May 28, 2022
3 min read

The Red Cross diamond

The Red Cross diamond
The Red Cross diamond

One of the rarest stones on Earth breaks records – for the third time. 

After the First World War – between 1915 and 1918 – Christie’s held a series of charity auctions. The aim was to benefit the Red Cross – the organization helping people the victims of armed conflicts. The public interest was truly impressive – the sales raised about £320,000 (around £13.9 million today).

The Red Cross diamond was among the most valuable and spectacular lots sold at the auction.

The uniqueness of the Red Cross diamond

The Red Cross diamond is a 205 ct stone of a canary yellow color enclosed in a perfect cushion shape. Its pavilion is faceted in the shape of a Maltese cross. 

“The combination of the huge weight, intense yellow color and the fact that the cross has been faceted inside makes it one of the rarest stones on Earth,” explains François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe. 

The Red Cross diamond is a remarkable gem – it is considered to be among the largest cut diamonds on the Earth. Its color is graded as fancy intense yellow, which is a rarity, simply unheard of for a stone of this size. Finally, the cut – the cushion cut that is impossible to fault.

The origin and history of the Red Cross diamond

The rough Red Cross diamond originally weighed 375 ct. It was mined in one of the De Beers mines in South Africa at the beginning of the 20th century – in 1901. The process of cutting was long and thorough, requiring great skill. 

In 1918 the stone was offered for sale for the first time. It was made by the Diamond Syndicate, the Diamond Trading Company today. The diamond was acquired by the London jeweler S.J.Phillips for £10,000 — the equivalent of about £600,000 today. It was a crazy amount of money!

Later the diamond was auctioned for the second time. It happened in 1973. This time the sale of the stone cost CHF 1.8 million (almost $2 million). 

The Red Cross diamond
The Rock diamond (right) and the Red Cross diamond (left)

In 2022 the Red Cross diamond was presented at an auction for the third time. It was sold for $14.3 million. A record price for this kind of diamond! To honor this famous diamond’s history of benefiting the Red Cross, part of the sale revenue was donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Subscribe to discover the world of diamonds and gems. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Other news

View all

Bonhams Fancy and Brilliant online auction features 23 beautiful lots each of which is unique and special in its own way. We invite…

June 08, 2024

A 53.04-carat D-color, internally perfect diamond is expected to fetch up to $5 million at the June 7 Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale in…

June 06, 2024

We’ve got some new spinels! We now have two more stones in our collection. Our spinel boasts vibrant colors, mesmerizing brilliance, and a…

June 05, 2024