The Red Cross invests 93.5% of dollars they spend on people in need and, according to Christie’s, a “significant” cut of the $11 million dollars this diamond is expected to bring in on May 11 will, again, be donated to its namesake organization.
Originally 375 carats when unearthed at the Kimberley mine in South Africa in 1901, the 205.07 ct Fancy Intense Yellow, with faint fluorescence, was fashioned as a cushion cut which measures 33.83 x 33.80 x 24.91 mm, with a pavilion distinctively crafted in the shape of a Maltese cross.
Another Diamond C: Charity
The diamond was first auctioned by Christie’s in 1918, selling for £10,000, which would be equivalent to £600,000 ($770,000) today. Proceeds from that inaugural sale benefitted the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John, which fittingly used the Maltese cross as a symbol. Christie’s describes that first iconic sale:
With its famous Maltese Cross through the table and with and unusual phosphorescence, it was presented to a packed saleroom on the 10th of April 1918 by the auctioneer, Mr. Anderson. Starting from £3,000, and after a fierce bidding war, the successful bid from the famous London firm S.J. Phillips made lot 377 achieve the staggering amount of £10,000.
The Red Cross Diamond next appeared at auction in 1973, some 55 years later, sold by Christie’s Geneva in 1973 for CHF 1.8 million, equivalent to $4.3 million today.
On May 11 the striking gemstone will be auctioned for a third time, with a portion of the funds again going to benefit The Red Cross. According to François Curiel of Christie’s Europe:
Supporting humanitarian causes is even more poignant in the midst of current events.
The Red Cross Movement
In 1859 Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman wrote “Un souvenir de Solférino,” a book which advances the concept that a wounded soldier ceases to be an enemy and should be considered as any equal human being in need of help. This created momentum for Dunant and four companions to found the Red Cross Movement in 1863, in Geneva.
Today known as the International Movement of Red Cross and Red Crescent, the movement comprises the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), whose main mission has been to protect and assist victims of armed conflict, along with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) founded in 1919, which mainly coordinate peacetime humanitarian relief efforts around the world, along with some 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.