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World's largest cut diamond, the 555.55 carat Enigma, to be displayed in Dubai

Sotheby's launches auction process for black diamond whopper, set for early Feb.



Who will decipher 'The Enigma' next? Early February should provide an answer.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Who wants to own ‘The Enigma’ next? A 555.55 carat black diamond – which will have its first public display in Dubai – is up for auction and with a new owner expected to be found early next month. The auction, handled by Sotheby’s, will try and bring investor interest back to traditional assets after 2021 saw new-fangled concepts such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) hogging the limelight.

A base price has been set and will be provided “on request only”, according to Nikita Binani, Sotheby’s Jewellery Specialist and Head of Sale, London. “The diamond is being put up for sale by the current owner (identity has not been revealed) and who has had possession of it for more than two decades.

“The Enigma has never been publicly exhibited – until now.”

Dubai’s DMCC free zone, which established Dubai’s credentials as a global diamond trading hub, will have first dibs in the public unveiling of the diamond, which, in 2006, made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘largest cut diamond in the world’.

No records

The Enigma’s antecedents prior to the 20 years with the current owner are not known. This includes details such as whether it was part of some family’s heirlooms, how many owners has it has had, etc.

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What is known is the fact that ‘carbonado’ black diamonds are not exactly a common natural occurrence. They could date back 2.6 billion to 3.8 billion years, and contain traces of nitrogen and hydrogen “abundant in interstellar space”. They also contain osbornite, which is a mineral unique to meteors.

Such diamonds have been sighted only Brazil and The Central Republic of Africa. “What I can tell you is that we definitely expect to see it fetch one of the top prices,” said Binani. “This is an extremely rare stone – and this will hold its own despite all of the attention that non-traditional (or digital) assets have been getting at auctions.”

Stock - Nikita Binanci of Sotheby's
Image Credit: Supplied

Diamond auction records

As of now, the record for the biggest sums fetched by diamonds at auctions are the $72.2 million for ‘The Pink Star’, $57.6 million for ‘The Oppenheimer Blue’, and $50 million for ‘The Pink Legacy’. But NFT-linked digital art works have entered the auction space, with ‘The Merge’ (done up Pak) selling for $91.8 million.

Last year, however, diamonds - and more traditional art – did find a place among all the digital works. Sotheby’s oversaw the sale of The Key 10138 diamond, which went for $12.3 million at an auction in Hong Kong last year.