507-carat rough diamond sells for world record price
By Tom Wildhern
February 28, 2010 – Miner Petra Diamonds sold a 507-carat rough diamond to a Hong Kong jewellery company for a world record $35.3 million in a tender in South Africa on February 26.
The Cullinan Heritage, acquired by Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Company Limited, by far exceeded its pre-sale estimate, underlining the strength of the market for magnificent diamonds.
Analysts had expected the stone, one of the biggest high-quality rough diamonds ever found, to command about $25 million.
The gemstone, recovered from Petra’s Cullinan mine in South Africa, the origin of some of the world’s most important diamonds, is the 19th largest gem diamond ever discovered.
Petra said the extremely rare stone attracted strong bidding interest from the regular players in the magnificent diamond market.
Petra CEO Johan Dippenaar
“There was huge interest in the stone. A stone like this doesn’t come around very often,” said Adonis Pouroulis, chairman of Petra.
Jewellers said Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Company could find a buyer in China, one of the world’s fastest growing markets for exquisite diamonds.
The Cullinan Heritage has potential to yield an exquisite, “D-flawless” clear polished stone of 170-180 carats, said one jeweller whose company joined the bidding.
The finished stone is expected to be far more valuable than the rough diamond.
Marijan Dundek, a leading authority on gemstones who recently published a new edition of his book entitled “Diamonds”, said the rough stone could undergo months of examination to test its clarity.
“The key factors will be the clarity and whether there are any inclusions, and on this basis a decision will be made on how to cut the stone,” he said.
The Cullinan mine has been the source of many large diamonds, including the world’s largest rough diamond — the Cullinan — at 3,106 carats.
That gem was cut into the Star of Africa stones that are now set in Britain’s Crown Jewels.