Largest white diamond sold at auction is far from a record

posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 at 7:51 pm.

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 nearly 21 million euros.

The Red Cross Diamond steals the show, no doubt thanks to the fact that part of the proceeds from the sale will go to the International Committee of the Red Cross at a time when the war in Ukraine is once again bloody on the Old Continent.

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

Auctioneer Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s international director of jewelry in charge of selling The Rock, lowered his gavel to CHF 18.6m (€17.8m) just minutes into the auction, to applause against the odds, in a crowded packed hall of the Geneva Palace.

It was estimated at between $20 million and $30 million (€19 million to €28.4 million). Its final price, including the buyer’s premium (commission), is 20.7 million euros.

But Mr. Kadakia told AFP he was not disappointed as The Rock set “a new price-per-carat record for a G-colored diamond,” the color grading scale for white diamonds from D to Z.

The gem, whose North American seller but unnamed, 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, told AFP ahead of 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 (price including buyer’s premium) or $206,236 per carat at auction in November 2017 in Geneva. According to Christies, 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.

– Diamond of the Red Cross –

The Red Cross Diamond, a 205.07 carat canary yellow diamond, caused a stir.

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 one of 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 (around £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,” Kadakia said.

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 that others have made. in front of us.”