For the Third Time in Its History, Christie’s Will Sell One of the World’s Largest Diamonds to Benefit the Red Cross

Proceeds from the sale of the 205-carat Red Cross Diamond at Christie's will go toward the humanitarian organization.

The 205 carat Red Cross Diamond. Courtesy of Christie's.

One of the largest diamonds in the world is coming to auction at Christie’s next month.

The event marks the third time that the auction house will sell the Red Cross Diamond, a historic 205-carat stone. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will go toward the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The piece will be included in Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels sale on May 11 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Representatives from Christie’s did not immediately respond to questions about the diamond’s estimate or what percentage of the proceeds will go toward the humanitarian organization.

“This is the third time in over 100 years for Christie’s to present this extraordinary canary yellow diamond of 205.07 carats,” said François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Europe and head of its luxury department, in a statement. “This is a very special bond and tremendous honor.”

Curiel called the Red Cross a “cause that is even more poignant in the midst of current events.”

The original rough stone, believed to have weighed roughly 375 carats, was unearthed in a De Beers-owned mine in South Africa in 1901. 

It first appeared at Christie’s London in April 1918, in an auction benefiting the Red Cross. The stone sold for £10,000 (or $782,000 today) to London jewelry firm S.J. Phillips, while the entire sale netted £50,000 (approximately $3.9 million today). It came to the auction block again at Christie’s Geneva in November 1973, going for CHF 1.8 million (roughly $4.7 million today).

Christie’s has staged sales in support of the Red Cross on numerous occasions over the last 100 years, many tied to major world crises. Benefit events were held at the auction house during World War I in 1918, World War II in 1940, the Sudanese Civil War in 1986, and the outbreak of wildfires in California in 2018.

Ed Ruscha, <i>(RED)ITION Scarf</i> (2022). Photo: Mauricio Zelaya. Courtesy Gagosian and (RED).

Ed Ruscha, (RED)ITION Scarf (2022). Photo: Mauricio Zelaya. Courtesy Gagosian and (RED).

Gagosian gallery also announced a sale benefiting a humanitarian aid organization today. The gallery is producing a limited run of 500 silk scarves designed by artist Ed Ruscha, each of which bears the phrase “Science Is Truth Found Out,” and is priced at $1,200 a pop. All proceeds will go toward (RED), the organization established by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006, to support its effort in bringing pandemic relief to vulnerable communities around the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match every dollar raised.

The scarf is available for pre-order starting today and will begin shipping in May. 

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