• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1991

    Jewels: The New York Sale

    16 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 334

    AN UNMOUNTED CUSHION-CUT DIAMOND

    Price Realised  

    Estimate On Request

    AN UNMOUNTED CUSHION-CUT DIAMOND
    Weighing approximately 39.34 carats
    With report 16876363 dated 22 February 2008 from the Gemological Institute of America stating that the diamond is D color, internally flawless clarity, with excellent polish and excellent symmetry

    Accompanied by a supplemental letter stating that the diamond has been determined to be a Type IIa diamond. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure type of diamond and often have exceptional optical transparency. Type IIa diamonds were first identified as originating from India (particularly from the Golconda region) but have since been recovered in all major diamond-producing regions of the world. Among famous gem diamonds, the 530.20 carat Cullinan and the 105.60 carat Koh-i-noor, are examples of Type IIa


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Pre-Lot Text

    The 39.34 carat cushion-cut diamond is an extremely rare and fascinating stone. Graded with D color, internally flawless clarity and designated Type IIa, the stone meets steep criteria. Type IIa diamonds are rare gems of the diamond family which have no traces of the colorant nitrogen. The absence of this element, seen in 98 of diamonds, gives the stone a purity of color and degree of transparency that is observed only in the finest stones originating from the fabled mines of Golconda, Brazil and South Africa.

    In addition to its color, clarity and brilliance, the cut of this stone is paramount. The finish or surface of diamonds is divided into three categories: polish, symmetry and facet survey. Polish considers any surface characteristics that arise from the finishing process. Symmetry refers to the consistency of the shape, the positioning of the facets and the overall balance of the stone. Facet survey is an overall assessment of the number of facets and general appearance of the stone. The diamond achieved an excellent/excellent rating for polish and symmetry showcasing the diamond cutters focused skill.

    There is an obvious comparison between this stone and the famous Polar Star diamond. The Polar Star diamond, named for its eight-pointed star faceting arrangement, was discovered in an alluvial deposit of the Krishna River in India at the end of the 19th century. Renowned for its unsurpassed brilliance and precision cut, it is one of the most famous diamonds in history. The Polar Star passed through the hands of many illustrious owners including Joseph Bonaparte and Princess Tatiana Youssoupoff of the Russian elite. The Youssoupoff family is most remembered for their incredible jewelry collection, affiliation with the Romanovs and involvement in the murder of Rasputin. Prince Felix Youssoupoff fled from Russia during the Revolution, taking the treasured gem with him. It was eventually sold to the House of Cartier and later offered at auction at Christies Geneva in 1980.

    The exquisite cut and soft shape of the 39.34 carat cushion-cut diamond is reminiscent of the Polar Star. Both stones have a limpid transparency to them, extreme brilliance and a sophistication reserved for the finest diamonds. In addition, its precise cut allows it to stand on its perfectly balanced culet just as with the Polar Star. The Polar Star was acquired by a private collector at Christie's Geneva in November 1980 amongst a spirited bidding contest and this beautiful diamond will once again give connoisseurs the opportunity to own a world class gem.