in areas like Russia, China and the Middle East. Scarcity of rare colored gems met endless high net worth appetite for trophy jewels. The 35.56 carat Wittelsbach-Graff Fancy Deep Greyish Blue Diamond ring achieved $24.3 million in 2008, setting new world auction records.

This upswing only intensified further in subsequent years. In 2015, the fancy vivid blue 12.03 carat "Blue Moon" sold for $48.5 million at Sotheby's. The $57.5 million Oppenheimer emerald cut vivid blue followed barely a year later.

Most recently, the $71 million 2022 sale of the 59.6 carat "Winston Legacy Pink" affirmed how even marginally larger sizes and certified color ratings can translate into exponentially higher price tags versus equivalent vintage rings from past decades.

So over the past 35 years, colored diamond rings once considered "priceless" rarities evolved into multi-million dollar auction commodities. And each new decade witnessed multiple record-shattering events as more collectors sought elite gemological prizes, amplifying the scarcity premium.

What roles do fancy shapes and branded collections play in record engagement ring values ?

In addition to the essential criteria like diamond carat size, color, and clarity, specific fancy diamond shapes and branded designer collections add further value premiums that often push record-setting engagement rings into the stratosphere.

Fancy Shapes While the classic round brilliant remains the most popular and sought-after shape overall, elongated fancy cuts like cushion, oval, radiant and pear frequently earn record prices in the colored diamond category. Their concentrated dimensions showcase intense color saturation while eliciting visual perceptions of size beyond actual carat weight.

Specifically, cushion and oval cuts have earned praise and top prices in recent years due to their versatility balancing color exhibition with preserving critical dimensions and weight during cutting. The $71 million Winston Legacy Pink was a rare fancy vivid 59.6 carat oval, while the recently sold $48.4 million "Rock" ring featured an oval 30 carat fancy intense pink.

Antique shapes like the Oppenheimer Blue's superb 14.62 carat emerald cut or the Wittelsbach's 31 carat antique cushion also demonstrate an ability to optimize historic stones' original essence.

Branded Design Provenance Modern and historic jewelry houses with distinguished legacies in sourcing rare colored diamonds also command immense price premiums that produce record-setting values for scarce rings. Names like Graff, Cartier, Harry Winston, and Van Cleef & Arpels are synonymous with the world's elite colored diamond curation.

Harry Winston headlined the $71 million namesake pink oval, but also held the prior $57.6 million "Winston Blue" record before that. Graff's handling of the hallowed $24.3 million Wittelsbach-Graff ring underscored their provenance. And Cartier iconically purchased and set the historic $6.7 million Cartier Sunrise Ruby in 1955.

Beyond elite brand legacies, limited edition branded collections also elevate prices and stoke rarity narratives. For example, Graff's "Once in a Lifetime" collection featured rare colored diamond rings like the $8.6 million vivid yellow diamond Trophy Ring issued in a single numbered edition.

So while quality characteristics will always dictate primary colored diamond valuations, secondary factors like elongated fancy shapes ideally suited to colors alongside iconic designer branding and limited edition releases generate compounding value premiums that distinguish true record-setters from peers. Brand stories and renowned cutters behind record rings prove almost as coveted as the diamonds inside.