At the Christies ‘Magnificent Jewels Auction’ held in Geneva on May 15th 2013 the world’s largest ‘flawless’ and ‘colourless’ diamond ever put up for auction was sold for a record 25.9 million Swiss Francs (US$26.7 million). Christies were hoping to realize up to US$30 million.
The 101.73 carat pear shaped diamond was graded by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) with the best colour of ‘D’ and the best clarity of ‘Flawless’. The stone met every criteria of perfection. According to Rahul Kadakia (Head of jewellery for Christies Switzerland & Americas) “a perfect diamond is the result of the skill and vision of a master cutter who is able to uncover beauty from a rough gem.” It took 21 months to polish.
It was carved from a rough diamond weighing in at 236 carats, found at the Jwaneng mine in Botswana. It is one of only a handful of gems in the world that have been graded by experts to have both perfect colour and clarity.
The vendor chose to remain anonymous, the winning bid coming from the famous American jewellery and watch firm Harry Winston. This is the first time this truly unique gem has appeared for sale, therefore Harry Winston have the privilege of naming the diamond. The diamond will then join the list of the world’s most famous diamonds.
To be over 100 carats and meet every criteria of perfection is indeed a very rare occurrence. There are believed to be less than 600 Flawless & colourless diamonds in the world between 1 and 2 carats in size, and dramatically less of over 10 carats according to GIA.
Demand for high quality, unique and rare diamonds have grown in recent years as an alternative investment vehicle, and portable store of value. Demand in China for high quality diamonds has grown at a rate of 30% per annum since 2005, making China the world’s second biggest market for diamonds since 2012.
The previous world record price for a colourless diamond was the 20.4 million Swiss francs (US$21.5 million) paid for the 76.02 carat Archduke Joseph Diamond at Christies Geneva in November 2012.
The record price for any gem at auction is the 45.4 million Swiss Francs (US$45.6 million) paid by London dealer Laurence Graff for a 24.78 carat emerald cut ‘Fancy Intense Pink’ at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2010.
One of the most famous ‘celebrity’ diamonds is the ‘Elizabeth Taylor Diamond’ sold by Christies New York in December 2011 for US$8.8 million. This is a rectangular cut D colour VS1 clarity diamond ring of 33.19 carats.
The largest colourless diamond known is one of the world’s most famous diamonds. The Cullinan I is a pear shaped diamond of 530.20 carats, and forms part of the British Crown Jewels.