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Largest white diamond ever auctioned goes for $21.5 million

The Rock was acquired by an unnamed private buyer. (Image courtesy of Christie’s.)

An egg-sized white diamond dubbed “The Rock”, said to be the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer, sold for 21.6 million Swiss Francs ($21.5 million) including fees, at a Christie’s auction this week.

The figure is at the lower end of the $19 million to 30 million the auction house expected to obtain for the 228.31 carat pear-shaped white diamond mined in South Africa, where some of the world’s largest diamonds have been found. These include the rose cushion cut “Golden Jubilee” and the legendary “Cullinan” — at 3,106 carats, the largest gem-quality rough ever found.

Max Fawcett, head of jewelry at Christie’s Geneva, considered the amount fetched by “The Rock” a win, since its sale was done in “uncharted territory” for a diamond of this characteristic.

Ahead of the auction, the head of Christie’s jewellery department in Geneva, Max Fawcett, explained why “The Rock” was considered unique.

“Often with these largest stones, they sacrifice some of the shape in order to keep the weight,” he said. “This is a perfectly symmetrical pear-shape form and… one of the rarest gems ever to be sold at auction.”

Largest white diamond ever auctioned goes for $21.75 million
The 228.31-carat, pear-shaped gemstone was mined in South Africa. (Image courtesy of Christie’s.)

Christie’s did better with a 205.1-carat fancy yellow stone, known as the “Red Cross”, first sold over a century ago to help the British Red Cross during World War I, and which fetched 14.2 million Francs ($14.1 million), double the pre-sale estimate. 

An unspecified “seven-figure sum” from the proceeds of this sale will be donated by the unnamed private buyer to the international Red Cross Movement, the auction house said.

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