Will the Real ‘Largest Yellow Diamond’ Please Stand Up?

February 24th, 2013 by Noam Flint

At least two yellow stones are competing for the title of the biggest and most expensive yellow diamond in the world. Who will be champion?

Tiffany Yellow Diamond

Tiffany Yellow Diamond
(picture Wikipedia)

When you’re trying to sell a diamond, it’s quite all right to slather on the superlatives. Flip through a thesaurus and affix any adjective you like: alluring, beautiful, classy… and many more, almost all the way to Z (I can’t think of anything descriptive to say about diamonds that starts with the letters X,Y, or Z). There’s no widely accepted way to calculate “lovely” and there’s no scientific method to measure “magnificent”. So feel free to adorn your diamond with descriptive words, without fear of running afoul of the vocabulary cops. There’s only one caveat: be very careful with the word “largest”.

This past week, the Armenian Jewelers Association proudly put on display in Paris a gemstone they are claiming is the world’s “largest yellow diamond”. The stone is certainly stunning, as these photos in Vogue Magazine visually attest to. Set in rose gold and enveloped in an elegant web of hundreds of small white diamonds, the Asscher-cut gem certainly ranks as one of the most beautifully mounted large rocks. And at 110 carats, it’s position in the top five largest yellow stones is unchallenged. But the very “largest yellow diamond” in the world? Sotheby’s may have something to say about that.

In November 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland, Reuters reported that Sotheby’s sold a 110.03-carat pear-shaped yellow stone dubbed the “Sun-Drop Diamond“, discovered only a year previous in South Africa, for $10.9 million. Those .03 carats would seem to put the Sun Drop over the top. Furthermore, the infamous Tiffany Yellow Diamond, also discovered in South Africa but more than 130 years previous, leaves both of these candidates in the dust. The stone, which originally weighed over 287 carats, was cut down to 128.54 carats and so it remains to this day – over 16% larger than the new contender for the crown.

So sorry, Armenia: we really appreciate the nine months that your two dozen artisans spent creating the perfect setting for this spectacular stone. Take pride in your yellow diamond’s bronze medal. But please keep your publicists in check!