Bonhams announced today that it will auction two collections of fancy vivid yellow diamonds, exceptionally well matched in colour from the collection of R.V. Cullinan, son of the famous South African diamond magnate Sir Thomas Cullinan, on December 7.  This is the first time the coloured diamonds have come to auction.

The first lot 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 earflaps featuring brilliant-cut fancy vivid yellow diamonds, weighing 2.08 and 1.93 carats, with 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, asked his friend General Pierre De Villiers, a director of De Beers, to buy him some diamonds on his next visit to Kimberley.”

She goes on to narrate, “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.”

Other lots at the auction include:

A pair of diamond and pearl earrings signed by Cariter featuring 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.

A diamond single-stone ring, weighing 6.53 carats. for sale.  Estimated at £120,000-150,000, the old pear-shaped diamond is G colour, VVS2 clarity.

A diamond ring by Harry Winston, New York, circa 1968, estimated at £180,000-£250,000.

More jewellery by Andrew Grima will be on auction following the success of the September sale of the designer’s jewellery.