When the De Beers Blue fetched an eye-popping price of USD 57.5 million at Sotheby's Hong Kong in April, it became one of the most costly diamonds ever auctioned. This was almost USD 10 million more than what was originally thought to be its worth.
In April 2021, a rough stone known as the De Beers Blue was found in South Africa's famed Cullinan mine. The 15.10-carat jewel, according to Sotheby's, is the biggest and most expensive blue diamond ever to be sold at an auction. Additionally, according to the Gemological Institute of America, it is the largest internally flawless step-cut bright blue diamond ever graded (GIA).
Notably, De Beers Blue is the first blue diamond to weigh more than 15 carats to appear on the auction block. Previously, only five blue diamonds weighing more than 10 carats were sold at auction. Diamonds are also among the most expensive stones in history and are treasured for their rarity, brilliance, and brightness. The predicted value of De Beers Blue was therefore expected.
All diamonds are valued according to a combination of the four Cs: carat, cut, colour, and clarity. The American Gem Society rates diamonds instead of the GIA (AGS). They form the world's two most reputable organisations for diamond grading and certification.
The stone is known as the most well-known precious diamond in the entire world and goes by the name Koh-I-Noor, which means "Mountain of Light." It was once 793 carats in weight but has since been trimmed and polished into the 105.6-carat stone it is now.
It is largely accepted that the diamond was mined in India's Golconda region between the 11th and 12th centuries, under the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty. The Mughals afterwards came into possession of it. After conquering Mughal monarch Muhammad Shah, Nader Shah of Persia stormed Delhi and stole the diamond and the Peacock Throne on which it was set. Before ending up in the hands of the British, the diamond first passed through the hands of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the monarch of the Sikhs, in 1813.
The Cullinan diamond, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905 and initially weighed 3,106 carats, was the biggest raw diamond ever. However, it now consists of 105 gems of various weights and cuts. The world's most spectacular diamond, The Cullinan, was given this name in honour of the mine's chairman, Thomas Cullinan. On the present market, the stone would be worth an estimated $400 million USD.
Along with several smaller cuts, the diamond has nine larger chunks that together weigh over 1,055 carats. With a weight of 530.20 carats, the largest stone, known as Cullinan I, is the largest clean cut diamond in the entire world. The spectre of Queen Elizabeth II is mounted with the Cullinan I.
The 317.40 carat Cullinan II is a piece of the Imperial State Crown. The "Star of Africa" and the "Lesser Star of Africa," respectively, are other names for these objects. The pendant brooch worn by Queen Elizabeth II includes Cullinans III, IV, and V. The Queen also wears the other four as pieces of jewellery.
A French traveller named Jean Baptiste Tavernier bought a 112-carat diamond that became known as the Hope. It is thought to have been discovered in the same Golconda mine as the Koh-i-Noor. Tavernier noted in his records that the diamond had a "beautiful violet" hue.
To King Louis XIV, Tavernier sold it. It earned the title of "Blue Diamond of the Crown" through time. The diamond was taken in 1792, though, and was found in London in 1812. The diamond entered the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after passing through a number of owners—including King George IV—and travelling across the Atlantic Ocean.
Since then, the Hope diamond has stayed in the Institution's possession and has only been seen by the general public four times outside the Smithsonian. The diamond weighs 45 carats, yet its estimated value ranges from USD 200 to USD 350 million.
The De Beers Centenary Diamond was found in South Africa's Premier Mine in 1986, but it wasn't until the company's 100th anniversary celebration in Kimberley that its existence was made public. This is how Centenary acquired its name.
It was among the largest top-color diamonds in the world, weighing 599 carats. The Centenary was then reduced in size to create a 273.85 carat heart-shaped stone with 247 precisely matched facets. The diamond was verified by the GIA as internally and externally flawless, with a D colour rating for colourless diamonds.
It was the biggest modern-cut diamond known at the time of its 1991 announcement. The Centenary has never been appraised, but before it was put on display in 1991, it was insured for $100 million. Its current whereabouts is unknown because no one is aware of the diamond's owner.
