The largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever offered at auction set a world record at Christie’s Geneva on May 18. After a 25-minute bidding war by phone, the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue Diamond became the world’s most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, selling for $57.5 million.
Christie’s had estimated the Oppenheimer Blue Diamond at $38 million to $45 million, but it smashed the record of $48.4 million achieved just last November for a 12.03-carat Fancy Blue diamond, the Blue Moon, at Sotheby’s Geneva.
What Makes The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond So Special?
There are several factors that contributed to the Oppenheimer Blue Diamond’s world-record sale. First, by nature of its color, the Oppenheimer Blue is beyond rare. Less than .0001 percent of all diamonds mined are blue, according to Christie’s and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Second, it is classified as a Fancy Vivid Blue diamond, the highest color saturation grading given by the GIA for blue diamonds.
Third, it is large: The Oppenheimer Blue diamond is more than a carat larger than the previous world record-holder.
Fourth, it has an intriguing provenance, or history. The Oppenheimer Blue was named for its former owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, who founded the London-based Central Selling Organization, the De Beers-backed diamond cartel that maintained global prices for more than half a century.
A man in Mr. Oppenheimer’s position could have had his pick of any diamond in the world, and he chose this one. There is no doubt this special provenance factored into the Oppenheimer Blue’s desirability.
The Year of the Blue Diamond
In the past year, blue diamonds have achieved unprecedented popularity among collectors who recognize their beauty, rarity and investment potential. In addition to the Oppenheimer Blue and the Blue Moon, a 10.10-carat blue diamond brought $31.8 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in April. Named the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4, it is the largest oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever to come to auction.
On June 9, Christie’s hopes to continue its blue streak, when a 24.18-carat Fancy Intense Blue diamond dubbed the Cullinan Dream is expected to sell in the range of $23 to $29 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in New York.
According to National Jeweler, the Cullinan Dream is the largest of four blue diamonds cut from a 122.52-carat piece of rough discovered at the Cullinan mine in South Africa in 2014.
So look to OBJ for more blue diamond news in the weeks and months to come!
Can’t get enough diamond news? Here’s another article about the blue diamonds, in case you missed it.
Sources: GIA.org; NationalJeweler.com; Christies.com; Sothebys.com