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  • Press release
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  • Geneva
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  • For immediate release
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  • 12 April 2022

Christie’s Presents The Red Cross Diamond

205 Carat Fancy Intense Yellow Diamond
Geneva Magnificent Jewels | 11 May 2022

GENEVA – Christie’s is proud to announce THE RED CROSS DIAMOND, a historically important fancy intense yellow, cushion-shaped diamond of 205.07 carat (estimate on request). A symbol of the altruism and heroism of the world’s largest humanitarian network, this famous diamond will live up to its name with part of the sale revenue to be donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“This is the third time in over 100 years for Christie’s to present this extraordinary canary yellow diamond of 205.07 carats. This is a very special bond and tremendous honour. Part of the proceeds of the sale will benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross, for a cause that is even more poignant in the midst of current events.”, said François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Europe and Head of the Luxury Department.

"For nearly half a century, our family has had the privilege of safeguarding the Red Cross diamond. Since it was first brought to market in 1918, the legacy of this symbol of humanity has always been the support of communities ravaged by war, famine and other hardships endured by people across the world. At this auspicious moment in history, we honour the call others have made before us. In collaboration with Christie's, we are pleased to offer The Red Cross Diamond for sale with a share of the proceeds to be donated to the great institution whose name it bears. We further dedicate this sale to the tireless efforts of the volunteers of the International Committee of the Red Cross and are privileged to support their cause", added the consignor of The Red Cross Diamond. 

The original rough stone was found in 1901 in a De Beers South African mine and is said to have weighed some 375 carats. Besides ranking amongst the largest diamonds in the world, a striking feature of the stone is its pavilion, which is faceted in the shape of a Maltese cross.

On 10 April 1918, the stone was first offered for sale at Christie’s London by the Diamond Syndicate in aid of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John, in the Red Cross Auction. The entire sale raised £50,000 (approximately £3 million+ today) and The Red Cross Diamond, the top lot of the auction, achieved a staggering £10,000 (approximately £600,000+ today) and was purchased by the famous London firm S.J. Phillips.

The Red Cross Diamond appeared for sale once more 55 years later at Christie’s Geneva on 21 November 1973, this time achieving CHF 1.8 million and returned to private ownership.

Now offered for the third time at Christie’s in 104 years, this diamond underlines the close relationships our specialists have maintained with collectors, jewels and charitable organisations since 1766, when Christie’s was founded.

Notes to Editors

Christie’s and the Red Cross

Christie’s and the British Red Cross have a long history of partnering during crises, including during World War I (the Red Cross Pearls) and World War II (the Red Cross Sale).

In 2020, Christie’s donated 500 of its world-class Christie’s Education online courses to support the International Fund Raising Committee of the British Red Cross, offering places on two of their most popular online education courses Art Market Economics and History of Jewellery Design to the British Red Cross to raise funds with their patrons.  Courses also offered for fund raising in the US.

In 2018 Christie’s in the America’s made a donation to the Red Cross on the occasion of the tragic wildfires in California, to assist with their relief work on the ground.

Over the past 100 years Christie’s has conducted auctions to benefit the Red Cross during all major human crises, including the “Red Cross Pearl Appeal” in 1918, the auction of donated jewellery from Great Britain’s Royalty and Aristocracy in 1940, and “The Red Cross Sudan Appeal” in 1986. Throughout the years, Christie’s has often been the auctioneer of choice for the annual Swiss Red Cross Gala Charity event in Geneva.

Global Tour Dates and Locations

Christie’s New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza

Public preview

29 April  10am – 5pm

30 April  10am – 5pm

01 May   1pm – 5pm

Christie’s Geneva, Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues

Public preview

06 May  10am – 6pm

07 May  10am – 6pm

08 May  10am – 6pm

09 May  10am – 6pm

10 May  10am – 6pm

11 May  10am – 12pm

Auction: Wednesday, 11 May 2022 at 4pm (CEST)

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, 2017), for a 20th century artwork (Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, 2022) and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019). Christie's is also recognised as a reference for prestigious single owner collections, having auctioned 8 of the 10 most important collections in history.

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including use of hologram technology to tour life-size 3D objects around the world, and the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.