A Fancy Vivid Blue diamond from the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon set two new auction records last Thursday at Sotheby’s New York. The 9.75-carat Fancy Vivid Blue pear-shaped diamond pendant with VVS2 clarity sold for $32,645,000, more than twice its high estimate of $15 million. The Fancy Vivid Blue diamond set a new world auction record total price for any blue diamond and a new world auction record price-per-carat for any diamond — $3,348,205 per carat.
In a bidding war that lasted more than 20 minutes, the spirited field of seven bidders eventually narrowed down to two. The winner was a private collector in Hong Kong who promptly named his new prize “The Zoe Diamond.”
A Woman of Taste
The diamond was the top lot on the first day of a two-day sale of “Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon: Jewels & Objects of Vertu.” Other jewelry pieces in the sale included gems from Verdura, Schlumberger, and Givenchy (all of whom were friends of Mrs. Mellon), as well as jewels by Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Black, Starr & Frost.
Mrs. Mellon, who died in March at the age of 103, was a noted philanthropist and horticulturist from Virginia. Proceeds from the Sotheby’s sale will benefit the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation, a charitable entity established by Mrs. Mellon, known as Bunny, in memory of her father.
The Lambert Foundation supports the Oak Spring Garden Library, Bunny Mellon’s renowned collection of rare books, manuscripts, works of art and artifacts relating to horticulture, landscape design and natural history.
Lisa Hubbard, Chairman, North & South America, Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division, said in a statement: “Sotheby’s has had the honor of presenting the jewelry collections of a number of iconic American women – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Betsey Cushing Whitney, Estée and Evelyn Lauder, Clare Boothe Luce and more…. What distinguishes Mrs. Mellon’s collection is the refined, elegant simplicity – and simplicity absolutely is the hardest thing to do well.”
Click here to see more of Bunny Mellon’s extraordinary jewelry collection, and to learn what each piece realized at auction.