Christie’s will sell the 126.76 ct. D-color internally flawless Light of Peace diamond at its Magnificent Jewels auction in New York City on June 7.
The famed pear brilliant-cut diamond Type IIa gem carries a $10 million to $15 million estimate, but is being sold without a reserve.
Formerly known as the Zale Light of Peace, the diamond was previously owned by Zale Corp. of Dallas, which purchased it in 1970.
The diamond was cut from a 435 ct. piece of rough, according to a New York Times article, which pinpointed its origin as from West Africa. Its purchase from an Antwerp dealer was a point of pride for Zale, and the Light of Peace—the largest diamond to be cut from that rough—sometimes adorned the cover of the company’s annual reports.
“It was no ordinary diamond,” the chain’s founder Morris (M.B.) Zale said, according to a 1984 North Texas State University dissertation, which quoted company documents. “It was a responsibility.”
According to Christie’s, Zale Corp. would arrange showings of the diamond—then the second largest pear-shape in the world—and use the proceeds to establish a foundation to support peace, administered by former United Nations ambassador and Supreme Court justice Arthur Goldberg.
“It is time for private industry to take a more active role in promoting peace, a job that has traditionally been left exclusively to government,” Zale said, according to the dissertation.
In 1982, Zale Corp. sold the diamond at a pretax gain of $8.7 million to an unnamed buyer, an SEC filing said.
While Christie’s did not name the diamond’s current owner, the auction house said the owner wanted to continue the gem’s charitable legacy, and a portion of its sale’s proceeds will be donated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
(Photo: Steven DeVilbiss/courtesy of Christie’s)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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