A collection of extremely rare Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds with a provenance hailing from the Cullinan family will headline Bonhams London Fine Jewellery sale on December 7.
Bonhams said it is the first time the colored diamonds have come to auction.
The fancy colored diamond and diamond brooch from the Cullinan collection consists of three step-cut Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds, weighing 5.29, 3.11 and 2.37 carats, estimated at £200,000-£300,000.
The second lot is a pair of fancy coloured diamond and diamond earclips. The brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds, weighing 2.08 and 1.93 carats, have a pre-sale estimate of £50,000-80,000.
Jean Ghika, Bonhams Director of Jewellery for UK & Europe, explains: “The diamonds were acquired in 1940 during a train journey when the present owner’s father-in-law, R.V. Cullinan, son of the famous South African diamond magnate Sir Thomas Cullinan, asked his friend General Pierre De Villiers, a director of De Beers, to buy him some diamonds on his next visit to Kimberley. On the train back from the De Beers mine at Kimberley, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer asked General De Villiers “What have you got this time?” The General retrieved a packet from his pocket and proudly showed Sir Ernest, who replied “I can do better than that” and showed the General a set of yellow diamonds. A deal was struck. The diamonds were then purchased by the General, who kept half, and the other half were given to R.V. Cullinan. These are the diamonds which we will be offering for sale.
“It’s important to remember that only one in approximately 10,000 of all diamonds mined has a fancy color. Fancy Vivid yellow diamonds are some of the rarest in the world and the best examples are prized for their extraordinary vibrant tone and sun-like hue. They are increasingly sought after and we anticipate that they will attract a lot of interest from discerning collectors around the world.”
Bonhams will also be offering a pair of fancy colored diamond, diamond and cultured pearl earrings, signed by Cartier. The Fancy Intense purplish pink cushion-shaped diamonds, weighing 1.01 and 1.01 carats, each suspending a detachable drop-shaped cultured pearl and brilliant-cut diamond, are estimated at £100,000-120,000.
There will also be a diamond single-stone ring, weighing 6.53 carats, and a diamond panel bracelet dated circa 1955. The wide articulated buckle-shaped strap with openwork detail is set throughout with old brilliant, brilliant and baguette-cut diamonds in a repeating geometric design.