ROCK SOLID: Talk about a diamond as big as the Ritz: Geneva-based jeweler De Grisogono celebrated its return to the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris on Friday by unveiling the world’s most expensive rough diamond.
The 813-carat gem, named The Constellation, was discovered in Botswana and purchased in May by the jeweler’s partner, Dubai-based diamond trading company Nemesis International, from mining company Lucara Diamond Corp. for $63 million.
“This is a 100-year event,” John Leitao, chief executive officer of De Grisogono, told a news conference at the Grand Palais.
The stone, which is more than 2.3 inches wide, will be cut in Antwerp and is expected to produce the world’s largest D Flawless diamond, weighing between 300 carats and 350 carats, said Nickolas Polak, international director of Nemesis. “It’s a stone that generates its own energy,” he commented.
Lucara has discovered a number of sizeable stones at its Karowe site, including the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona. That gem failed to sell at an auction held at Sotheby’s in London in June, which was read by the trade as a challenge to the way that large rough stones are usually sold in private deals or tenders to diamond traders.
De Grisogono is one of just four jewelers showing at this edition of the Biennale, alongside Nirav Modi, Cindy Chao and Boghossian, after other leading houses pulled out of the event over disagreements with organizers about the space and location devoted to high jewelry firms.
Fawaz Gruosi, founder and executive board director of De Grisogono, said he had been unable to sleep as he mulls how to set the Constellation. “It’s difficult to do something around it. You want to just leave the queen alone without interference, but that is not in the De Grisogono style,” he mused.
Gruosi on Friday revealed that he was playing with the stone at the De Grisogono suite at the Grand Hyatt Cannes Hôtel Martinez when it was accidentally cleared off the table by a waiter – and later found back in the trash.