Photo credit: Sotheby's

102 carat diamond sells for $15.7 million, breaking records

A private, anonymous collector bidding by phone from Japan is the new owner of the first high-value item of its kind ever offered “without reserve” by Sotheby’s.

Originally a 271 carat rough diamond unearthed in 2018 at the Victor Mine in Ontario, Canada, it was cut into this 102.39 carat D Flawless oval shape by Diacore. The planning and fashioning of the finished diamond took nearly a year.

A tale of two daughters

According to Sotheby’s, the 102 carat diamond has been named the “Maiko Star,” after the Japanese collector’s second daughter. The same bidder purchased another significant diamond at auction last year; another D Flawless oval cut weighing 88 carats which he named the “Manami Star,” after his first born daughter.

Patti Wong, chair of Sotheby’s Asia said:

This extraordinary gem needed no help from a pre-sale estimate or reserve to reach its rightful price – just the instinctive desire of collectors to own one of the earth’s greatest treasures. We are grateful to Diacore for their trust and confidence in allowing us to offer this diamond without reserve, the result for which testifies not just to the importance of this diamond, but to the market for diamonds more broadly.

Offered without reserve

A no-reserve auction is one where the item is sold regardless of final price. The starting bid was merely HK$1. If no others had entered bids it would have been sold for a song. From a seller’s perspective, having no reserve price can be desirable because it potentially attracts a greater number of bidders due to the possibility of a bargain. However, there’s risk involved as well, since disinterest could result in a final price which is lower than needed for the seller to recoup expenses.

In this case, with such a significant diamond, the tour of viewings hosted in several cities, and a combination of live and online bidding, the price quickly soared to over HK $100 million ($13 million USD), with the gavel falling at HK $122,562,000 ($15,694,870 USD).

Photo credit: Sotheby’s

Read more about this landmark diamond’s pedigree and significance in our prior GemBlog coverage: This 102.39 carat D Flawless diamond will make history.

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Angi Butler

Angi's first career was in diamond, gemstone and fashion jewelry sales. Now a corporate executive, she shares her advice and opinions on these pages.

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