Style / Jewellery

Sotheby’s To Auction 15.10 Carat Vivid Blue Diamond For $48M

Taking hundreds of aeons to form and recently unearthed, the largest rare blue gem is going on sale at US$48 million in Hong Kong.

Feb 21, 2022 | By Cleo Yong
De Beers Cullinan Blue
Image: Sotheby’s

This spring, Sotheby’s Hong Kong is auctioning a 15.10-carat lavish blue diamond. The De Beers Cullinan Blue is estimated to have the greatest dollar amount ever put on a blue diamond cut at auction, with a whopping US$48 million. It will also be the biggest vivid blue diamond ever to be offered.

In 2021, a 39-carat rough diamond was discovered at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. After which, international corporation De Beers and diamond manufacturer Diacore bought the rare gem for US$40.2 million. For the past year, the two companies have been working together to perfect the step-cut diamond. The De Beers Cullinan Blue is described as the largest internally flawless vivid blue diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

According to ARTnews, chairman of Sotheby’s Asia Patti Wong said, “nothing of remotely similar calibre has appeared at auction in recent years”. During a Sotheby’s sale in Geneva in 2015, the multinational broker set the record at US$48 million for the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction with the Blue Moon of Josephine. Then, the 14.62-carat regular-cut Oppenheimer Blue overtook the record with a price of US$57.5 million in May 2016.

As per Wenhao Yu, chairman of jewellery and watches for Sotheby’s Asia, the blue diamond is on par with some of the finest works by Monet, Picasso, Botticelli and Warhol. Given its rarity and desirability, Sotheby’s is expecting global bidders, especially buyers from Greater China. The market accounted for more than 70 per cent of Sotheby’s Hong Kong sales in 2021.

“In 2021, Hong Kong sales were all led by diamond pieces, particularly coloured diamonds which continue to see strong demand,” Yu said.

De Beers Cullinan Blue
Image: Sotheby’s

The magnificent diamond was unveiled on 17 February in New York and will be touring exhibition spaces in London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Taipei. It will be auctioned off in April, during the Sotheby’s Hong Kong Luxury Week.

In other diamond auction news, the 555.5-carat black diamond, namely “The Enigma”, was sold on 10 February 2022 for US$4.29 million via cryptocurrency.

For more reads on auctions, click here.

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