will present the Oppenheimer Blue, the largest and finest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever offered at auction. Weighing 14.62 carats, this exceptional stone will lead Christies auction of Magnificent Jewels, held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues. This exceptional blue diamond, named in honor of its previous owner Sir Philip Oppenheimer, is estimated at US$38-45 million.
On May 18th, Christies will present the largest and finest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever seen. This stunning Fancy Vivid Blue rectangular-cut gem promises to create a media sensation as it travels around the world, fascinating both collectors and gem enthusiasts alike, before it makes its way to the auction block in Geneva. ---Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Jewellery
This incredible Fancy Vivid Blue diamond was previously owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer, who controlled the Diamond Syndicate in London. Sir Philip began working in the family business at De Beers London in 1934, whilst sitting at a bench sorting and valuing diamonds. As head of the London-based Central Selling Organisation for 45 years and serving as Chairman for the Diamond Trading Company branch, Sir Philip oversaw a diamond sales cartel set up by De Beers to keep strict control over the diamond supply worldwide. Today he is remembered as a master negotiator and the foremost architect of stability in the international diamond industry and, of course, for his incomparable gem collection, including the magnificent Oppenheimer Blue.
BLUE DIAMOND IN NUMBERS
The color of the Oppenheimer Blue is so remarkable that it was graded Fancy Vivid. 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% were Fancy Vivid. Although blue diamonds only account for 0.1 percent of those originating from the Premier mine, a seemingly negligible figure, a rough estimate of global blue diamond production would be less than 0.0001 percent and by some rough diamonds calculations, only one stone in 200,000 rough diamonds mined.
One of the earliest historic blue diamonds to have appeared for sale at Christies was the Idols Eye on the 14th July 1865, in the saleroom of Christies London, where the catalogue described a splendid large diamond known as the Idols Eye set round with 18 smaller brilliant and framework of small brilliants. It sold for a momentous £740 equivalent to US$86,000 today.
In more recent times, very few blue diamonds have been offered for sale. In 2008, Christies London presented the Wittelsbach, a cushionshaped Fancy Deep Greyish-Blue diamond which sold for a then record price of US$24.3 million. In 2014, the 13.22 carat Winston Blue diamond realized US$23.7 million at Christies Geneva. Given the extreme scarcity of strongly colored blue diamonds of importance sizes, records continue to be broken year after year. In November 2015, a 12 carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond achieved a staggering US$48.5 million at US$4m per carat, exemplifying the ever growing demand for the very best.