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Sotheby’s Sets $48M Price Tag for De Beers Blue

Feb 16, 2022 5:04 AM   By Rapaport News
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 A record blue diamond co-owned by De Beers will go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in April, carrying a price estimate of $48 million.

The step-cut, 15.10-carat, fancy-vivid-blue, internally flawless stone is the largest of its color to appear at auction, Sotheby’s said Wednesday. The diamond will feature in a stand-alone sale in Hong Kong as part of the auction house’s Luxury Week.

“Blue diamonds of any kind are rare on the market, but this is the rarest of the rare; nothing of remotely similar caliber has appeared at auction in recent years,” said Sotheby’s Asia chairman Patti Wong. “Brought to dazzling life by the hand of one of the world’s most skillful cutters, it is the ultimate masterpiece — as rare and desirable as the very greatest works of art. At a time of unprecedented demand for the finest, world-class, colored diamonds, we are incredibly excited to bring to the market what is sure to become one of the most celebrated gems in the world.”

Petra Diamonds discovered the 39.35-carat rough in April 2021 at its Cullinan mine in South Africa. In July, De Beers and Diacore bought the stone for $40.2 million, renaming it the De Beers Cullinan Blue. Diacore then manufactured the piece into the final polished.

The stone is not the only blue rough De Beers and Diacore have purchased. The two also bought the Letlapa Tala collection from Petra in November 2020. That group includes five rough blue diamonds ranging from 9.61 to 25.75 carats. The selection weighed a total of 85.6 carats and cost $40.4 million.

To date, only five blue diamonds weighing more than 10 carats have come to auction, none of which has exceeded 15 carats, Sotheby’s explained. Prior to the sale, the auction house will showcase the blue diamond in New York; London; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, China; and Taipei, Taiwan.

Similar diamonds have fetched high prices at previous auctions. The Blue Moon of Josephine, a cushion-shaped, 12.03-carat, fancy-vivid-blue, internally flawless diamond, sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2015 for $48.5 million. Meanwhile, the Oppenheimer Blue, a step-cut, 14.62-carat, fancy-vivid-blue, VVS1-clarity stone, garnered $57.5 million at a Christie’s Geneva sale in 2016.

Image: The 15.10-carat De Beers Cullinan Blue. (Sotheby’s)
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Tags: Blue diamond, Blue Moon of Josephine, Christie’s, Cullinan Mine, De Beers, De Beers Cullinan Blue, Diacore, diamonds, Hong Kong Luxury Week, Letlapa Tala, Oppenheimer Blue, Patti Wong, petra, Petra Diamonds, Rapaport News, Sotheby’s, South Africa
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