Largest ever blue diamond set to sell for a record breaking $US45m
2016-04-04
Largest ever blue diamond set to sell for a record breaking $US45m

The largest vivid blue diamond ever put up for auction will go on sale at Christie’s fine art and jewellery auction house in Geneva Switzerland. Dubbed the “Oppenheimer Blue”, the 14.62 carat stone got its name from owner Sir Philip Oppenheimer, whose family controlled De Beers diamond mining and trading company for 80 years before selling their 40 per cent stake for $US5.1 billion to Anglo American in 2012.

The diamond is expected to sell at between US$38 million to US$45 million, and features a “fancy vivid” design, the highest and clearest saturation blue possible.

The auction comes despite a drop in the worldwide market for jewellery. According Euromonitor International prices have fallen by four per cent since 2015, from $US38.5 billion to $US36.9 billion. However, the top of the market has retained resilience through a series of consistent record setting diamond purchases.

In 2008, a deep greyish-blue diamond at Christie’s London was sold to Graff, another London jeweller, for a record breaking $US24.3 million. Graff broke another record in 2010 by purchasing a 24.78 carat pink diamond from Sotheby’s Geneva for $US45.6 million. In 2015, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau set another record by spending $US48.4 million for a fancy blue 12.03 carat diamond at Sotheby’s Geneva.

The Oppenheimer Blue’s sale comes after another potentially record-breaking sale of a 9.54 carat blue diamond, once owned by Shirley Temple, for $35 million at Sotheby’s New York in April.

However the Oppenheimer Blue could still break current records due to its rarity, size, and provenance. The diamond is more than a carat larger than the last record and according to Christie’s, fewer than .0001 per cent of all mined diamonds are blue. In terms of provenance, Oppenheimer was founder of the Central Selling Organisation based in London, a diamond cartel backed by the De Beers, which maintained global prices for over 50 years.

According to Bloomberg Tom Moses, executive vice president of the Gemological Institute of America said, “Achieving the strongest colours in traditional shapes, such as the 15 carat Oppenheimer Vivid Blue can only be achieved with a highly saturated intrinsic colour of the rough diamond.”

“The diamond’s colour and clarity, combined with its traditional cutting style and provenance, is truly remarkable.” 


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