The Bulgari Blue Diamond, the largest triangular-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction, sold for $15.7 million—making it the top jewel sold at auction thus far in 2010. The gem, mounted as a two-stone diamond ring designed in the 1970s by the House of Bulgari in Rome, was the star lot of Christie’s “Jewels: The New York Sale” on October 20.
After five minutes of bidding, the hammer fell to an unidentified Asian collector who paid a world record price per carat for a blue diamond.
“The bidding opened with an $8 million bid from a client on the phone with Vickie Sek, Christie’s head of Jewelry for Asia,” said François Curiel, president of Christie’s Asia and international head of Jewelry at Christie’s. “It swiftly turned into a one-on-one bidding war with a European collector on the phone with Rahul Kadakia, head of Jewelry for Christie’s Americas. The pair traded bids back and forth in $500,000 increments until the final bid was reached.”
The ring features a triangular-shaped colorless diamond of 9.87 cts. paired with a triangular-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond of 10.95 cts. Fancy vivid blue diamonds are among the rarest and most sought-after of colored diamonds, as only one in about 10 million possess a color pure enough to qualify as “fancy vivid.” Due to their rarity and increasingly limited supply, demand has rapidly driven prices to great heights, with particular strength seen for those stones weighing more than 10 cts., Christies said. Large, natural blue diamonds, in particular those possessing the coveted vivid blue tone and saturation, have become highly prized on the international market.
The ring was offered for sale by a private European collector who has kept the ring in his family for almost 40 years. He had originally purchased the ring at the Bulgari flagship boutique on Via dei Condotti in Rome in 1972, as a gift for his wife in celebration of the birth of their first child, a baby boy. The final sale price in 1972 was about $1 million.
The Bulgari Blue provided a dramatic finish to the 447-lot auction and brought the collective total to $52.5 million. Earlier in the day, Christie’s achieved an impressive 100 percent sell-through rate for Jeweled Elegance: The Eye of A Distinguished Collector, a single-owner collection of signed jewels from celebrated designers, including Cartier, David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels and Harry Winston. The entire morning session of the October 20 auction was devoted to this assemblage of more than 160 individual pieces, which raised $11.4 million, far above its pre-sale high estimate.
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