Culture / Auctions

The Grand Mazarin Sold at Christie’s

The Grand Mazarin, which was a “French royal treasure” owned by generations of kings and queens, went under the hammer at Christie’s in Geneva for about $14.5 million

Dec 18, 2017 | By Andrea Sim

My Highlight of 2017: The Grand Mazarin

A dazzling historic coloured diamond, Le Grand Mazarin, was sold at a price of CHF14,375,000 recently at Christie’s in Geneva. Christie’s described the Mazarin diamond, as a “perfect 19.07 carat pink diamond” which was a royal treasure once owned by generations of French kings, queens, emperors and empresses, before disappearing into private hands.

Jean-Marc Lunel, Senior Jewellery Specialist at Christie’s in Geneva said they received a call one day, inviting them to view “an unspecified historic diamond” in a private house in Europe. “When the client unwrapped a piece of old parcel paper to reveal this beautiful pink diamond in front of my colleagues Jessica Koers and Max Fawcett, they were completely stunned,” recalled Lunel.

This brilliantly cut diamond was sourced from an old mine, Lunel recounted, “Mesmerised, our jewellery historian Vanessa Cron began looking through old family records, tracing the diamond’s history.”

Christie’s specialist discovered the importance of the stone’s rediscovery

For Lunel, being able to hold such an important piece of French royal history in his hands was unbelievable. The specialist continued to explain why this gem would be one of the most important stones they had ever offered.

“After spending 225 years as part of the French Crown Jewels, the stone was offered in an infamous 1887 sale, which saw the royal treasury broken up and dispersed. It had not been seen at public auction since.

“Although Christie’s has previously had the privilege of selling pieces that were at one point part of the French Crown Jewels, I knew this would be one of the most important stones we had ever offered,” said Lunel.

On the day of the auction, the atmosphere was intense as the hammer finally fell at USD14, 463,493 — underlining the stone’s allure.

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