Blue Diamonds: A look at the world’s stunning coloured gems
A remarkable discovery of one of the largest and most valuable blue diamonds in the world was recently unearthed and will be gracing the auction block at Sotheby’s Hong Kong this month. With much excitement expected to ensue, the De Beers Cullinan Blue Diamond, mined in 2021 in the Cullinan Mine in South Africa (one of the few sources in the world for extremely rare blue diamonds), is expected to captivate the crowd with its astonishing colour, cut, clarity and carat.
Weighing at 15.10-carat, the internally flawless, fancy vivid blue diamond will be presented to bidders on 27 April as a single-lot auction with an estimated value of more than US$48 million (HK$380 million). In the spirit of admiring this scintillating azure hue, we look back at some of the most beautiful and expensive blue diamonds that have captured the attention and heart of collectors and the world over time.
Hope Diamond (US$250 million)
The Hope Diamond, which also goes by several aliases such as, Le Bijou du Roi (The King’s Jewel), Le bleu de France (The French Blue), and the Tavernier Blue, is one of the most famous jewels in the world. Its origin dates back almost four centuries – possibly from India – and is one of the earliest mentioned blue diamonds.
Weighing at an outstanding 45.52-carat, it is classified as a type IIb diamond with a fancy dark grayish-blue clarity. The diamond had several prominent owners – which explains its name nicknames – and was well travelled before finally settling in the hands of American luxury jeweller Harry Winston in 1949. Almost decade later, the New York-based jeweller donated the gem to the National Museum of Natural History in the United States, where it remains as a permanent exhibition for all to admire.
The Blue Heart Diamond (US$60million)
The Blue Heart is a 30.62-carat, heart shape, brilliant-cut, fancy deep blue diamond that was found at the Premier Mine in South Africa in 1908, and obtained by French jeweller Pierre Cartier. It is approximately two-thirds the size of the Hope Diamond and one of the most popular blue diamonds known to the world. After several exchange of hands, the stone was sold to American business woman, socialite and philanthropist Marjorie Merriweather by previous owner American luxury jewellery Harry Winston. Merriweather was the last private owner of the diamond, who gifted the gem to the National Gem Collection in 1964.
Oppenhiemer Blue Diamond (US$58million)
The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond is a sensational coloured diamond ring set with a 14.62-carat fancy vivid blue rectangular-cut diamond, flanked by a pair of trapeze-shaped diamond. In the summer of 2016, it broke the record of most expensive expensive blue diamond ever sold at auction after an intense budding war that consequently ended with the ring going under the hammer for a whopping US$58 million, setting a new auction record for he most expensive blue diamond. Its name derives in honor of Sir Philip Oppenheimer, the man who previously controlled the De Beers Mining Company.
The Blue moon of Josephine (US$48.5 million)
The Blue Moon of Josephine, previously known as the Blue Moon Diamond of South African origin, smashed records in 2015 for world auction price-per-carat for a diamond or gemstone at Sotheby’s Geneva. Selling for over US$4 million per carat, the cushion-shaped fancy vivid blue 12.03-carat diamond exchanged hands at a record-setting price of US$48.5 million. The winning bidder, none other than Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, renamed the gem after his daughter, Josephine. The sale came just one day after the businessman purchased a rare 16.08-carat pink diamond for US$28.5 million.
Apollo Blue Diamond (US$41.3 million)
The Apollo Blue is a Fancy Vivid Blue, 14.54-carat, Internally Flawless, Type IIB diamond earring that arrived at the auction block of Sotheby’s Geneva in 2017 as a pair to the The Artemis Pink, a Fancy Intense Pink, 16.00-carat, VVS2 clarity, Type IIA earring. Together, they were billed as the most valuable pair of diamond earrings every to appear at auction. According to the auction house, both are amongst the purest of all diamonds, with “an alluring limpidity”. In 2017, an anonymous buyer outbid the crowd, exchanging the stones for US$42.1 million for the Apollo Blue and US$15.3 million for the Artemis Pink, and renamed them “The Memory of Autumn Leaves” and “The Dream of Autumn Leaves”.
Mouawad Blue Diamond (US$40 million)
Once known as the Tereshchenko diamond, named after the prominent Russian family of the same name that once owned this Fancy Blue 49.92-carat jewel. It is the largest blue diamond in the world, following the Hope Diamond. While the precise location and date of which it was mined remains unknown, it is believed to be of Indian origin. It was first sold in 1916 prior to the Russian revolution and last sold at Christie’s Geneva to Saudi-Arabian dealer Robert Mouawad for US4.6 million, the highest price ever paid for a diamond at auction. It was then that the stone was rechristened as the Mouawad Blue Diamond.