2023’s Biggest, Most Valuable and Most Buzzworthy Diamonds


As with every year, we have compiled our list of the diamonds that made headlines in 2023, including five rough stones that miners unearthed and five polished pieces that appeared at auction.

We’ve also given an “honorable mention” to a few diamonds that don’t compete for size or value but stood out for us. Plus: four stones that created a buzz, either for their uniqueness or for their importance in the lab-grown sector.

In an impressive 12 months for mining and auctions, these are the diamonds that rocked our world.

Roughing it: The five biggest mining discoveries

Lucara Diamond Corp. recovered this 1,080.1-carat rough from its Karowe mine in Botswana in August. The massive white, type IIa diamond marked the miner’s fourth find over 1,000 carats in eight years.

Lucara grabbed the second spot with another huge gem found later that month — a 692.3-carat, white, type IIa diamond, also unearthed from the south lobe, an area of Karowe known for its large, high-quality rough.

A 390.7-carat diamond from Alrosa’s Mayat mine in Yakutia nabbed the third position. Found in September, the irregularly shaped, light-colored stone is bordered by a yellow-brown halo, and is the largest gem-quality rough Alrosa has dug up in Russia in 10 years.

Lucapa Diamond Company takes fourth place with a 235-carat rough discovered at its Lulo mine in Angola in November. The high-quality, type IIa white diamond is the second largest the deposit has yielded.

Lulo provided a bevy of big stones this year for Lucapa, including this 208-carat, high-quality, white, type IIa rough, also found in November at the lizeria, or floodplain, area of the mine.

Honorable mention: In July, Gem Diamonds retrieved this 163.91-carat, “impressive” yellow diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, marking its second stone over 100 carats found in 2023.

Honorable mention: Storm Mountain Diamonds located a 108.39-carat fancy-intense-pink, type IIa diamond at its Kao mine in Lesotho in March. The company, a joint venture between Namakwa Diamonds and the Lesotho government, claims it is one of the largest pink diamonds ever unearthed.

Polished off: The most valuable diamonds at auction

Christie’s sold this ring featuring a pear-shaped, 17.61-carat, fancy-vivid-blue, internally flawless diamond at its Geneva Magnificent jewels auction in November. The Bleu Royal was not only the most expensive auction jewel of 2023, raking in $44 million, but also the largest diamond of its color and clarity ever to appear at auction.

This cushion-cut, 10.57-carat, fancy-vivid-purplish-pink, internally flawless diamond was the highlight of the Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels auction in June. The Eternal Pink, the most valuable stone of its color to feature at auction, brought in $34.8 million.

While the radiant-cut, 11.28-carat Infinite Blue diamond fell short of its low estimate at a one-off Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction, it still ranked as the third-most-valuable diamond sold at auction this year, fetching $25.3 million.

Raking in $25.2 million, the fourth spot goes to the Bulgari Laguna Blu, a pear-shaped, 11.16-carat, fancy-vivid-blue diamond that led Sotheby’s May Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale.

The Peace of Light diamond, a pear brilliant-cut, 126.76-carat, D-color, internally flawless stone, topped Christie’s Magnificent Jewels in New York, earning $13.6 million. The stone, which was previously owned by the Zale family, was offered without reserve.

Honorable mention: This cut-cornered rectangular modified brilliant-cut, 20.19-carat, fancy-intense-pink diamond is Phillips’s first entry on this list. The stone sold for $13.2 million at the auction house’s inaugural Geneva jewelry sale in November.

Creating buzz: Stones that got people talking

De Beers discovered this diamond containing a separate, free-moving diamond inside it in April. The stone, which originated from one of the company’s mines in Botswana, was named the Beating Heart.

The Estrela de Fura, a 55.22-carat Mozambique ruby, sold for $34.8 million at the June Magnificent Jewels auction at Sotheby’s New York, setting a world-record auction price for any colored gemstone.

This emerald-cut, 50.25-carat, G-color, VS2-clarity stone, created by India-based Ethereal Green, is the largest polished lab-grown diamond in history, according to the International Gemological Institute (IGI), which graded it in June.

7.5-carat lab-grown diamond created by Greenlab became the talk of the town when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented it to US First Lady Jill Biden during a state visit.

Source Rapaport

Main image: A model holding the Eternal Pink diamond. (Sotheby’s)