The largest white diamond ever to come up for auction, the 228.31-carat, pear-shaped, G-Color gemstone, christened “The Rock” sold for 21,681,000 CHF (US$21.9 million) at a Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Auction held in Geneva held on May 11, 2022. The diiamond assigned Lot No 26 and titled “The Rock, A Sensational Diamond” sold within its estimate of CHF 19,000,000 – 30,000,000 (US $19,551,991– US$30,739,500), slightly above the lower estimate for CHF 21,681,000 (US$ 21,900,000).
However, despite its enormous size of 228.31 carats and its beautiful pear-brilliant-cut, the diamond fell far short of the world record set for a white diamond at an auctiion in 2017, when an intricate emerald and diamond necklace from Swiss luxury jeweler de Grisogono, which featured a central 163.41-carat rectangular-cut white diamond, set the record for a white diamond sale at 33,500,000 CHF (US$33.8 million).
The 228.31-carat, pear brilliant-cut diamond was accompanied by a fitted case, with a round diamond and platinum pendant mounting, signed Cartier, having a gross weight of 61.3 grams and mounting having dimensions of 5.4 cm by 3.1 ccm.
GIA 2022 report no. 2175864368 states that the 228.31-carat, pear brilliant-cut diamond is G-colour, VS1 clarity with excellent polish and symmetry. GIA letter accompanying the lot, states that this diamond is the largest existing D to Z colour range, pear-shaped diamond, ever graded by their laboratory.
The 228.31-carat, pear-shaped Rock Diamond, originated from one of the mines in South Africa, where some of the famous diamonds in the world originated, such as the 47.69-carat, pear-shaped “Star of Africa” and the 545.67-carat, rose cushion-cut, brown “Golden Jubilee Diamond” the largest cut and faceted diamond in the world.
Head of Christie’s Jewelry Department in Geneva, Max Fawcett commenting on why “The Rock” is considered as a particularly unique stone, said “Often with these largest stones, they sacrifice some of the shape in order to maximise the weight. However, this is a perfectly symmetrical pear-shape form and one of the rarest gems ever to be sold at auction.”
The large diamond was extracted from a mine in South Africa in the early 2000s and has been shown in Dubai, Taipei and New York ahead of the sale in Geneva.
Prior to the auction there had been high hopes that “The Rock” would smash the world record for a white diamond, set in 2017, which stands at at $33.8 million. The bidding, which started at 14 million francs, came to a halt after two minutes at 18.6 million, which increased to 21.7 million, with the addition of taxes and buyer’s premium, slightly above the lower estimate of 19 million francs.
The Rock, a perfectly symmetrical pear-shaped diamond, was in the hands of an unnamed owner from North America. It was bought by a telephone bidder following the action at the Hotel des Bergues.
Max Fawcett, head of the jewels department at Christie’s auction house in Geneva, said, “there were only a handful of diamonds of similar size and quality to The Rock. Mined in the early 2000s. The Rock was previously owned by a family of avid jewelry collectors, who transformed it into a necklace, and decided to sell the gem after eight years to invest in other stones for their collection.”
The 228.31-carat masterpiece was sold to a person whom Christie’s refused to name or even cite where they live. One of the diamond’s three previous buyers was based in the US; the other two in the Middle East.