The largest white diamond ever auctioned for 21,681,000 Swiss francs ($21.9 million) at Christie’s in Geneva.
The 228.31-carat pear-shaped gem – dubbed “the rock” – originated from South Africa, where some of the world’s largest diamonds have been found, including the pear-shaped “Star of Africa” and the pink cushion-cut “Golden Jubilee” .”
The “rock” is about the size of a golf ball and was once worn by its previous owner as a luxury Cartier necklace. Besides the pear-shaped stone, the new owner will also receive a round diamond and platinum necklace from the French luxury brand.
Ahead of the sale, Max Faust, Head of Christie’s Jewelery in Geneva, explained why the “rock” is a particularly unique stone.
A white diamond of 228.31 carats is called “The Rock”. credit: Dennis Balibos/Reuters
Despite its greatness, the hammer price for “The Rock” didn’t live up to its low estimate during Wednesday’s fast-paced bidding period. The auction house had given the diamond a higher estimate of 30,000,000 Swiss francs ($30.2 million). In 2017, an intricate emerald and diamond necklace from luxury Swiss jewelry company de Grisogono, which included a 163.41-carat rectangular diamond, set the record for selling white diamonds at CHF33,500,000 (US$33.8 million).
But other pieces in the sale of “wonderful gems” smashed expectations, including a sapphire, sapphire and diamond brooch made by Cartier in the 1940s, which sold for CHF579,600 ($585,000) – more than 11 times its top estimate – and the 19th century. . The Crown of Diamonds and Pearls, which sold for more than triple their high estimates at 2,394,000 Swiss francs ($2.4 million).
The last lot was about the size of a “rock” diamond – a 205.07-carat yellow cushion-shaped stone called “The Red Cross Diamond”. The gem was sold for 14,181,250 Swiss francs ($14.3 million), a portion of which will be donated to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross. The diamonds were first sold at Christie’s more than a century ago to help the British Red Cross during World War I, and the diamonds have been estimated to sell for between $7 million and $10 million, according to Fawcett.