4 of the World’s Largest Diamonds

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
September 5, 2013 4:18 pm Last Updated: September 20, 2013 1:11 pm

The world’s “greatest white diamond” is to be auctioned in Hong Kong on October 4, Sotheby’s announced Wednesday. The diamond, given the name Magnificent Oval Diamond by Sotheby’s, is the largest D-color diamond to ever appear at auction.

Diamonds are graded by color from D to Z. D is the most valuable, colorless grading. Z diamonds have more coloring and are generally of lower value.

The diamond is expected to fetch $28 million to $35 million.

It is internally flawless, 118.28 carats. Sotheby’s said it is 20 percent larger than the last diamond of comparable quality over 100 carats to be sold at auction. That diamond, the Winston Legacy, sold for $26.7 million earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland, auctioned by Christie’s.

Quek Chin Yeow, the deputy chairman for Sotheby’s Asia, told the Telegraph that the Magnificent Oval Diamond “ticks all the boxes for every quality, every little thing that you want about it.”

“About the size, it’s actually like a diamond egg because it’s as big as that,” he said. The diamond was discovered in 2011 a southern African nation not disclosed by the auctioneer.

The Winston Legacy, 101.73 carats, was bought by jewelry and watch firm Harry Winston. It was found in Botswana, and before it was given its current name, it was simply called “absolute perfection diamond,” according to Marketplace.org.

Christie’s jewelry specialist Daniel Struyf told Marketplace $20 million to $30 million was expected, so the $26.7 million fetched was on target. Struyf said the diamond is free of impurities inside and out. 

The two diamonds, just over 100 carats are tiny in comparison to the largest diamond ever found—the Cullinan.

The Cullinan

The Cullinan was 3,106 carats uncut. The Magnificent Oval was 299 carats uncut and the Winston Legacy was 236 carats uncut.

The largest part of the Cullinan resides now in the scepter of the British Crown Jewels. It was found in a South African mine owned by Thomas Cullinan by superintendent Captain Frederick Wells in 1905, according to 24hgold.com.

He was on a routine inspection and thought miners were playing a joke on him when he saw it gleaming near the entrance to the mine. He assumed it was a piece of glass. He pried the massive diamond out of the rock with a pocketknife. 

Before the Cullinan was discovered, the Excelsior was the largest diamond.

The Excelsior

Weighing 995.20 carats uncut, it was found at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa in 1893. The miner who found it presented it directly to the mine manager and received as reward 500 pounds ($780) plus a horse and bridle, according to 24hgold.com.

Without any buyers for a diamond that large, it was cut into smaller pieces.

In 1996, a 69.68 carat piece, the Excelsior 1, was bought by renowned jeweler and diamond collector Robert Mouawad for about $2.6 million.

Note on the image used of the Cullinan: It is a Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons image is from the user Chris 73 and is freely available at //commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cullinan_Diamond_and_some_of_its_cuts_-_copy.jpg under the creative commons cc-by-sa 3.0 license.