When the Hope Spinel—a rare 50.13-carat, rose-hued gemstone that was once part of a collection owned by British collector Henry Philip Hope—crossed the auction block for the first time in nearly a century, it sparked an international bidding war. Mined from the ancient Kuh-i-Lal mines in Tajikistan, the Hope Spinel was classified by the Swiss Gemological Institute as an “exceptional treasure” due to its transparency, flawless cut, color, and size. Shattering its presale estimate of $300,000, and setting a world record in the process, the illustrious gem sold for nearly five times as much.
Auctioned by Bonhams during a September 24 sale in London, the Hope Spinel inspired bids from around the globe—online, in person, and via telephone. The gem was ultimately purchased by a private telephone bidder for $1.4 million—or $30,000 per carat. The previous record per carat for a spinel was set by Christie’s Hong Kong in 2013 when a 7.07-carat spinel and diamond ring sold for $113,413—or $16,041 per carat. (bonhams.com)