This collection of expensive fancy coloured diamonds, known as "The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection," has a combined market worth of more than $70 million, according to the auction house. The eight jewels' highest estimate is $84.8 million, though.
One of the "rarest and most remarkable collections of coloured diamonds in the world," according to Sotheby's, the gems exhibit "superb colours, even colour distribution, and saturation." The venerable diamond mining and marketing behemoth De Beers procured and assembled each diamond, while Diacore, a company that specialises in cutting and polishing unusual stones, created the finished pieces. The first time any fancy blue diamonds have ever been offered for auction.
According to Quig Bruning, head of Sotheby's Jewels, Americas, "recovered from the famous Cullinan mine in South Africa, the De Beers Exceptional Blues are a remarkable testament of our world's most extraordinary gems and what is yet to be unearthed."
Wenhao Yu, chairman of Jewelry and Watches at Sotheby's Asia, said, "The finding of a gem-quality blue diamond of any size is a rare event, so to have the opportunity to present not one, but eight stunning blues in a range of shapes and weights, is thus absolutely exceptional."
Eight blue diamonds that total 32.09 carats and are regarded as "phenomenal" by Sotheby's make up the collection. From a 1.22-carat oval brilliant-cut to an 11.29-carat step-cut, their weight varies. This year, three of these diamonds will be put up for sale. The highlight of Sotheby's Magnificent and Noble Jewels auction in Geneva on November 9 will be a 5.53-carat cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue diamond with an estimate of $11 million to $15 million.
Two of the gems will be sold at the Magnificent Jewels auction in New York on December 7: a 3.24-carat cushion brilliant-cut Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue with an estimate of $5 million to $8 million and a 2.08-carat cushion-cut Fancy Intense Blue with an estimate of $1.2 million to $1.5 million.
Four of the eight blue diamonds were given the highest colour grading for coloured diamonds—Fancy Vivid—by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The GIA awarded the 3.24 carat cushion brilliant-cut De Beers Exceptional diamond an Internally Flawless rating.
Five extremely rare blue rough diamonds weighing a combined 85.62 carats that were mined from the storied Cullinan mine were bought by De Beers and Diacore in November 2020. The five raw diamonds, weighing between 9.61 and 25.75 carats, were cut and polished by Diacore over the course of almost two years, yielding the collection of eight fancy blue diamonds.
According to Bruce Cleaver, the departing CEO of De Beers Group, "The magnificent De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection stands as testament to De Beers' unique ability to source the rarest diamonds in the world, as well as the patience and foresight required to assemble a collection that transcends rarity and can only be described as remarkable.
Among all the colours of diamonds, blue diamonds are regarded as one of the rarest. The colour is caused by the boron trace element, which was randomly present in the carbon structure of the diamond during its genesis deep under the earth's core. According to Sotheby's, "blue diamond discoveries of any size are still rare and an always amazing occurrence."
The diamond collection was revealed on Wednesday in New York and will tour the following cities: Hong Kong: 17–19 October Singapore: 20–21 October 26–27 October in Taipei Geneva, 4–8 November The Oppenheimer Blue, which sold for more than $57.5 million overall in 2016, holds the record for the price of a fancy vivid blue diamond. The Blue Moon of Josephine, which sold for $4 million per carat in 2015, holds the record for the price of a fancy vivid blue diamond per carat.
More recently, in April at Sotheby's Hong Kong, the 15.10-carat "De Beers Cullinan Blue," the largest vivid blue diamond ever to be sold at auction, for more than $57.4 million and roughly $3.8 million per carat.
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.
The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection is broken down completely as follows: Exceptional Blue De Beers A step-cut Fancy Vivid Blue weighing 11.29 carats is estimated to be worth between $28 and $50 million. Exceptional Blue De Beers A cushion-shaped, brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue gemstone weighing 5.53 grammes is worth between $11 million and $15 million. Exceptional Blue De Beers 4.13: a 4.13 carat step-cut fancy intense blue (estimate: $2.5 million to $3.5 million)
Exceptional Blue De Beers 3.24: an internally flawless fancy vivid blue gemstone measuring 3.24 carats in a cushion brilliant cut; estimated value: $5 million to $8 million. Exceptional Blue De Beers 3.10: a 3.10 carat cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue (estimated value: $4.5 million to $5 million). Exceptional Blue De Beers 2.08: a 2.08 carat cushion-cut Fancy Intense Blue (estimate: $1.2 million to $1.5 million).
Exceptional Blue De Beers 1.50: a 1.50 carat round brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Blue (estimated value: $750,000 to $1 million). Exceptional Blue De Beers 1.22: a 1.22 carat oval brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Blue (estimate: $600,000 to $800,000).