"Golden Eye" Diamond

The diamond was as big as a walnut, the yellow flames inside dancing like the embers of a campfire

According to legend, it had come from hell — slow-roasted at the center of the earth, born into light by some poor slave with a face of black dust, and secreted for over a century in the darkness and blood of the South African diamond trade.

Along the way, it had been cut down from the size of an apple to a flawless, 43-carat jewel known as the “Golden Eye”.

The Golden Eye Diamond is a flawless 43.5-carat Canary Yellow diamond, claimed to be the world’s largest of its cut and color. The gem is about an inch long, almost ¾-inch wide and nearly ½-inch deep. It is listed at number four of the top ten notable diamonds. It came from the Kimberley area of South Africa. Tom Moses, a senior vice president with the Gemological Institute of America, agrees that it came from South Africa, however the mine of origin has not been determined.

Prior to its acquisition by Ohio businessman Paul Monea, its history is unclear. The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized the diamond following an undercover investigation of Monea that resulted in his conviction for money laundering and the diamond’s forfeiture to the U.S. government in 2007. It was approved to be auctioned by a federal judge. It will be sold via online auction in September 2011, with a minimum bid of $900,000.

It is believed to be one of the largest internally flawless yellow diamonds, said Jenny Lynch, a spokeswoman for the online auction company Bid4Assets. The company, based in Silver Spring, Md., will auction the diamond next month for the U.S. Marshals Service.

“This is the largest and most valuable diamond that we have auctioned in our company’s 12-year history,” Lynch said. The stone, which has a rectangular brilliant cut crown with 25 facets, is an intense yellow color.

“This precious gem is sure to generate interest worldwide,” Peter Elliot, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, said in a statement.

The diamond auction already has attracted interest in the United States and abroad, said Lisa Black coordinator for the forfeiture unit in the Marshals Service‘s northern Ohio district. After the starting bid of $900,000, bids must increase in increments of $110,000, according to the www.Bid4Assets.com/Diamond43 website, which had more than 9,000 page views for the gem through Friday afternoon
There is a hefty cost to even submit a bid for the diamond.

A refundable deposit of $180,000 is required for viewing the gem in Cleveland the week of Aug. 29-Sept. 2 and for bidding on it during the auction that begins Sept. 6 and ends Sept. 8, Deputy U.S. Marshal Ryan Helfrich said.

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