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Sotheby’s Sells Record-Setting 102-Carat Diamond (and Brings Two More to Auction)

The gem has been described as a “masterpiece of nature."

Sotheby's Diamonds Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's/Michael Oldford

Sotheby’s has sold the only known round brilliant diamond over 100 carats. The gem, which was unveiled back in February, was recently purchased by a private buyer for an undisclosed sum. While the sale price has not yet been revealed, Sotheby’s reports that the stone was purchased for a price per carat “which far exceeds that for any colorless diamond sold at auction.” Founder and chairman of Sotheby’s Diamonds Patti Wong described the gem as a “masterpiece of nature” and noted the buyer’s reaction to the record-setting 102.34-carat gem: “When the new custodian of this stone first beheld it, they were—like everyone else who has seen it—completely captivated. It is hard to believe that something so ancient—these stones are as old as the earth itself—can be so alive, so full of fire and blinding brilliance.”


Following that sale, Sotheby’s in London revealed a pair of white diamonds that will cross the block in the Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva on May 15. Both gems—a 51.71-carat, round brilliant-cut diamond and a 50.39-carat oval diamond—were sourced from Botswana. Both are D Color, Flawless, and Type 11a—categorizations that place them among the most valued and purest stones of their kind (Type 11a diamonds make up just 2 percent of the earth’s gem diamonds). Together, they are estimated to garner more than $15 million at auction.

“Having witnessed the enormous effect of the 102.34-carat stone on those who saw it, we are now thrilled to bring to the market two more truly exceptional stones, both of which are among the largest, highest-quality white diamonds ever to come to auction,” said David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s international jewelry division, in a release from the auction house. “Diamonds like these have always captivated collectors and connoisseurs alike and continue to do so today.”


Diamonds remain a solid investment item and have long been a spectacle when they come to auction. Sales over the past decade have shown an increased demand for exceptional examples. In October 2013, Sotheby’s set a world-auction-record price per carat for a white diamond—$260,252 per carat for a 118.28-carat oval that sold for $30.8 million. In 2017, Sotheby’s reported that 91 percent of all white diamonds offered in their auctions found buyers, with half of those achieving prices above their high estimate.

The two diamonds coming up for sale in May will be on public view in London until April 10, when they will set out for a worldwide tour that includes stops in New York, Singapore, Taipei, and Dubai.

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