The largest vibrant pink diamond in the world is an oval-shaped internally flawless gem. Although the precise site is uncertain, De Beers mined it in 1999 in Africa. At the time, the stone weighed 132.5 carats. It took The Steinmetz Group professionals more than two years to cut and polish it into a 59.60-carat diamond. In 2003, it made its public debut in Monaco. It was referred to as the Steinmetz Pink diamond at the time. It is currently the most costly diamond ever to be purchased at auction.
The Williamson Pink Star diamond was purchased for USD 57.7 million on October 7, 2022 at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong. The cushion-shaped 11.15-carat diamond subsequently rose to the position of second-most costly gem or jewellery ever sold at auction. The 18.96-carat Winston Pink Legacy, whose per-carat price was USD 2.6 million when it was sold in 2018, set the previous record for the most expensive diamond per carat at more than USD 5 million.
The Williamson Mine in Tanzania, where the diamond was discovered, bears its name. The mine allegedly produced "bubblegum" pink diamonds over time, according to the auction house. Perhaps its most well-known jewel is the 23.6-carat Williamson Pink Diamond, which belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II and was lost to time.
The Oppenheimer Blue, which fetched USD 57.5 million at Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in 2016, was the priciest diamond ever to be sold at auction before the CTF Pink Star. The fancy deep blue diamond measuring 14.62 carats and owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer, whose ancestors previously owned the De Beers Mining Company, was given that moniker.
Only 10% of all blue diamonds are greater than a carat, making it an incredibly uncommon gem. The clarity grade of the emerald-cut diamond is VVS1, which is lower than Internally Flawless.
The brilliant blue diamond was sold at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong in November 2015 for USD 48.4 million. The 12.03-carat diamond was the most expensive item ever to have been sold at an auction at the time. Billionaire Joseph Lau bought the Blue Moon diamond, as it was then known, for his daughter. After her, he renamed it "Blue Moon of Josephine." The diamond was found in 2014 by Petra Diamonds in South Africa as a 29.6-carat rough cut in the Cullinan mine. The diamond's current shape was given by Cora International, which purchased it from Petra.
The Graff Pink diamond was last sold at a Sotheby's auction in 2010 for USD 46.2 million, making it the most expensive diamond auction sale ever. Its current owner, Laurence Graff of Graff Diamonds, gave it its name. Prior to the sale, the 24.78-carat Fancy Intense Pink emerald-cut diamond had not been seen on the market in 60 years. Graff bought it, and his crew laboured to further improve the diamond's appearance. The Graff Pink has changed into a 23.88 carat Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Pink diamond as a result. The gem, which was already uncommon due to its colour and size, became even more rare. The diamond's past is not entirely established. Harry Winston, a jeweller, was the previous owner before Graff.
The Princie is one of the most famous pink diamonds in the world, therefore it should come as no surprise that it is also one of the most expensive. It went for USD 39.3 million at a Christie's auction in New York City in 2013. The 34.65-carat Princie diamond, like many other extremely precious diamonds, was mined in the Golconda region. It was found, according to Christie's, some 300 years ago. The Nizam of Hyderabad, who Time magazine dubbed the richest man in the world in 1937, was one of its owners.
The Prince of Baroda, son of Maharani Sita Devi, who attended a party hosted by the diamond's previous owner Van Cleef & Arpels in Paris, is remembered by the name of the diamond.
The largest fancy vivid orange diamond ever sold at auction is this one. At the 2013 Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale, it was purchased for USD 35.5 million. The pear-shaped, 14.82-carat stone was discovered in South Africa and belonged to the renowned "Andean Rockefeller" and early 20th-century industrialist from Bolivia, Simón Iturri Patio.
The Sancy diamond originated in India, just like many other diamonds, and it has had numerous owners. The diamond, which is just 55 carats, is kept at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. It is thought that Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, was the diamond's initial owner after it was found in India. It was given to his Portuguese cousin, King Manuel I, and later to Dom António, who was Manuel I's successor. Dom António left with the diamond when the Spanish threatened him, using it to pay for his war.
The diamond was given its name in honour of Nicolas de Harlay, seigneur de Sancy, a French ambassador to Turkey who acquired it in 1570. The diamond was owned by prominent figures including King Henry III, King James I, and King Louis XIV before it was acquired by William Waldorf Astor in 1906. The Astor family sold the diamond to The Louvre in 1978 for a sum of US $1,000,000.00.