Auctions

13-Carat Pink Diamond Pulled from Jewelry Auction Allegedly Stolen

AuctionsDec 13, 2022

13-Carat Pink Diamond Pulled from Jewelry Auction Allegedly Stolen

It’s believed to be part of a $90 million scheme perpetrated by a man who billed himself as a psychic online.

This 13-carat pink diamond was withdrawn from a recent jewelry auction at Christie’s, and though no reason was given at the time, reports have emerged that it allegedly was stolen.
New York—A big pink diamond pulled from a recent Christie’s jewelry auction was withdrawn because it was allegedly stolen, recent reports have found. 

Christie’s unveiled the 13.15-carat, VVS1/potentially internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ring in mid-November, billing it as a highlight of the Dec. 6 Magnificent Jewels auction in New York.

It had a pre-sale estimate of between $25 million and $35 million.

Not long after its debut, the diamond was pulled from the auction. Christie’s confirmed the stone’s withdrawal to National Jeweler but did not offer any further explanation or comment.

Recently, reports have been emerging about the diamond’s history and why it was withdrawn.

According to court documents first uncovered by Court Watch, the diamond allegedly was stolen from an unnamed wealthy individual who lives in Doha, Qatar. 

An employee of this individual contacted a man named John Lee, who had advertised himself as a psychic online.

The employee sent Lee some of their jewelry to have it “cleansed of bad spirits.” 

When said employee’s jewelry was returned but they were still experiencing “bad feelings,” Lee encouraged the employee to send him some of the employer’s jewelry for cleansing, court documents state.  

 Related stories will be right here … 

The employee removed jewels from their employer’s safe and sent them to Lee at addresses in Davenport, Florida, and Paramus, New Jersey.

In addition to the large pink diamond, jewels shipped to the “psychic” included an approximately 42-carat white diamond, as well as two large yellow diamonds, according to court documents.

Instead of returning the jewelry, Lee allegedly sold the goods to a jeweler.

The pink diamond then showed up at auction, where it was recognized and eventually identified as a stolen diamond belonging to the wealthy Qatari.

Agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were present at a private viewing in which the diamond was identified and “took immediate possession of the stone, as it was readily apparent the diamond was stolen property,” according to court documents.

Christie’s didn’t respond to National Jeweler’s request for comment on the case by press time but confirmed to Rapaport it had cooperated with the authorities.

According to the court documents, at least 17 gems and jewels valued at more than $90 million have been identified as stolen as part of this alleged psychic’s scheme. 

Lee is being charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen goods. 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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