DUBAI: A giant diamond nicknamed “The Rock” went on display for the first time in Dubai on Friday ahead of an auction where it is expected to fetch over $30 million.
The 228.31-carat pear-shaped gem, which was mined and polished in South Africa more than 20 years ago, is the largest white diamond ever to come to auction, said Christie’s.
After making its debut at the auction house’s Dubai branch, where it will be displayed from March 26-29, The Rock will travel to Taipei, New York and Geneva, where it will be auctioned on May 11.
“The Middle East has always had such a great appreciation for important jewels and gemstones,” Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelery at Christie’s, told AFP.
“We thought it would be nice for us to launch the diamond in an area where there are so many great collectors for important gems of this nature.” The diamond is the “largest existing DZ color pear-shaped diamond ever graded” by the Gemological Institute of America, Christie’s said in a statement, adding it is “G colour, VS1 clarity”.
“It’s the biggest white diamond ever sold at auction, it will probably achieve over 30 million dollars,” said Julian Brunie, Christie’s international head of jewelery private sales.
“We have seen a lot of demand in the region in the last few years… the UAE and the Gulf area has always been a key market for the unique pieces.” The previous auction record for the largest colorless diamond was a 163.41 carat sparkler which sold in November 2017 for $33.7 million, Christie’s said.
Sotheby’s in London last month sold “The Enigma” — the largest cut black diamond ever to come to auction, at 555.55 carats — for $4.3 million.