Press Release

Sotheby's to Offer A Highly Important 102.39-Carat Perfect Diamond with ‘No Reserve’ this October

Hong Kong
ONE OF THE EARTH’S RAREST AND MOST COVETED WONDERS

A HIGHLY IMPORTANT D COLOUR FLAWLESS DIAMOND WEIGHING OVER 100 CARATS

TO BE OFFERED WITH NO RESERVE AT SOTHEBY’S THIS AUTUMN

This Exceptional Gem to be offered in a Single-Lot Auction
In Hong Kong on 5 October 2020

CLICK HERE FOR SALE DETAILS AND VIDEO

This autumn, Sotheby’s will offer for sale one of the earth’s rarest and most coveted wonders – a highly important 102.39-carat D Colour Flawless Oval Diamond. Only seven D colour Internally Flawless or Flawless white diamonds over 100 carats* have been sold at auction, making this the eighth. In an unprecedented move, the diamond will be offered ‘without reserve’, meaning that, the winning bid is the highest bid, regardless of its amount or the intrinsic value of the diamond itself. This approach marks the first time in auction history that a diamond of this calibre - or indeed any work of art or object of this importance and inherent value - has been offered this way.

This 102.39-carat diamond will be offered in a stand-alone, single lot live auction on 5 October 2020, with bidding open online from 15 September. The auction will be preceded by a series of previews in Beijing, Shanghai, New York, Taipei and Hong Kong (by appointment only).

*Diamonds in regular shapes

It has been a few deeply transformative months for the auction market. We have been at the forefront of change in the Fine Art and watch categories, with new, pioneering auction formats, and this season, we want to extend this approach to our jewellery sales. The conjuncture offers many opportunities to do things differently: demand has shown tremendous resilience during the first part of the year and we feel it is now time to let the market speak. Diamonds of this calibre attract interest well beyond the traditional pool of collectors. This innovative sale seems to us the best way to introduce this exceptional diamond to the world in the current circumstances where travel is restricted and act as a great indicator of the vitality of the demand.
Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia

This stunning diamond is the best of the best when it comes to exceptional white diamonds and it is difficult to overstate its rarity and beauty. Never before has the appreciation for world-class diamonds been so acute in the world and more and more people have come to understand that something billions of years old and of the size of a lollipop can store as much value a Rembrandt self-portrait or a Basquiat. The wider comprehension that as the hardest material on earth, this wonder of nature will outlive us for millions more years, is certainly another factor for the strength of the demand.
Gary Schuler, Worldwide Chairman of Jewelry

THE ULTIMATE PERFECTION

Exceedingly rare, 100-carat diamonds have achieved a mythical status. Only seven other D colour Internally Flawless or Flawless white diamonds over 100 carats have appeared at auction, of which Sotheby’s has sold five. This 102.39-carat diamond is the second-largest oval diamond of its kind to be offered at auction. It is only surpassed by the record-breaking 118.28-carat diamond sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2013.

Perfect according to every critical criterion, this gem has achieved the highest rankings under each of the standards by which the quality of a diamond is judged (‘the four Cs’). The diamond is D colour (the highest grade for a white diamond); of exceptional clarity (it is completely flawless, both internally and externally), and has excellent polish and symmetry, the most sought-after grading for the oval shape category. This gem belongs to the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds, known as Type IIa. Diamonds in this group are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency.

FROM ROUGH DIAMOND TO THE PERFECT GEM

Finding a rough diamond that finishes as a polished jewel of over 100 carats and of gem quality is an incredibly rare discovery. The 102.39 diamond was cut from a 271-carat rough, discovered in the Victor Mine, Ontario, Canada in 2018. Following its discovery, the rough was cut and polished over a year by Diacore, world-leading specialists in sourcing, cutting and polishing extraordinary diamonds, to bring out its best brilliance, fire and scintillation.

Marc Shoul

DIAMONDS THROUGH HISTORY

The term diamond comes from Greek adamas, meaning “unbreakable”. This quality is perhaps one of the reasons for which diamonds have long been associated not just with loyalty, but also with power and resilience. And it is this symbolism, combined with the extraordinary rarity of the greatest examples, that has made diamonds so deeply coveted by generations of the most powerful and influential figures in history – from Kings and Queens, Emperors and Empresses to Archdukes and movie stars. In addition to their physical endurance, diamonds have also proven, in large part, to be of enduring value, critical to trading – and the subject of so many ransom demands - throughout history. Traded since at least the 4th century BC, diamonds are arguably the first universal currency.

As Patti Wong puts it: “The concept of a diamond as both emotionally enduring and supremely hard reinforces its image as one of the safest of investments, something to turn to particularly in times of financial uncertainty, today more than ever.”


NOTES TO EDITORS

THE VICTOR MINE (ONTARIO, CANADA)

Discovered by De Beers Group in 1987, The Victor Mine opened in July 2008 to become Canada’s first economically viable diamond deposit discovery. As the first and only diamond mine in the Canadian province of Ontario, 8.1 million carats of diamonds were recovered over the more than a decade it was in production. Some of its largest include a 271-carat white rough diamond as well as a 37-carat rough diamond recovered in 2013. The Victor Mine ceased production in 2019 and is undergoing a pioneering reclamation programme. As of the end of 2019, close to 40% of the mine site had been reclaimed and revegetated.

ON THE RARITY OF TYPE IIA DIAMONDS

Diamonds are one of the earth’s greatest treasures. Formed billions of years ago, they are nearly as old as the earth itself. In terms of their chemical composition, they fall into two main “types” – type I and type II – based on the presence or absence of nitrogen which can replace carbon atoms in a diamond’s atomic structure. These two diamond types can be distinguished on the basis of differences in their chemical and physical properties. Type II diamonds contain little if any nitrogen (IIa and IIb) both of which are quite rare (less than 2% of all gem diamonds).

Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency. They were first identified as originating from India (particularly from the Golconda region) but have since been recovered in all major diamond-producing regions of the world. (Source: Gemological Institute of America)

D COLOUR INTERNALLY FLAWLESS OR FLAWLESS DIAMONDS OVER 100 CARATS AT AUCTION

A sense of the rarity of diamonds of scale is most easily gleaned by looking at auction prices. Only seven diamonds weighing more than 100 carats and with the highest colour for colourless diamonds – D colour – have ever appeared at auction. Sotheby’s has had the privilege of offering five of the seven for sale.

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