An extremely rare 102-carat diamond, a flawless white sparkler, is expected to be one of the most expensive stones sold at auction.
The 102-carat diamond is the second-largest oval diamond of its kind to be offered at auction, which will be online. The largest, a 118.28-carat diamond, set a record US$30.8 million price when it was sold seven years ago.
Only seven such stones, known in the trade as ‘D color flawless’ or ‘internally flawless white diamonds’, over 100 carats have previously been sold at auction.
“This stunning diamond is the best of the best when it comes to exceptional white diamonds and it is difficult to overstate its rarity and beauty,” Gary Schuler, Sothebys worldwide chairman of Jewelry, said in a statement. “Never before has the appreciation for world-class diamonds been so acute in the world and more and more people have come to understand that something billions of years old and of the size of a lollipop can store as much value a Rembrandt self-portrait or a Basquiat. The wider comprehension that as the hardest material on earth, this wonder of nature will outlive us for millions more years is certainly another factor for the strength of the demand.”
The 102-carat diamond was cut from a 271-carat rough diamond that was discovered in De Beers‘ now-closed Victor Mine in Ontario, Canada, in 2018. The diamond was cut and polished over the course of a year by Diacore, specialists in sourcing, cutting and polishing extraordinary diamonds, to bring out its “best brilliance, fire and scintillation,” according to Sotheby’s. The stone belongs to an elite subgroup of diamonds known as “Type IIa,” which are the most chemically pure type of diamond with the highest level of transparency.
“One hundred-carat diamonds as a rule are exceedingly rare,” said Quig Bruning, head of Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York. “One hundred-carat D flawless are even more rare.”
While Sotheby’s doesn’t have an official estimate, comparable diamonds have sold for between US$11 million and US$30 million previously.
The flawless white diamond is being offered without a reserve, meaning that it will be sold regardless of the size of the highest bid. Bidding will open online from Tuesday (September 15), with the sale at a live auction in Hong Kong on October 5.
Chair of Sotheby’s Asia, Patti Wong, is confident about the sale, despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, in what she called “deeply transformative months for the auction market”.
“Diamonds of this calibre attract interest well beyond the traditional pool of collectors,” said Wong. “This innovative sale seems to us the best way to introduce this exceptional diamond to the world in the current circumstances where travel is restricted and act as a great indicator of the vitality of the demand.”
By-appointment-only previews are taking place in Beijing, Shanghai, New York and Taipei before the stone returns to Hong Kong for the sale.
Two of the most famous large diamonds – the Koh-i-Noor and The Cullinan 1 – belong to the British monarchy and form part of the British Crown Jewels.
The world record for any diamond or jewel sold at auction was set in 2017 when a 59.60-carat fancy vivid pink diamond, known as the Pink Star, was sold for US$71.2 million to the Hong Kong jewelry company Chow Tai Fook, Sotheby’s said.