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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

$35 Million Estimate For 10-Carat De Beers Millennium Blue Diamond

A second statement blue diamond has appeared on the auction market a few months after a similar gem set an all-time auction record.

The “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4,” the largest oval-shaped Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond ever to appear at auction, will be the lead item at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite sale on April 5 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

The rare 10.10-carat oval-shaped Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond has an estimate of $30 - $35 million.

The blue diamond, with the utilitarian name of “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4,” is offered for sale from an Asian private collection, Sotheby’s said.

While the estimate for this blue diamond is quite hefty, if achieved it will fall well short of the most expensive gem ever sold at auction. That honor goes to 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 and a world record price-per-carat for any diamond or gemstone at just over $4 million. It was purchased November, 2015 at Sotheby’s Geneva sale by billionaire Hong Kong real estate investor Joseph Lau, the same person who paid a record $28.5 million for a 16.08-carat cushion shaped fancy vivid pink diamond at Christie’s Geneva sale a day earlier.

The De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 is the only oval-shaped stone among the 12 rare diamonds—eleven blue and one colorless—that form the De Beers Millennium Jewels collection, unveiled by the diamond mining giant in 2000 in celebration of the millennium. All of the gems were unearthed at the historic Cullinan Mine in South Africa, once owned by De Beers. Since their initial appearance at the Millennium Exhibition in 2000, only one of these diamonds has appeared on the open market.

Blue diamonds make up less than 0.1 percent of all diamonds recovered at the Cullinan mine (now owned by Petra Diamonds and renamed the Premiere Mine). These diamonds owe their color to impurities of boron during the stone’s formation, and many are naturally modified with a grey secondary tone, or an uneven saturation with areas of colorless windowing. 

“Blue diamonds of any intensity of color are amongst the rarest of all gems. Highly saturated blue diamonds over ten carats combined with an Internally Flawless clarity grade are extremely rare,” said Tom Moses, executive VP and chief research and laboratory officer of the Gemological Institute of America, which issued the grading report on the gem. “There have been fewer and fewer new rough diamonds discovered over the last decade that produce this color. Most of the recent diamonds offered for sale in this category are coming from private collections—not diamond mines.” 

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