Auctions

‘The Rock,’ the Biggest White Diamond Ever Put Up for Auction, Sells for $22M

AuctionsMay 12, 2022

‘The Rock,’ the Biggest White Diamond Ever Put Up for Auction, Sells for $22M

The 228-carat stone came in at the low end of its estimated range while “The Red Cross Diamond” exceeded expectations at $14.3 million.

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“The Rock,” a 228.31-carat near colorless diamond, sold for within its pre-sale estimate when it garnered $21.9 million at Christie’s Geneva this week. (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
Geneva—The largest white diamond to ever appear at auction is also now one of the most expensive.
 
On Wednesday, “The Rock,” a 228.31-carat, G-color, VS1 clarity, pear-shaped diamond, sold for $21.9 million at Christie’s Geneva Wednesday, coming in at the low end of its $20-$30 million pre-sale estimated range.

It sold for $96,000 per carat. It is the fifth most expensive white or colorless diamond in auction history.
 
It falls behind the 163.41-carat, D-color, flawless “The Art of De Grisogono, Creation I” diamond, which fetched $33.7 million at Christie’s Geneva in 2017; the 112.28-carat, D-color, flawless oval-shaped diamond that sold for $30.8 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013; the 101.73-carat, D-color, flawless pear-shaped “Winston Legacy,” which sold for $26.7 million at Christie’s Geneva in 2013; and the 100-carat, D-color, flawless emerald-cut diamond sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2015 for $22.1 million. 

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Also appearing at Wednesday’s sale was “The Red Cross Diamond,” a fancy intense yellow cushion-cut diamond with VS2 clarity weighing 205.07 carats, which ultimately sold for $14.3 million, or $70,000 per carat, topping its pre-sale estimate by about $4 million.
 
The stone with a fascinating history was estimated to sell for between $7.5 million and $10.7 million.

Christie’s said the Red Cross Diamond, which it has put on the auction block three times in a century, set a world auction record for a fancy intense yellow diamond. 
 
A “significant” portion of its sale will benefit the Red Cross, though the auction house would not disclose the exact amount. 
 
“For nearly half a century, our family has had the privilege of safeguarding the Red Cross Diamond. Since it was first brought to market in 1918, the legacy of this symbol of humanity has always been the support of communities ravaged by war, famine and other hardships endured by people across the world,” the stone’s anonymous consigner said in a statement shared via Christie’s. 
 
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The Red Cross Diamond (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)

“At this moment in history, we honor the call others have made before us. A significant share of the proceeds will be donated to the great institution whose name it bears as we acknowledge the tireless efforts of the volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
 
International Head of Christie’s Jewelry Rahul Kadakia added: “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. 
 
“Over a century since that first sale, the diamond sold after 11 minutes of competitive bidding for ($14.3 million), a world auction record for a fancy intense yellow diamond. We are delighted that a significant share of the proceeds will benefit the humanitarian efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
 
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The Furstenburg Tiara (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)

Other high-performing jewels at Christie’s Geneva included the “Furstenberg Tiara,” a 19th century natural pearl and diamond tiara that demolished its $400,000 to $600,000 pre-sale estimate when it sold for a whopping $2.4 million.

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25.2-carat, D-color, potentially IF rectangular-cut diamond ring by Harry Winston (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
A 25.2-carat, D-color, potentially IF rectangular-cut diamond ring by Harry Winston sold for $2.4 million, or $94,000 per carat, just over its $1.8-$2.2 million estimate.

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Cartier's Art Deco bracelet (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
An Art Deco diamond bracelet from Cartier was the next highest-earning jewel, selling for $2.2 million, within its pre-sale estimate, followed by a 40.41-carat Colombian emerald and diamond necklace attributed to Harry Winston that also fell within its estimated range when it sold for $2.2 million.

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40.41-carat Colombian emerald and diamond necklace by Harry Winston (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
Rounding out the sale was a 17.8-carat Colombian emerald and diamond ring by Chaumet estimated to earn $450,000-$650,000 but ultimately garnered $1.9 million, or $103,000 per carat.

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17.8-carat Colombian emerald and diamond ring by Chaumet (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
A 16.93-carat, VS2 clarity, fancy light purplish-pink cut-cornered rectangular diamond ring fell within its $1.6-$2.2 million estimate, selling for $1.8 million, or $103,000 per carat.

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16.93-carat, VS2 clarity, fancy light purplish-pink cut-cornered rectangular diamond (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
Next, a sapphire and diamond necklace by Reza expected to fetch $250,000-$350,000 sold for $1.5 million.

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Sapphire and diamond necklace by Reza (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
The final of the auction’s top 10 lots was a 7.14-carat ruby and diamond ring that sold within its pre-sale estimate for $1.2 million, or $160,000 per carat.

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7.14-carat ruby and diamond ring (Image courtesy of CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2022)
 
In all, Christie’s Geneva’s jewelry auction sold 92 percent by lot and 98 percent by value. Full results are available online.

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