On Wednesday, the largest white diamond ever to come for auction—a 228.31 ct. G VS1 pear-shape it dubbed The Rock—didn’t set any records at the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva.
The gem (pictured), mined and polished in South Africa more than two decades ago, did fetch a still-impressive $21.9 million, or $96,000 a carat—which was at the low end of its $19 million–$30 million estimate. It was sold accompanied by a letter from the GIA stating it’s the largest existing D–Z color pear-shape diamond the lab has ever graded.
The auction was unusual, as it featured two diamonds of more than 200 carats. Christie’s seemed happier with the results from its second jumbo-size gem, the Red Cross Diamond, a 205.07 ct. fancy intense yellow cushion cut, with VS2 clarity. It sold for $14.3 million, or $70,000 per carat, which is a world-record price for a fancy intense yellow diamond sold at auction.
“It was a privilege to present this legendary stone, which was first sold at Christie’s in 1918 as part of the Red Cross Appeal,” said Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie’s Jewellery, in a statement. “Over a century since that first sale, the diamond sold after 11 minutes of competitive bidding.”
A significant share of the proceeds will benefit the humanitarian efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Kadakia added.
Overall, the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction sold 98% of items by value and 92% by lot, drawing registrants from 20 countries across four continents. Younger collectors were surprisingly active in the sale, with millennial collectors comprising 50% of its new registrants.
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