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In Chinese Culture, 88 - the number of carats, is a symbol of perfection and eternity.

At its upcoming Hong Kong Sale of Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite on April 2, Sotheby’s will be offering an 88.22-carat, flawless diamond as the top lot. According to the auction house, the 88.22-carat, D Color, Flawless, Type Ila, oval brilliant diamond is estimated to fetch between $11.2 million and $12.7 million.

In a press release, Sotheby’s said that the diamond is “one of the only three oval diamonds over 50 carats to appear at auction in living memory, and the largest to be auctioned in over five years”.

Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, said: “When you think that one ton of mined earth yields less than a carat of diamond, and that high quality diamonds over 10 carats are a rarity, the discovery of a 242-carat rough, of gem quality and exceptional size, is nothing short of a miracle …]”.

David Bennett, Worldwide Chairman of the International Jewelry Division, said that the stone is “breathtaking” and added: “Barely any diamonds of this weight are known to possess the same exceptional qualities of purity and perfection as this remarkable stone which is so full of fire and blinding brilliance”.

Few diamonds are ever sold at auction that have more than 50 carats and have all of the flawless qualities of this new diamond, according to Forbes. It is said to be one of only three oval-shaped diamond over 50 carats to ever appear at auction, and the largest to be auctioned off in over five years.

The stone was discovered in the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, where it was cut from a 242-carat rough stone. The mine is jointly owned by De Beers and the government of Botswana and has been known for producing high-quality rough diamonds.

The diamond’s type Ila designation means that it is one of the rarest and purest diamonds available. These diamonds have very little or no nitrogen atoms in their crystal structure. They comprise fewer than two percent of all gem diamonds.

The number of carats, 88, is a symbol of perfection and eternity, often associated with prosperity and luck in China and other Asian cultures, Sotheby’s says. “The Chinese pronunciation of 8 (bā), similar to that of 發 (fā) meaning wealth or fortune, is welcomed as a blessing of affluence. In its duality - 88 – it is believed to bring good wishes in abundance. There is also a visual resemblance between 88 and 囍 (literally: ‘double joy’), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (‘joy’).”

So it seems appropriate that the diamond will be offered in Hong Kong.

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