Lot 506
  • 506

The Sun-Drop Diamond

10,200,000 - 14,000,000 CHF
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


The fancy vivid yellow pear-shaped diamond weighing 110.03 carats, mounted in yellow gold as a ring for presentation, size 52, accompanied by a wooden presentation box.


For further information on the diamond, please refer to the GIA report and GIA monograph. In very good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's. We do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any certificate from a gemological laboratory that may accompany the property. We do not guarantee that watches are in working order. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue, in particular to the Notice regarding the treatment and condition of gemstones and to the Notice regarding import of Burmese jadeite and rubies into the US.

Catalogue Note

The largest known Fancy Vivid Yellow pear-shaped diamond at 110.03 carats. 

Setting the "Vault Gallery" Ablaze in London

The Sun-Drop was unveiled to the world at London's Natural History Museum where it was exhibited in the famous 'Vault Gallery' from February through August  2011. The world's press along with guests including Jerry Hall, pictured left, were thrilled to view such a rare and beautiful diamond.  Historically significant with regard to its size and colour, Alan Hart, head of collections for the Mineralogy Department, was delighted to display such a stone.  "When you look at a diamond like this", he stated in the Museum's press release, "you are not only looking at a unique piece of art, you are looking at the fascinating science that brought this stone to us.  The Sun-Drop diamond was formed deep within the Earth's crust 1-3 billion years ago.  As it grew, it incorporated nitrogen into its carbon crystal structure.  It is these nitrogen impurities that give the diamond its yellow colour as they modify light, absorbing the blue part of the visible spectrum.  The diamond then travelled on a long journey upwards in a slushy rock magma.  After it was found within a kimberlite pipe (a type of volcanic rock), it was expertly studied and cut, bringing the diamond to life."

The below is an excerpt from the GIA Monograph - The Sun-Drop Diamond - 2011, Gemological Institute of America, Inc.

The mystique of yellow diamonds is nothing new.  They have long been recognized and prized among collectors.  In 1676, French traveler and gem dealer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier mentioned seeing a large 137.27 carat yellow diamond he referred to variously as the "Florentine," the "Austrian Yellow," and the "Grand Duke of Tuscany" in descriptions of several famous diamonds he encountered during his travels in India.
For diamonds, a large crystal displaying a notable strength of color is quite a rarity.  Accordingly, a sizable fashioned gem with a strong color is even more unusual given the paucity of rough material.  In fact, polished diamonds over 100 carats of any color, weak or strong, are quite uncommon.  Given these considerations, the impressiveness of the 110.03 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Sun-Drop comes into sharp focus.

With its large size and strikingly rich color, the Sun-Drop possesses a commanding presence sure to capture the attention and imagination of all who view it.  While gazing at such a diamond, we must wonder what its future will hold.  It can surely rank already with the historic diamonds of the past, and we can only wait for the Sun-Drop's story to be revealed.

Colour Grading The Sun-Drop: for fancy-color diamonds, color far outweighs the other "Cs" (clarity, cut, and carat weight) when establishing value.  Therefore, it is critical to understand color appearances and how they affect color grades and descriptions.

Accurately describing color in diamonds is no simple task, given the wide range of possible hues. Furthermore, variations in brilliance and bright-dark contrast patterns also complicate the assessment.  In 1995, GIA refined its color grading system, adding grades to better define rare depths of color that were not commonly seen in years past.  With the addition of Fancy Vivid, GIA was able to highlight these rare, highly saturated diamonds in all hues.  Since that time, very few diamonds passing through the Lab earn this distinction.  In a 1998 sampling of yellow diamonds, GIA noted that only 4% were graded Fancy Vivid, regardless of size.  Similarly, a 2003 sampling indicated that only 6% received a grade of Fancy Vivid.  This already small quantity is reduced to a mere fraction as size increases.  Few people will ever see such an opulent color in a diamond the size of the Sun-Drop."