Largest white diamond sold at auction dwarfs ‘Red Cross diamond’

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The 228.31 carat White Rock Diamond, the largest ever sold at auction, sold on Thursday for 18.6 million Swiss francs (17.8 million euros), far from a record in its category. The “Red Cross Diamond” eclipsed everyone and the sale ended in a duel in increments of 50,000 Swiss francs.

He had to make sparks. But The Rock, a 228.31-carat white diamond and the largest ever sold at auction, is far from hitting a record high in its category, despite a final price of almost 21 million euros.

The “Red Cross Diamond” stole the show, no doubt thanks to the fact that a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to the International Committee of the Red Cross as the war in Ukraine once again bathes the Old Continent in blood.

Several bidders fought furiously for this canary yellow diamond for ten long minutes, and the sale ended in a duel in CHF 50,000 increments. It was sold for 13.5 million euros (14.1 million Swiss francs), which exceeded all expectations.

“It’s perfectly symmetrical”

Auctioneer Rahul Kadakia, international director of jewelry at Christie’s in charge of selling The Rock, lowered his hammer to 18.6 million Swiss francs (17.8 million euros) after just a few minutes of bidding to applause. in spite of everything, in the full hall of the Geneva Palace.

The diamond was valued at $20 million to $30 million (€19 million to €28.4 million). Its final price, including the buyer’s premium (commission), is 20.7 million euros.

But Rahul Kadakia said he was not disappointed, as The Rock has set “a new price-per-carat record for a G-colored diamond,” with a white diamond color grade ranging from D to Z.

The gem, whose seller is from North America but who wished to remain anonymous, was well placed to entice collectors and investors. “It’s a really exceptional pear-shaped diamond” and “it’s perfectly symmetrical,” Max Fawcett, head of jewelry at Christie’s in Geneva, explained before the sale. According to the expert, there are only “a handful” of such diamonds.

The latest record for a similar white diamond (163.41 carats) fetched $33.7 million (buyer’s premium price) – or $206,236 per carat – at auction in November 2017 in Geneva. According to Christie’s, this is a record for all auction houses combined.

The “rock” is 3.1 cm wide and 5.4 cm long, taller than a golf ball and weighs (61.3 grams) more than a tennis ball. Mined from a mine in South Africa in the early 2000s, it was sold at auction by Christie’s to a private collector.

Seven Figure Donation to the Red Cross

The Red Cross Diamond, a 205.07 carat canary yellow diamond, made a splash. The original gemstone was mined in 1901 in a South African De Beers mine and, according to Christie’s, weighed about 375 carats. In addition to being among the largest diamonds in the world, the stone’s striking feature is its pavilion, which is naturally cut in the shape of a Maltese cross.

On April 10, 1918, the stone was first put up for sale at Christie’s in London by the Diamond Syndicate for the benefit of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. Malta). At the time, the diamond was sold for £10,000 (about £600,000 today, or over €700,000). It was bought by the famous London jeweler S. J. Phillips. On November 21, 1973, it was put up for sale again at Christie’s in Geneva for 1.8 million francs.

“We are very pleased that we were able to place it in another private collection and that the consignees of the Red Cross Diamond will make a seven-figure donation to the International Committee of the Red Cross,” said Rahul Kadakia.

The seller wished to remain anonymous, but released the following statement: “For almost half a century, our family has been privileged to hold the Red Cross Diamond. (…) At this auspicious moment in history, we honor the call of others before us.”

With AFP