The GIA report was updated on 10 March 2016.
The De Beers Millennium Jewels: Exceptional Collection of 11 Important Blue Diamonds
Once a while, when a special diamond makes an appearance, it is a rare discovery; however, when a unique collection of special diamonds is unveiled, it is truly a once in a millennium experience. To celebrate the Millennium in 2000, De Beers, together with The Steinmetz Group, showcased an exceptional collection of rare and valuable diamonds, De Beers Millennium Jewels, in a specially designed exhibit at London’s Millennium Dome. The exhibition that lasted throughout the year consisted of the 203.04 carat Millennium Star and eleven phenomenal blue diamonds of various shapes and weights totaling 118 carats, ranging in size from a 5.16 carat pear-shaped to a 27.64 carat heart-shaped diamond, The Heart of Eternity, each specially inscribed with a De Beers Millennium number using De Beers’ proprietary branding technique.
This magnificent collection even instigated the “robbery of the millennium” when a ten-ton JCB digger broke through the wall of the Dome only to find replaced replicas of the diamonds which were replaced a day earlier in preparation of the heist. The robbers, armed with sledgehammers, guns and grenades smashed through the gem’s armored casing before being detained.
As the most important collection of blue diamonds to be presented at one time, it took De Beers decades to put the collection together. Nine out of the eleven diamonds have been graded by the GIA as Fancy Vivid Blue color and two of Fancy Intense Blue color. Blue diamonds owe their color to impurities of boron, and many are modified with a grey secondary tone, or an uneven saturation with areas of colorless windowing. Very few stones have the intensity or an even saturation as these Millennium blue diamonds and it is this combination of color, saturation and brilliance that make them truly miracles of nature. Historically, blue diamonds were recovered mainly in India and Brazil, but for the last 100 years, they have been randomly and sporadically found in the Premier Mine (since renamed the Cullinan Mine) in South Africa, the source of these fine blue diamonds. Blue diamonds make up much less than 0.1 percent of all diamonds recovered at this mine, and to discover one annually of quality and size is an extremely unusual occurrence.
Since its initial appearance at the Millennium Exhibition in 2000, only one of these diamonds have ever come into the open market, when Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold the “De Beers Millennium Jewel 11”, a 5.16 carat internally flawless pear-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond in April 2010.
Fancy Vivid Blue Diamonds
Whilst a very small number of important blue diamonds were sold at auction over the last two decades, it was not until 2007 when the landmark Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong sold a 6.04 carat, internally flawless emerald-cut Fancy Vivid Blue diamond for a record price of US$1,321,495 per carat, breaking the 20-year-old record held by the famous ‘Hancock Red’, and propelling all sizable Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds to new market levels of a minimum of US$1,000,000 per carat.
Since then, blue diamonds at auction have had an admirable auction track record.
However, all previous prices were totally eclipsed by the Mellon Blue Diamond, renamed ‘The Zoé Diamond’ in New York, again at Sotheby’s in November 2014. Fancy vivid blue diamonds of the utmost quality and size have now reached, in a short time-span, a new phenomenal level of over $3,000,000 at US$3,348,205 per carat for the Zoé Diamond.
This record stood for barely a year when the remarkable Blue Moon Diamond sold in November 2015 by Sotheby’s in Geneva for CHF48,634,000. Renamed ‘The Blue Moon of Josephine’, this exceptional blue diamond thus smashed all previous records to stand at US$4,028,941 per carat as the current world record for any gemstone at auction.
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