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Sotheby's Sells The Enigma: The Largest Cut Sone ever Auctioned

The 555-carat black diamond of possible cosmic origin

  • Nikita Binani

    Nikita Binani

A black diamond worthy of Guinness World Records (it appeared in the 2006 edition) is about to be auctioned at Sotheby's, the London auction house, from 3rd to 9th February. Larger than other well-known specimens such as the Great Star of Africa, the 530.20-cart “Cullinan I” or the 545.67-carat Golden Jubilee Diamond.
The Enigma, as this rarity is called, is a Fancy Black carbonado diamond weighing 555.55 carats (54.13x44.86x32.25 mm) with 55 facets. «The largest faceted-cut diamond of any kind ever to appear at auction,» explained Nikita Binani, Sotheby's deputy director and jewelry specialist.

«Historically, black diamonds have been much less appreciated than their pink, blue or yellow counterparts and have largely only been sought after by experienced collectors. Recently, however, the popularity of black diamonds has increased as more and more collectors have come to appreciate their beauty and rarity.»
That is why Sotheby's expects that the uniqueness, combined with the extreme rarity of the stone, will have a wide appeal beyond the pool of traditional diamond and jewelry collectors. Given its possible cosmic origins, the diamond could, in fact, be appreciated as an object able to arouse the curiosity of many.

With its delicate cut and precise polishing, the shape of this stone is reminiscent of the Middle Eastern symbol of Hamsa, which means protection, luck and strength. However, the origins of the diamond are shrouded in mystery, hence the name The Enigma. It is even thought that a meteoric impact or an asteroid containing diamonds collided with the Earth and created the stone, making it one of the hardest diamonds in the world.

So, how much is it worth? «The Enigma will be put up for auction without reserve with a quote available on request,» Binani explains. «In the past, faceted black diamonds have sold for prices in excess of £10,000 per carat. Nevertheless, the uniqueness of The Enigma, with its extraordinary size and quality, make the stone a unique event on the market and, as such, incomparable in many respects to previous specimens offered. Furthermore, its carbonado shape, superb polish and brilliance, the fact that it is cut and polished, which is already a technical feat in itself, and the possibility that it may contain small red diamond crystals, all contribute to The Enigma’s value. We therefore expect this unique piece and phenomenon of nature to be priced at £3 - 5 million within today's robust market.» 


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