23 Feb 2024 | 4 mins
Film Spotlight: Timeless Appeal In A Renowned Melbourne Location - Forbes
10 Feb 2022 | 4 mins
Sotheby’s sold a 555.55-carat Fancy Black Diamond—believed to have come from outer space—for an astronomical $4.28 million at auction on Tuesday. Bidding closed at £3.2 million, excluding buyer’s premium. This diamond will be offered without reserve.
The Enigma, as it is known, is the largest cut diamond in the world, according to Guinness World Records, with 55 facets. It weighs more than the Great Star of Africa, (530.2 carats), and the Golden Jubilee, (545.67 carats). Rare carbonado type black diamonds are assumed to have extraterrestrial origins because they contain small amounts of nitrogen and hydrogen, and may be more than 2 billion years old.
“The size, shape and source of the Enigma diamond make it groundbreaking and amazing,” says Tobias Kormind, cofounder and managing director of European online jeweler 77 Diamonds. “Apart from being the largest cut diamond in the world, the Enigma is remarkably unusual for additional reasons.”
Traditionally, diamonds are prized for clarity and absence of color. Black carbonados are not normally used in jewelry and mainly used in industrial drilling. But in recent years, several natural black diamonds such as the Black Orlov (67.5 carats), the Amsterdam Diamond (33.74 carats) and now The Enigma have made black diamonds a prized commodity.
The black carbonado diamond’s origins add to the allure of The Enigma, which jewelers and geologists alike have called an unsolved, interstellar mystery. While most diamonds are excavated from igneous rock formed deep within Earth, carbonados are found in sedimentary deposits closer to or on the Earth’s surface. This suggests that black diamonds can have origins in outer space and some believe carbonados were created either from meteoric impact or from supernova explosions.
The Enigma’s exquisite cut and finish added fuel to the final auction price. The original Enigma was purchased in the late 1990s and would have weighed over 800 carats in its rough, freshly unearthed form. It took more than three years to sculpt it into its current shape. According to Sotheby’s, despite its staggering weight, the Enigma is rare because it only has 55 facets, yet has “such a high degree of polish that is almost inconceivable.”
Kormind says that while most diamonds are cut into one of ten popular shapes, the Enigma resembles a hand, another rarity in the jewelry industry. Its shape is a nod to the Middle Eastern palm symbol, the Hamsa, a sign of protection and a tool of deflection against the evil eye; it also represents blessings, power and strength, according to Sotheby’s.
While the final hammer price of The Enigma did not set a record, Kormind says: “What cannot be denied is that The Enigma is a diamond with unparalleled bragging rights.” He adds, “Just imagine revealing to your guests you are the owner of the world’s largest cut diamond.”