A 103.38-ct, diamond—billed as the largest ever put up for auction—failed to sell Thursday, Nov. 20, because it fell short of the $8.42 million asking price, The Associated Press reports.
Bidding stopped at $7.65 million for the stone, which had been mesmerizing jewelry dealers and collectors with its size and purity. Its sale was meant to be the climax of Sotheby’s fall auctions of magnificent jewels.
Only three other diamonds of perfect color and purity weighing more than 100 cts. have ever been sold publicly. The most valuable was a 100.1-ct., pear-shaped diamond that fetched $16.5 million in May 1995.
The diamond—which will be named by the buyer—was discovered in the Premier Mine in South Africa. Designing and cutting the rough crystal took place in Johannesburg and New York and took 18 months to complete.
Its classic shape is reminiscent of many famous diamonds, such as the 317.40-ct. “Cullinan II,” presently in the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain; the “Regent” of 140.50 cts., in the Louvre in Paris; and the privately owned “Queen of Holland,” weighing 135.92 cts.
It first went on public display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in September.
The auction wrapped up a week of autumn jewelry sales in Geneva.
On Wednesday, a 478-ct. sapphire larger than a hen’s egg that once belonged to Queen Marie of Romania was sold by rival auctioneer Christie’s for nearly $1.5 million. A 64-ct. diamond fetched more than $4.2 million. A pendant necklace featuring a 47-ct. sapphire with a diamond of almost 27 cts. attached to it sold for more than $2.3 million.