AUCTION – The 303.10-carat Golden Canary diamond fetches $12.4 million in Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale

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NEW YORK – The 303.10-carat fancy deep brownish-yellow Golden Canary diamond, the world’s largest known internally flawless diamond, achieved $12.4 million in Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale on December 7, 2022, becoming the third most valuable yellow diamond sold at auction.

AUCTION – The 303.10-carat Golden Canary diamond fetches $12.4 million in Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale

Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s

The diamond is the largest Flawless or Internally Flawless diamond ever graded by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). Discovered in the early 1980s in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the diamond boasts a peerless history and provenance – formerly weighing just over 407 carats as the “Incomparable Diamond.” Recut from its original shield-shape into a classic pear-shape, the Golden Canary is now deeper in colour, brighter in hue, and more elegant in profile. 

Commenting on the sale result, Quig Bruning, Head of Jewelry for Sotheby’s America’s, said: “The Golden Canary captivated me from the moment I saw it – with its monumental size, golden hue and impeccable clarity – it is truly an extraordinary diamond with immense presence.

“These rare qualities, which enchanted collectors from around the world during its travels, led to its strong price achieved today, as it takes its rightful place among the pantheon of superlative stones to be sold at auction by Sotheby’s.” 

Deep bidding at Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels in New York propelled the auction total to $50 million, with 81% of lots sold. This brings Sotheby’s running-total of global jewelry sales to over $450 million – a five year high for the company.

Other notable diamonds in the sale include:

  • An exquisite emerald-cut D-Color, Internally Flawless diamond weighing 25.03-carats sold for $2.3 million (est. $2/3 million). 
  • A new auction record was set today for any Fancy Gray Diamond when an alluring emerald-cut 10.67-carat diamond mounted by Hemmerle was purchased for $1.1 million (est. $1.5/2 million)
  • A charming unmounted cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Gray-Blue diamond weighing 3.69-carats realized an above estimate price of $1 million (est. $600/800,000)

The Atocha Emerald & Notable Coloured Gemstones 

The sale included a rich assortment of exceptional gemstones, most notable of which was a 5.27-carat Colombian emerald ring salvaged from the legendary Atocha shipwreck of 1622, which soared more than 17x its pre-sale high estimate. After being chased by a total of 18 bidders across the phones and Sotheby’s online bidding platform – over the course of five minutes –  the emerald finally sold for an astounding $1.2 million (est. $50/70,000). Offered from the collection of author and distinguished philanthropist Mitzi Perdue, who was gifted the gem upon her engagement in 1988 by her late husband Frank Perdue, the emerald’s proceeds will go toward humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, a cause that is very dear to Mitzi Perdue’s heart. 

AUCTION – The 303.10-carat Golden Canary diamond fetches $12.4 million in Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale

Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s

Alexander Eblen, Senior Specialist of Sotheby’s Jewelry Department in New York, added: “It’s been an absolute honor for Sotheby’s to be entrusted with this legendary emerald, whose unparalleled provenance has captured the world’s attention since it was first announced. Outside of its superb color, cut, clarity and size, when one considers that this gem is part of one of the richest discoveries of sunken treasure in all of history, the appeal to collectors in search of superlatives is extraordinary. It’s been a privilege to have been a chapter in the emerald’s continued storybook journey, and to know that the proceeds will benefit such a worthy cause.”

Mitzi Perdue said: “I could not be more thrilled about the sale of my emerald engagement ring with Sotheby’s. I’m immensely proud to donate full proceeds of the sale to benefit humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and I feel honored to have even played a small part in helping those who need it most. I’ve treasured this ring for nearly thirty years, and I’m excited for its next historic chapter and the joy it will bring to its new owner.”

EGYPTOMANIA

The Magnificent Jewels sale also showcased an extensive selection of Egyptian-themed jewels to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb – one of the most groundbreaking archaeological finds of the 20th century. Eight out of the nine lots from the curation all found buyers today, achieving a combined total of $1.8 million. Highlights from the Egyptomania results include:

  • A Lacloche Frères Rare and Important Colored Stone and Diamond Bracelet that achieved $1.2 million (est. $1/1.5 million)
  • AUCTION – The 303.10-carat Golden Canary diamond fetches $12.4 million in Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale
  • Picture courtesy of Sotheby’s
  • A Lacloche Frères Rare and Important Pair of Egyptian-Revival Colored Stone and Diamond Pendant-Earclips which fetched $352,800 (est. $300/500,000)
  • A Gustav Manz for F. Walter Lawrence Egyptian-Revival Gold and Ancient Glass ‘Desert’ Brooch that soared over its high estimate by nearly 3x, reached $44,100 (est.$10/15,000).