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‘The Rock’ diamond goes under the hammer

GENEVA (AFP) – ‘The Rock’, the biggest white diamond (AFP; pic below) ever to be sold at an auction, went under the hammer in Geneva yesterday.

The 228.31-carat stone, larger than a golf ball, is “a truly exceptional pear-shaped diamond”, said head of the jewels department at Christie’s auction house in Geneva Max Fawcett. It is “the largest white diamond ever to be offered at auction”, he told AFP at a preview.

The Magnificent Jewels auction at the luxury Hotel des Bergues in Geneva began at 1400 GMT.

‘The Rock’, currently in the hands of an unnamed owner from North America, is lot 26 in the sale and could break records at the sale. “It’s perfectly symmetrical and is estimated at USD20 to USD30 million – and I expect there to be fireworks at the auction,” Fawcett said.

The expert said that there were only a handful of diamonds of similar size and quality to ‘The Rock’. The Christie’s record for a similar white diamond is USD33.7 million, fetched in 2017 for a 163.41-carat gem.

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.

‘The Rock’ is up for grabs alongside a historic intense yellow diamond associated for more than a century with the Red Cross, which will receive some of the profits from its sale.

The Red Cross Diamond is a cushion-shaped, 205.07-carat canary yellow jewel, which has a price estimate of USD7.09 to USD10.13 million.