Auctions

The Golden Canary: World’s Largest Flawless Diamond to be Auctioned

The historic diamond is set to highlight Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York.

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golden canary yellow diamond
Photo Credit: Cedric Ribeiro

Sotheby’s has unveiled to the world another once-in-a-lifetime diamond. The Golden Canary Diamond, weighing a colossal 303.10 carats and Fancy Deep Brownish-Yellow in color. The diamond is one of the largest polished diamonds in the world and the largest flawless or internally flawless diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. 

Only five diamonds have ever been discovered that could match the size of this breathtaking diamond. If you think adding another diamond to that historical list sounds too good to be true, then you would be correct. The Golden Canary Diamond was, in fact, recut from one of those five diamonds with an incredible history. 

golden canary yellow diamond largest flawless
Photo Credit: Cedric Ribeiro

Formerly weighing just over 407 carats as the famous “Incomparable Diamond,” The Golden Canary has been recut from its original shield shape into a more traditional pear shape and is now deeper in color, brighter in hue, and more classic in profile.

The Golden Canary is set to highlight Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on December 7, with an estimate in the region of $15 million, and offered without reserve, with bidding starting at just $1.  

Quig Bruning, Head of Jewellery for Sotheby’s America’s commented, “We have had an exceptional year of presenting extraordinary colored diamonds at our global Jewellery auctions, as the demand and appetite for these rarities continue to grow. Just two weeks after the record-breaking sale of the Williamson Pink Star for $57.7 million, we are honored to offer the largest polished diamond in present existence to appear at auction. Steeped in history, The Golden Canary is one of the most exquisite diamonds to ever be discovered, not only for its sheer size and intensity in color but for its stunning beauty that is sure to captivate collectors around the world. Sotheby’s is privileged to help write the next chapter for this incomparable, reborn gem.” 

The history of this famous diamond began in the 1980s when it was initially found amongst a pile of rubble by a young girl playing in the backyard of her uncle’s house. At the time, miners from the nearby MIBA diamond mine had considered it too bulky to be a diamond and had discarded it. Little did the miners know that rubble turned out to be an 890-carat rough diamond, the fourth largest the world has ever seen. The girl gave the stone to her uncle, who, in turn, sold it to local diamond dealers. Over the next five years, the rough diamond was cut into 15 finished stones. The rough diamond could have been finished into the largest cut diamond in the world but instead was reduced to 407.48 carats to prioritize its color and clarity. The finished product was the third largest cut diamond to exist, The Incomparable Diamond, a Fancy Deep Brownish-Yellow wonder. The shield-shaped step cut, with its unusually shaped facets and small table, preserved much of the shape and bulk of the original rough and was the largest internally flawless or flawless cut diamond ever created and graded by the GIA.

The 407.48 carat Incomparable Diamond set in a necklace by Mouawad Jeweller

The diamond was first presented to the public in 1984 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, displayed alongside the world’s most legendary diamonds. Since then, it has appeared in numerous museum exhibitions around the world. The Incomparable Diamond has most recently been set in a diamond necklace by Swiss Jeweller , Mouawad, and considered by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013 to be the most valuable necklace in the World. 

The owners of The Incomparable recently made the decision to recut the diamond to maximize the depth of its color, brighten its hue and improve its shape, resulting in the diamond unveiled today, the Golden Canary. Modern technology and cutting techniques made it possible to improve upon the original cut, although losing quite a lot of carat weight.The GIA’s verdict about the stone in its recent monograph is unequivocal: “The recut of the Incomparable to the current 303.10-carat pear modified brilliant is to look at the diamond as new; a re-creation bringing to bear the advances in technology, computer modeling and visual evaluation available today.” 

The historic and largest flawless diamond will be showcased on a worldwide tour beginning in Sotheby’s galleries in Dubai. It will then travel to cities including Taipei, Geneva, and Hong Kong before the auction in New York.