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303ct. Golden Canary Sets Sales Soaring at Sotheby’s

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LEAH MEIROVICH • 08-12-2022

The 303.10-carat Golden Canary fetched $12.4 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels in New York on Wednesday, becoming the third most valuable yellow diamond ever sold at auction, the company reported.

The pear-shaped, fancy-deep-brownish-yellow stone is the world’s largest known internally flawless diamond. It is also the largest flawless or internally flawless diamond graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Sotheby’s said Thursday.  The auction house offered the piece without reserve, but predicted it would bring in more than $15 million.

The diamond was initially discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the early 1980s. Originally called the Incomparable Diamond, the stone was recut from its previous 407-carat shield shape to deepen the color and brighten the hue.

“The Golden Canary captivated me from the moment I saw it — with its monumental size, golden hue and impeccable clarity — it is truly an extraordinary diamond with immense presence,” said Quig Bruning, head of jewelry for the Americas at Sotheby’s.

Another stone that packed a punch was the 5.27-carat Colombian emerald salvaged from the fabled Nuestra Señora de Atocha shipwreck of 1622 after nearly 400 years in the depths of the ocean. The jewel was given to author and philanthropist Mitzi Perdue as an engagement ring by her husband Frank Perdue, CEO of the Perdue chicken empire. After a five-minute “bidding frenzy” among 18 potential buyers, the emerald sold for $1.2 million, more than 17 times its high estimate of $70,000. Perdue will donate the proceeds to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.


The 5.27-carat emerald salvaged from the Nuestra Señora de Atocha shipwreck

In total, the December 7 sale garnered $50 million, with 81% of items on offer finding buyers.

Here are the other top sellers:


This emerald-cut, 25.03-carat, D-color, internally flawless, type IIa diamond sold for $93,847 per carat. The total price of $2.3 million was within the presale estimate of $2 million to $3 million.


A New York-based buyer purchased a ring bearing a cushion-cut, 16.46-carat Kashmir sapphire and diamonds for $2.2 million. The piece surpassed its $1.6 million high estimate.


A cushion-shaped, 12.23-carat Burmese ruby and diamond ring sold for $1.6 million, against a presale estimate of $1.2 million to $1.8 million.


This Egyptian Revival bracelet by Lacloche Frères features diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Created in 1925, it has three panels with depictions of Pharaoh and a kneeling scribe, a winged sun disk and royal scepters, and the Egyptian goddess Nekhbet. The piece brought in $1.2 million, within its $1 million to $1.5 million estimate.

Main image: The Golden Canary diamond. (Sotheby’s)

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