To celebrate with great fanfare its 40th anniversary in Asia, and within the framework of its Magnificent Jewels Fall Sale, Sotheby’s put up for auction, in Hong Kong, a rare one-of-a-kind blue diamond. Known as the Premier Blue, this 7.59 ct. round-cut blue diamond is the first in the category “Fancy Vivid” to come up for auction. (The Gemological Institute of America has a scale of nine categories for evaluating colored diamonds: Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light, Fancy, Fancy Dark, Fancy Intense, Fancy Deeply, and finally, Fancy Vivid.).
The stunning Premier Blue is a perfect gem, born to dazzle. Its round cut is quite common among white diamonds because it maximizes their brilliance. However, due to the high level of waste involved in this type of cut, it is extremely rare to find a color diamond in the Fancy Vivid category.
It is believed that this diamond, which owes its distinctive hue to traces of boron found in its composition, was extracted from the Cullinan mine in South Africa. This mine is internationally recognized and remembered thanks to the 3,106 ct. white diamond found in 1905, the largest and highest quality stone ever discovered.
According to Quek Chin Yeow, president of Sotheby’s International’s Jewelry Division Asia, “the debut of a blue diamond in the Fancy Vivid category such as Premier Blue at auction constitutes a unique opportunity for connoisseurs at the international level”.
The Premier Blue was expected to surpass another famous diamond, the Graff Pink, auctioned by Christie’s in 2010 for a record price of $45.6 million. However, to the surprise of friends and strangers, the singular gem didn’t find a new owner during the much-anticipated event.
Fortunately, Premier Blue was not the only star piece of Sotheby’s auction. The hammer announced the sale of a white 118.28 ct diamond for $30.6 million. The buyer, known only as an “anonymous Asian” broke the record for the highest price ever paid for a white diamond at auction. Chin Yeow said that, at Sotheby’s, we are “very happy to have broken the record for the highest total ever raised during a sale of jewelry in Asia, with a total of $95.5 million.”
Perhaps the Premier Blue did not achieve its goal of becoming the most extraordinary blue diamond ever sold at auction, but it managed to set a trend and put blue diamonds in everyone’s mind.
In fact, a few days later the New York firm Joseph Dumouchelle announced that it would auction a unique blue-gray diamond. Although more modest, this Marquis cut diamond is embedded in a ring together with other 50 small white diamonds.
According to Melinda Aducci, gem expert at Dumouchelle, “the ornamental composition marks a break from the Edwardian and Art Deco periods, but the style of the cut indicates that the central diamond was cut much earlier.”
Although blue diamonds are almost always related to South African mines, it is believed that this unique gem of bluish gray tone could have come from India. ■