THE RED CROSS DIAMOND
A SUPERB COLOURED DIAMOND
THE RED CROSS DIAMOND
A SUPERB COLOURED DIAMOND
THE RED CROSS DIAMOND
A SUPERB COLOURED DIAMOND
1 More
THE RED CROSS DIAMOND
A SUPERB COLOURED DIAMOND
4 More
This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules an… Read more Property of an Important Private Collector
THE RED CROSS DIAMOND A SUPERB COLOURED DIAMOND

Details
THE RED CROSS DIAMOND
A SUPERB COLOURED DIAMOND
Fancy intense yellow cushion modified brilliant-cut diamond of 205.07 carats

GIA, 2021, report no. 6213456988: 205.07 carats, Fancy Intense Yellow, natural colour, VS2 clarity
Accompanied by the Red Cross GIA Monograph

Size/Dimensions: 33.83 x 33.80 x 24.91 mm
Gross weight: 41.14 grams
Provenance
Christie's, Geneva, November 1973, lot 772
Christie's, London, April 1918, lot 377
Literature
I.Balfour, Famous Diamonds, Christie's Books, London, 1997, p. 224
The Diamond Dictionary of the Gemological Institute of America, Gemological Institute of America California, 1996, p. 241
L. L. Copeland, Diamonds Famous, Notable and Unique, Gemological Institute of America, 1974
J. Y. Dickinson, The World of Diamonds, Dover Publications Inc., 1965
Wonderful Red Cross Diamond, Vulcan Advocate, May 1918, Vol.V, No. 4
The Red Cross Diamond, one of the Great Jewels of the World, The Times, London, 12 February 1918
Special notice

This lot is subject to standard Swiss VAT rules and 7.7% VAT will be charged on the ‘hammer’ and the ‘buyer’s premium’
Christie's has provided a minimum price guarantee and has a direct financial interest in this lot. Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold. See the Important Notices in the Conditions of Sale for more information.
Please note, this lot requires a high value paddle for bidding. Should you wish to bid on these lots, please contact: Client Services, infoswitzerland@christies.com
Post lot text
SHOULD YOU WISH TO BID ON THIS LOT, YOU WILL BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A HIGH VALUE PADDLE.

Brought to you by

Max Fawcett
Max Fawcett Head of Department

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Lot Essay

THE RED CROSS MOVEMENT

24 June 1859, Solferino, Italy
Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman, having witnessed the pain and suffering caused by war during the Battle of Solferino, wrote “Un souvenir de Solférino”: a renowned book in which he develops the idea that a hurt soldier ceases to be an enemy and should be considered as any equal human being in need of help; the foundations of neutrality and volunteering.

Visions of hurt soldiers and sick individuals haunted Henry Dunant and caused him, alongside four other companions (Gustave Moynier, General Guillaume- Henri Dufour, Louis Appia and Théodore Maunoir), to found the Red Cross movement in 1863, Geneva.

The Red Cross movement evolved quickly and expanded its work throughout different nations to become the most important group of humanitarian organisations worldwide, today known as the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent. The movement comprises the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) founded in 1863, whose main mission has been to protect and assist victims of armed conflict, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) founded in 1919, which mainly coordinate peacetime humanitarian relief efforts around the world, and over 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Since its foundation by Henry Dunant, the mission of the movement has been to prevent and alleviate human pain and suffering around the world and at all times, ensuring respect for the human being, protecting its life and its health. This mission is guided by strong and deep fundamental principles which are shared among all Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations: humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality.

Due to the First World War, the years 1914 to 1918 led to a strong development of national societies of the Red Cross. The outstanding wartime work delivered by the movement during these difficult times, were recognized in 1917 by being awarded the only Nobel Peace Prize between 1914 to 1918.

The International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent is the oldest humanitarian network still existent after the Maltese Order. Ironically, both these “crosses” are seen in the heart of this historic diamond, coincidentally baptised: The Red Cross.


HISTORY OF THE RED CROSS DIAMOND


It was 1901 when a rough ‘canary’ diamond weighing between 370 and 380 carats was unearthed in the Grinqualand mines, South Africa. Formerly a British colony, these diamond mines were discovered in the 1870s and quickly became productive pits under De Beers' control.

Bought later by The Diamond Syndicate, this fancy intense yellow first appeared in 1918 at Christie’s London, during the Red Cross charity auction.

Annually held during the First World War from 1915 to 1918, the Red Cross sales were the most important charity events of that time, raising more than £320,000 (equivalent to approx. £19 million today) along the years. It was during the last auction that many people across the United Kingdom donated necklaces, brooches, rings, and other important jewellery pieces, among which was the exceptional Red Cross diamond.

With its famous Maltese Cross through the table and with and unusual phosphorescence, it was presented to a packed saleroom on the 10th of April 1918 by the auctioneer, Mr. Anderson. Starting from £3,000, and after a fierce bidding war, the successful bid from the famous London firm S.J. Phillips made lot 377 achieve the staggering amount of £10,000.

As a magnificent sale highlight, the Red Cross diamond helped raise the astonishing sum of £35,575 in just one day.

55 years later, in 1973, this remarkable stone reappeared at Christie’s Geneva achieving CHF1,8 million, and Christie’s is honoured to be offering it once more 104 years since the 1918 Red Cross auction.
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