The world’s biggest known cut diamond was unveiled to the public for the first time on Monday, ahead of its planned sale for $5 million. The rare black carbanado diamond known as the Enigma was on show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. According to Sotheby’s auction house jewellery specialist Sophie Stevens, the diamond was produced when a meteorite or an asteroid collided with the Earth more than 2.6 billion years ago. The 555.55-carat diamond, one of the hardest substances to cut, has never been exhibited by its unknown owner in the last 20 years, yet professionals transformed it into a 55-face jewel.
Its design was inspired by the Hamsa, a palm-shaped emblem of strength and protection from the Middle East that is also linked to the number five. The jewel, which holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest cut diamond, is “very different,” according to Stevens. Sotheby’s Dubai has showcased a diamond that is simply out of this world.
Sotheby’s refers to the 555.55-carat black diamond, which is said to have originated from space, as “The Enigma.”
The rare jewel was exhibited to media on Monday as part of a tour through Dubai and Los Angeles before it is auctioned off in London in February.
Sotheby’s anticipates that the diamond will fetch at least 5 million British pounds (USD 6.8 million). The auction company intends to take cryptocurrencies as payment as well. According to Sophie Stevens, a jewelry consultant at Sotheby’s Dubai, the number five is significant to the diamond, which has 55 facets as well.
“The diamond’s shape is based on the Middle Eastern palm symbol of the Khamsa, which represents strength and protection,” she explained. Khamsa is an Arabic word that means “five.”
“There’s a nice number five theme running throughout the diamond,” she noted. The black diamond, according to Stevens, is most likely from space.
“We believe that the carbonado diamonds were formed by extraterrestrial origins, with meteorites colliding with the Earth and either forming chemical vapor disposition or indeed coming from the meteorites themselves,” she explained. Carbonado, or black diamonds, are exceedingly uncommon and only found naturally in Brazil and Central Africa. Their carbon isotopes and high hydrogen levels support the cosmic origin idea.
The Key 10138 diamond was sold for $12.33 million in Hong Kong last year, and the price was paid in cryptocurrencies.
In a separate event, the star lot at auction house Sotheby’s semi-annual jewellery sale in the Swiss city on Nov. 10 is an orange-pink diamond weighing 25.62 carats, valued at 3.6 million to 5.38 million Swiss francs ($3.9 million to $5.9 million), set in a ring. “It’s a beautiful crystal, it’s a fantastic colour with a little bit of orange but not too much, so it’s a very subtle colour,” Olivier Wagner, head of sale and jewellery specialist at Sotheby’s Geneva, told Reuters in the showroom of a lakeside hotel. “The market is currently very dynamic, and people are very eager to buy jewellery today and to buy something tangible that they can enjoy,” says the expert.