Auctions

Christie’s to Auction 205-Carat Yellow ‘Red Cross Diamond,’ Again

AuctionsApr 14, 2022

Christie’s to Auction 205-Carat Yellow ‘Red Cross Diamond,’ Again

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the famously charitable stone will benefit the international organization.

“The Red Cross Diamond” will be auctioned for the third time in 104 years at Christie’s Geneva next month. As in its first auction in 1918, a portion of proceeds will benefit the Red Cross. (Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2022)
Geneva—A diamond with a long history of benefitting charitable causes is back up for auction. 
 
Christie’s is offering the 205.07-carat fancy intense yellow cushion-cut diamond dubbed “The Red Cross Diamond” at the Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale on May 11. 
 
A portion of proceeds from the stone’s sale will benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross, and it won’t be the first time. 
 
The stone’s history begins in 1901, when the rough was recovered by De Beers in South Africa. It weighed 375 carats. 
 
After being cut and polished, it weighed 205 carats, and notably had a pavilion in the shape of a Maltese cross.
 
During World War I, the Diamond Syndicate (the forerunner to De Beers’ Diamond Trading Co., better known as the DTC) offered the stone for sale at Christie’s London to aid the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John, in a charitable auction called the “Red Cross Auction.”

Here, “The Red Cross Diamond” is pictured on a reproduction of lot listings from the World War I Red Cross Auction. (Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2022)
Here, “The Red Cross Diamond” is pictured on a reproduction of lot listings from the World War I Red Cross Auction. (Image courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd. 2022)
 
Famed London jeweler S.J. Phillips purchased the stone. In total, that auction raised £50,000, equivalent to £3 million, or $3.94 million, today. 
 
The Red Cross Diamond was auctioned again in November 1973 at Christie’s Geneva, selling to a private owner. It sold for CHF 1.8 million, about $1.9 million.
 
The stone’s auction this year will mark the third time Christie’s has offered the Red Cross Diamond in 104 years.
 
Chairman of Christie’s Europe and Head of the Luxury Department François Curiel said: “This is the third time in over 100 years for Christie’s to present this extraordinary canary yellow diamond of 205.07 carats. 
 
“This is a very special bond and tremendous honor. Part of the proceeds of the sale will benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross, for a cause that is even more poignant in the midst of current events.”
 
Christie’s told National Jeweler the stone is expected to sell for CHF 7 million to CHF 10 million, or about $7.5 million to $10.7 million. 
 
The auction house declined to disclose the exact percentage of the sale price that would benefit the Red Cross but said it would be “significant.” 
 
Christie’s relationship with the Red Cross goes beyond The Red Cross Diamond. 
 
During World War I, Christie’s auctioned 40 necklaces created from donated pearls for the Red Cross. It also held a sale benefitting the organization during World War II.
 
In 2018, Christie’s donated to the Red Cross to assist in California wildfire relief and in 2020, it donated 500 of its online courses to raise funds for the British Red Cross. 
 
The Red Cross Diamond will be on view in New York City at Christie’s headquarters at 20 Rockefeller Plaza April 29-May 1. 
 
It will be on view in Geneva at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues from May 6 to 11, the date of the auction.

 Related stories will be right here … 

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