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Giant diamond dubbed ‘The Rock’ going up for auction

A Christie's auction house staff member displays for the media a giant diamond nicknamed "The Rock," in Dubai. Karim Sahib/Getty Images

A giant white diamond called “The Rock” went on display for the first time Friday, more than 20 years after it was first mined and polished. After a brief, worldwide display tour, the diamond will go up for auction when it’s expected to be sold for up to $30 million.

The pear-shaped mega-gem is 228.31 carats and was discovered in South Africa. Auction house Christie’s says it the largest white diamond that has ever been put up for auction.

A Christie’s auction house staff member cradles a giant diamond nicknamed “The Rock,” in his hands. Karim Sahib/Getty Images

The Rock is currently being displayed at Christie’s Dubai. After March 29, it will make its way to showrooms in Taipei and New York. It will be auctioned by Christie’s on May 11 at its final stop in Geneva.

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Rahul Kadakia, the international head of jewelry at Christie’s, explained why Dubai is the first stop on the gem’s world tour.

“The Middle East has always had such a great appreciation for important jewels and gemstones,” he said via AFP. “We thought it would be nice for us to launch the diamond in an area where there are so many great collectors for important gems of this nature.”

A giant diamond nicknamed “The Rock” on display at Christie’s auction house in Dubai. Karim Sahib/Getty Images

Christie’s said in a statement that The Rock is the “largest existing D-Z color pear-shaped diamond ever graded” by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

The D-Z grading system is used to measure white diamonds, with D being colourless and Z having a light colour.

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According to Christie’s, the GIA graded it as having a “G color, VS1 clarity.” That means The Rock is near colourless (G color) and has very slight (VS1 clarity) internal blemishes called inclusions. The GIA grades a diamond as having VS1 clarity if inclusions are visible but appear minor under 10x magnification.

Overall, it’s a very pristine diamond.

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The former record-holder for the largest white diamond to go up for auction was a 163.41 carat gem that sold for $33.7 million in November 2017. It had a D colour rating — deemed near flawless by the GIA — and was also sold by Christie’s.

Earlier this year, Sotheby’s claimed the prestige of selling the largest-cut diamond. The 555.55 carat black diamond called “The Enigma” sold for $4.3 million in London.

“The Enigma” is a carbonado diamond, one of the toughest types of naturally occurring diamonds.

Carbonados contain the mineral osbornite, which has only been found in meteors, leading some to believe The Enigma has extra-terrestrial origins.

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