Â© 2018 Indian Statistical Institute We propose a method for estimating a covariance matrix that can be represented as a sum of a low-rank matrix and a diagonal matrix. The proposed method compresses high-dimensional data, computes the sample covariance in the compressed space, and lifts it back to the ambient space via a decompression operation. A salient feature of our approach relative to existing literature on combining sparsity and low-rank structures in covariance matrix estimation is that we do not require the low-rank component to be sparse. A principled framework for estimating the compressed dimension using Steinâ€™s Unbiased Risk Estimation theory is demonstrated. Experimental simulation results demonstrate the efficacy and scalability of our proposed approach.