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Saturday, June 22, 2024

May sales: two absolutely exceptional diamonds

In February of this year, Sotheby's Diamonds, the specialist retailer of exceptional
of exceptional diamonds, unveiled an extremely rare 102.34-carat white diamond. This stone is the only round brilliant diamond of over 100 carats known in the world, perfect in terms of the four criteria that determine the value and rarity of a diamond, better known as the "4C". Two months later, the magnificent diamond, described by Patti Wong, President of Sotheby's Diamonds, as a "masterpiece of nature", found a buyer in a private transaction. The identity of this new owner cannot be revealed, however the price per carat realized by the diamond far exceeded the existing record price per carat for a white diamond sold at auction (the record price per carat at auction, set at Sotheby's Hong Kong in 2013, is US$260,252).

In addition to the sale of this exceptional stone, Sotheby's will also present two exceptional white diamonds, each weighing over 50 carats and possessing the same extraordinary color and clarity so sought-after as the 102.34-carat diamond purchased from Sotheby's Diamonds, at its May Haute Joaillerie sale in Geneva.
The first of these two stones is a round brilliant-cut diamond weighing 51.71 carats, which ranks as the second largest diamond in its category (brilliant cut, D color and exceptional clarity) ever to appear at auction. The second stone, also considered perfect according to "4C" criteria, weighs 50.39 carats and is oval in shape. It is the second largest oval stone ever offered at auction.
Both diamonds will be presented at the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on May 15. The first brilliant-cut stone is estimated at between CHF 7.8 and 9 million, while the second oval-cut stone is estimated at between CH 7 and 7.6 million.
Commenting on the sale of the 102.34-carat diamond, Patti Wong, founder and president of Sotheby's Diamonds, said, "At first glance, the buyer of this diamond - like everyone who saw it - was mesmerized. The existence of diamonds such as this, dating from the same time as the creation of the earth and possessing such life and brilliance within them that they always reflect maximum fire to those who look at them, is hard to believe. A rarity in the mythical world of 100-carat stones, this diamond is a marvel that demonstrates man's ability to shape nature's creations into objects of extraordinary beauty".

Speaking ahead of the Geneva sale, David Bennett, International President for Haute Joaillerie at Sotheby's, said, "Witnessing the effect that the extraordinary 102.34-carat stone had on those lucky enough to observe it, we are delighted to present two more such impressive white diamonds. These are among the largest white diamonds of this quality ever offered for sale on the auction market. Diamonds of this magnitude have always fascinated collectors and connoisseurs alike, and this craze continues to this day."

The two diamonds to be presented in May in Geneva are D-color (the most coveted color for white diamonds), of exceptional clarity and belong to the rare category of type IIa diamonds, comprising less than 2% of gem-quality diamonds. These diamonds are of exceptional chemical purity and often possess extraordinary optical transparency. Both diamonds were discovered and acquired in Botswana.
The important task of cutting the diamonds was carried out in Antwerp, from rough stones weighing 196 carats (for the round brilliant diamond) and 155 carats (for the oval-cut diamond). According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the cut, polish and symmetry of both stones are excellent. These criteria are of paramount importance, as they allow light to pass through the stone unhindered, giving a breathtaking effect of brilliance. Each of the stones has been awarded the highest distinction for its category: the round diamond has been declared "XXX", the best certification for round diamonds, and the oval stone has been awarded "XX", the pinnacle for diamonds of this shape.
When cutting the largest rough diamonds, the craftsman often strives to retain the highest possible carat count. For this reason, a cutter will tend to choose an elongated shape (such as a cushion, pear or emerald cut). Here, on the other hand, cutters have chosen round and oval shapes, which bring out the immense natural beauty of these stones.
These two shapes are the most coveted on the market: the record price per carat for a diamond sold at auction is held by an oval-cut diamond; and round brilliant-cut diamonds - which reveal all the brilliance and life of the stone, are the most sought-after of all.

Weighing 102.34 carats, this stone represented the rarest white diamond ever offered on the market, and the largest "D" color and "Flawless" clarity diamond known in the world. The largest GIA-certified stone of its kind, it meets all the requirements by which diamonds are judged. It is certified "D" color (the most sought-after color for white diamonds) and exceptional clarity ("Flawless" is reserved for absolutely pure and perfect stones). The
cut and symmetry are also incomparable. Demand for exceptional diamonds, including white diamonds, has been particularly strong in recent years.

In October 2013, Sotheby's set the record price per carat for a white diamond at auction (US$260,252 per carat), when an oval white diamond weighing 118.28 carats sold for $30.8 million in Hong Kong. Last year, 91% of white diamonds offered at Sotheby's auctions found buyers, and half of these stones exceeded their high estimates.