Sotheby’s Unveils The Golden Canary – A Yellow Diamond Weighing Over 300 Carats
Sotheby’s Dubai Unveils One of The World’s Largest Polished Diamonds The Golden Canary
At 303.10 Carats, The Golden Canary is The Largest Flawless or Internally Flawless Diamond Ever Graded by the GIA
The Historically Important Diamond Is Expected to Realise in Excess of $15 Million at Sotheby’s New York this December
Combining great rarity, beauty and intensity, colored diamonds are continuing to make history this year, headlining Sotheby’s flagship jewelry auctions in Hong Kong, Geneva and New York.
Today, Sotheby’s has unveiled to the world another landmark gem: The Golden Canary. Weighing a colossal 303.10 carats, the Fancy Deep Brownish-Yellow Diamond is one of the largest polished diamonds in the world and the largest flawless or internally flawless diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
The miraculous diamond also 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 color, brighter in hue and more elegant in profile, rightfully claiming its spot in the pantheon of exceptional diamonds.
The Golden Canary is set to highlight Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on 7 December, with an estimate in the region of $15 million, and offered without reserve, with bidding starting at just $1.
Quig Bruning, Head of Jewelry for Sotheby’s America: “We have had an exceptional year of presenting extraordinary colored diamonds at our global jewelry auctions, as the demand and appetite for these rarities continues to grow.
Just two weeks after the record-breaking sale of the Williamson Pink Star for $57.7 million, we are honored to offer the largest polished diamond in present existence to appear at auction. Steeped in history, The Golden Canary is one of the most exquisite diamonds to ever be discovered, not only for its sheer size and intensity in color, but for its stunning beauty that is sure to captivate collectors around the world. Sotheby’s is privileged to help write the next chapter for this incomparable, reborn gem.”
Given the global interest in a treasure of this nature, the diamond will be showcased on a worldwide tour. Unveiled today in Sotheby’s galleries in Dubai, it will then travel to cities including Taipei, Geneva, and Hong Kong.
Katia Nounou Boueiz, Head of Sotheby’s UAE: “We are excited to continue to celebrate the UAE as the ultimate destination for lovers of luxury, with the global unveiling of a gemstone of such extraordinary caliber alongside a selling exhibition curated by our team here on the ground.”
Alongside the global unveiling of the Golden Canary, Sotheby’s Dubai has also launched a selling exhibition showcasing an edit of rare luxury items, all of which are available for immediate purchase.
Open to the public through 4 November, the selling exhibition includes an outstanding selection of hand-embellished Hermès Birkin and Kelly handbags lovingly transformed by luxury brand Jay Ahr, elevating each bag to work of art status. It is the first time the collection is showcased in the Middle East.
Lebanese Jewellery designer Gaelle Khouri brings her new collection to the exhibition – a series of either graphic (Formes Angulaires) or sensual (Formes Instinctives) pieces in yellow, white, or rose gold often enhanced by diamonds and precious stones. Additional items within the exhibition include striking contemporary photography by Morocco-born artist Lalla Essaydi, best known for her depiction of Arab female identity.
The Legendary Story of the Golden Canary
The Golden Canary’s illustrious provenance begins in the early 1980s in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The stone was originally found amongst a pile of rubble by a young girl playing in the backyard of her uncle’s house. At the time, miners from the nearby MIBA diamond mine had considered the discovery too bulky to be diamond-bearing and had discarded it.
Little did the miners know, that rubble turned out to be an 890-carat rough diamond, one of the largest rough diamonds the world had ever seen. The girl gave the stone to her uncle, who, in turn, sold it to local diamond dealers.
The diamond was first presented to the public in 1984 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, displayed alongside the world’s most legendary diamonds. As the largest uncut, rough diamond known at that time, the 890-carat gem became a global news sensation, captivating the world’s curiosity.
Over the course of the next five years, the rough diamond was cut into 15 finished stones, from which the largest of the resulting diamonds, a Fancy Deep Brownish-Yellow weighing 407.49 carats, became formally known as the “Incomparable.”
The shield-shaped step cut, with its unusually shaped facets and small table, preserved much of the shape and bulk of the original rough and was the largest internally flawless or flawless cut diamond ever created and graded by the GIA.
In the years since its cutting process was finished, the Incomparable appeared in numerous museum exhibitions around the world, most notably The Nature of Diamonds at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1997, Diamants at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris in 2001, and most recently in The Nature of Diamonds, an exhibition that toured The Royal Ontario Museum and the Houston Museum of Science in 2008.
The decision was eventually made to recut the Incomparable to maximize the depth of its color, brighten its hue and improve its shape, resulting in the stone known today as the Golden Canary.
The GIA’s verdict about the stone in its recent monograph is unequivocal: “The re-cut of the Incomparable to the current 303.10-carat pear modified brilliant is to look at the diamond as new; a re-creation bringing to bear the advances in technology, computer modeling and visual evaluation available today. Everything from the orientation of the stone, to its shape and cutting style, has been considered.”
About Yellow Diamonds
Making up a vanishingly small number of all diamonds mined, yellow diamonds are significantly rarer than their colorless counterparts. Fancy yellow diamonds make up just .006% of all diamonds mined, and of these, only a tiny percentage will be internally flawless. With its almost incomprehensible combination of size and saturation, the Golden Canary is quite literally unprecedented.
Notes to Editors:
Sotheby’s has a distinguished and successful history of selling some of the most valuable yellow diamonds in the world, including the record-breaking ‘Graff Vivid Yellow’ – a 100.09-carat cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond– which sold for $16.3 million, a world auction record for a yellow diamond, in Geneva in 2014.
The previous world auction record for a yellow diamond was set by the Sun-Drop diamond (renamed “The Lady Dalal”) – a fancy vivid yellow pear-shaped diamond weighing 110.03 carats – which sold for $12.3 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2011.
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