Largest white diamond ever auctioned raises $18.8 million

The Rock, the largest white diamond ever auctioned, sells for a hammer price of 18.6 million Swiss francs ($18.8 million), well below the record for such a jewel. PICTURES

The Rock, the largest white diamond ever auctioned, sold on Wednesday for a hammer price of 18.6 million Swiss francs ($18.8 million), well below the record for such a gem.

The 228.31 carat stone, larger than a golf ball, was sold in Geneva by auction house Christie’s.

But the bidding, which started at 14 million francs, ended at 18.6 million after two minutes, although the price will rise once taxes and the buyer’s premium are added.

The Rock, a perfectly symmetrical pear-shaped diamond, was owned by an unnamed owner from North America. It was bought by a telephone bidder after the promotion at the Hotel des Bergues.

The large diamond was extracted from a mine in South Africa in the early 2000s and was displayed in Dubai, Taipei and New York prior to sale in Geneva.

Later in the Magnificent Jewel auction, a historic intense yellow diamond that has been associated with the Red Cross for over a century is sold.

A large portion of the proceeds will be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is headquartered in Geneva.

As well as being among the largest diamonds in the world, a notable feature is the pavilion, which is naturally shaped like a Maltese cross.

The Red Cross Diamond raised £10,000 – about £600,000 ($740,000) in today’s money. It was bought by the London jeweler SJ Phillips.

Also on sale is a tiara that belonged to Princess Irma of Furstenberg (1867-1948), a member of one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the Habsburg Empire.

apo / rjm / vog / raz

Originally published as Largest White Diamond Ever Auctioned, Raises $18.8 Million

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