It’s raining large diamonds at Sotheby’s in June!


Two 100+ carat diamonds will lead Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Auction in New York

May 26, 2022: Diamond auctions are no longer exciting. There have been many in the past few years. But these particular diamonds are incredibly rare. 

Sotheby’s is going to auction two of earth’s rarest treasures – each over 100 carats – in the Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on June 16. The first is “The Juno” Diamond, an exceptional 101.41-carat pear-shaped D Colour Internally Flawless Diamond, estimated to achieve in excess of $10 million; offered alongside “The Earth Star,” a historic 111.59 carat pear-shaped Fancy Deep Orange-Brown diamond (estimate $1.5/2.5 million). 

The Juno Diamond

There are only 11 diamonds weighing more than 100 carats and with the highest colour for colourless diamonds – D colour – that have ever sold at auction. Pear-shaped diamonds are particularly sought-after for they are more wearable than other shapes, making perfect pendants to important necklaces. The Juno is the fourth-largest pear diamond of its kind to be offered at auction.

As with the famous Cullinan I and Koh-i-noor diamonds, which are part of the British Crown Jewels, Juno is part of the rare subgroup comprising less than 2% of all gem diamonds, known as Type IIa. Diamonds in this category are the most chemically pure, lending them exceptional optical transparency.

The other diamond, “The Earth Star”, is a rare Fancy Deep Orange-Brown diamond weighing 111.59 carats. Brown diamonds of this size, in polished and cut form, are extremely rare, with only three 100+ carat examples ever having come to auction, of which this one is the second largest. It even features in the historic book of Famous Diamonds by Lord Ian Balfour, the world’s seminal text on the history of these natural treasures. 

The Earth Star

To celebrate this diamond being offered at auction, the workshop of American jeweler David Webb, fashioned a custom mounting using azurmalachite to resemble the Earth as seen from the perspective of a star, creating a striking visual representation of the diamond’s earthly origins. In its new setting, the work is now the largest diamond ever mounted by David Webb.

The original rough – weighing over 248 carats – was discovered at the Jagersfontein mine in South Africa in 1967. This specimen came from 2,500 feet below the surface, which is exceptionally deep for a gem of this size. The stone was later sent to Baumgold Brothers in New York, who fashioned it into the pear-shaped diamond we see today and dubbed it the “Earth Star” due to its high degree of brilliance. In 1983, the “Earth Star” was sold for nearly $1million and has remained in private hands ever since.
 
Historically, brown diamonds have been underappreciated compared to their coloured cousins (pink, blue or yellow, for example) and have only been sought-after by knowledgeable connoisseurs. Recently, however, the popularity of these lesser known coloured diamonds (eg. black and brown) has increased with a wider pool of collectors beginning to appreciate their rarity and beauty.

These stones will highlight Sotheby’s flagship Luxury sale series in New York, which will also include exceptional pieces of jewelry and rare watches, one-of-a-kind sneakers, much-coveted handbags, wine and whiskeys. The Luxury sale has seen a marked uplift (56%) in participation from younger collectors (collectors aged under 40) across the sales.

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