The 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue” will be the lead item in Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale, May 18 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. The auction house says it is “the largest and finest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever offered at auction.”
The rectangular-shaped gem has an estimate of $38 - $45 million, which falls within striking distance of the “Blue Moon of Josephine,” a 12.03-carat cushion-shaped Fancy Internally Flawless Vivid blue diamond that set a world auction record of $48.4 million in November, 2015.
The Oppenheimer Blue was previously owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a member of the family that once controlled the De Beers Mining Company. He is credited with serving for 45 years as chairman of the Central Selling Organization, the sales cartel set up by De Beers to keep strict control over the diamond supply worldwide. Today he is remembered as the architect of creating stability in the international diamond chain and for his incomparable gem collection, which includes the Oppenheimer Blue. He died in 1995 at the age of 83.
“Sir Phillip could have had any diamond he wanted, but he chose this one, with its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape,” said François Curiel, chairman of Christie’s Asia Pacific and China.
The color of the Oppenheimer Blue was given the rare Fancy Vivid grade by the Gemological Institute of America, which issued the report on the stone. In blue diamonds, Fancy Vivid specifically describes those that are medium to dark in tone and strong to very strong in saturation. In a past GIA study of 462 blue diamonds, only 1 percent were Fancy Vivid.
“It is well known that extraordinary skill is required to extract the ‘best’ color from fancy colored diamonds,” Tom Moses, GIA executive VP. “Achieving the strongest colors in traditional shapes such as the 15 carat Oppenheimer Vivid Blue can only be achieved with a highly saturated intrinsic color of the rough diamond. This blue diamond’s color and clarity combined with its traditional cutting style and provenance is truly exceptional.”
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