By Calvin Palmer
A rare uncut diamond has set a record price at auction in South Africa, mining company Petra Diamonds announced today.
The Cullinan Heritage diamond, which was discovered last year, was sold for $35.3m (£23.1m) to a Hong Kong-based jewellery company Chow Tai Fook.
The 507.5 carat diamond, described as being the size of a chicken’s egg, is one of the largest diamonds ever discovered.
It was found at the Cullinan mine near Pretoria in South Africa in September last year, along with a 168-carat stone and two others of 58 carats and 53 carats respectively.
Petra said that record price reflected the “incredible rarity” of stone based on its “remarkable size” and “exceptional colour and clarity”.
“It is fitting that the Cullinan Heritage should achieve a sale price of $35.3 million, the highest sale price on record ever achieved for a rough diamond, as it has the potential to produce one of the world’s most important polished gems,” said Johan Dippenaar, Petra’s chief executive.
Chow Tai Fook has not announced what it intends to do with the diamond.
The largest diamond to be discovered, named the Cullinan, was 3,106 carats. It was found in the same mine in 1905 and cut into nine separate stones. Two of them — the Great Star of Africa and Lesser Star of Africa — form part of the British Crown Jewels.