The 228.31-carat diamond which was larger than a golf ball was sold in Geneva by Christie’s auction house. It is a 228,31-carat pear-shaped white diamond, mined and polished in South Africa.
People had high hopes for its selling price. the bidding started at 14m Swiss francs but stopped at 18.6 million, with the price rising to 21.7m once the buyer’s premium was added on.
The pre-sale estimate had been 19-30 million Swiss francs.
It was sold by an unnamed owner from North America and bought by a private collector through telephone. Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s international head of jewelry sealed the deal.
“When you look at the price per carat — 100,000 per carat — this is the level of a D color diamond, and we achieved that for a G color diamond. So in fact, we’re very pleased as are the sellers, as is the buyer.” Christie’s auctioneer Rahul Kadakia gestures during the ‘Magnificent Jewels’ sales in Geneva, on May 11, 2022
The diamond was extracted from a mine in South Africa in the early 2000s and has been exhibited in Dubai, Taipei, and New York ahead of the sale in Geneva.
A seven-figure chunk of the proceeds will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross, headquartered in Geneva.
Fierce bidding went on for 10 minutes, ending in a duel in increments of 50,000 francs before one private collector won through.
The original rough stone was found in 1901 in a De Beers company mine in South Africa and is said to have weighed around 375 carats.
It is ranked as one of the largest diamonds in the world. Its pavilion is in the shape of a Maltese cross.
The Red Cross Diamond fetched £10,000 — almost £600,000 ($740,000) in today’s money. It was bought by the London jewelers S.J. Phillips.
“A 104-year history of the diamond with Christie’s; we’re very pleased that we were able to locate it, and we’re very pleased that we were able to secure it in another private collection,” said Kadakia.
Also sold was a tiara that belonged to Princess Irma of Fuerstenberg (1867-1948), a member of one of the most pre-eminent aristocratic families in the Habsburg Empire.
It was estimated at 400,000 to 600,000 Swiss francs. However, it sold for 2.4 million francs!