Blue diamonds are so rare that according to GIA, only 0.3% of coloured diamonds submitted to the laboratory are predominately blue regardless of its colour saturation. Natural blue diamonds owe its colour to trace amounts of boron particles within the diamond’s crystal structure; otherwise known as Type IIB diamonds, a very rare category in diamonds.
Historically, blue diamonds were found in what we now know as the legendary Indian mines of Golconda, presently part of the State of Hyderabad. Most of the diamonds from these mines were alluvial, streamed from their origin to the river banks and beds. Given the factual relatively late discovery of alternative blue diamond sources, most historic blue diamonds would have Indian origin attributions. This is certainly true of the famed Tavernier Blue, known through the well-documented account by Jean Baptiste Tavernier in the 17th century.
With the discovery of the South African mines at the turn of last century, in particular the Cullinan (Premier) Mines, blue diamonds were more formally introduced to the world rather than belonging to the realm of the mystic past.
A HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE
Jewels have always historically been intertwined with the fate of man. Rumoured myths, legendary curses, stories of royalty and tales of renowned jewelers are all fascinating facets that veil famous jewels with intangible mystery.
One of the most celebrated “Blues” is the 45.52 carat “Hope Diamond”, now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.: Queen Marie Antoinette, American Heiress Evalyn Walsh McClean, House of Cartier, and Harry Winston were some of the notable owners of this famous blue diamond.
The “Hope Diamond” is now considered to have been the precursor of the famed “Tavernier Blue” that had been cut twice, the first time from its original rough size of 112 carats to 67 carats, bearing the new name “Diamond of the Crown”, and then refashioned into its current weight of 45.52 carat, and renamed as the “Hope Diamond”, a cushion-shaped Fancy Dark Grayish-Blue Diamond, donated by Harry Winston in 1958.
Other notable historic blue diamonds are the “Blue Heart” (Eugenie Blue), “Tereschenko Blue”, “Wittelsbach-Graff Blue”, and of course the mysterious and long-lost “Brunswick Blue.”
MILLENNIUM BLUE DIAMONDS
In celebration of the Millennium 2000, a unique collection of special blue diamonds was unveiled by De Beers, together with The Steinmetz Group. Titled the “Millennium Collection”, this collection showcased exceptional, rare and highly valuable diamonds in a specially designed exhibit at London’s Millennium Dome. The collection included eleven phenomenal blue diamonds of various shapes and weights totaling 118 carats, ranging in size from a 5.16 carat pear-shaped diamond to a 27.64 carat heart-shaped diamond, also known as “The Heart of Eternity.”
As one of the most important collections of blue diamonds to be presented at one time, it took over two years to plan the manufacture of the diamonds and over countless decades to recover them. Nine out of the eleven diamonds have been graded by the GIA as Fancy Vivid Blue colour and two of Fancy Intense Blue colour. Very few blue diamonds in the market has had the intensity or an even saturation as these Millennium blue diamonds.
FANCY VIVID BLUE DIAMONDS AT AUCTION
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.
Other notable blue diamonds at auction include the ”Begum Blue” (1995), “Wittelsbach-Graff Blue” (2008), “Star of Josephine” (2009), “De Beers Millennium Jewel 11” (2010), and the “Reza Blue” (2010).
In October 2011, Sotheby’s Hong Kong set another new record of US$1,686,505 per carat for a 6.01 carat cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Blue diamond.
It is noteworthy to mention in context of the rarity of Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds, that there has not been a sizable matched pair of Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds ever to appear at auction, except for the unique pair of 5.24 and 5.58 carat pendant earrings sold at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in 2002.
Earpendants set with Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds are usually fashioned in the very chic and striking “yin-yang” vivid blue and white diamond combination. Past auction examples include the pair of Fancy Vivid Blue diamond earpendants by Bulgari from the collection of Donna Simonetta Colonna, Duchess di Cesaro, sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2003, as well as the pair of earpendants by Cartier from the Collection of Betsy Cushing Whitney, sold at Sotheby’s New York in 1998.
THE PREMIER BLUE
The round brilliant-cut is one of the rarest shapes for coloured diamonds, as they are usually fashioned to best maximize the weight of the often irregular-shaped rough. Furthermore, it is even rarer to find a fancy coloured diamond successfully cut into a round brilliant while still showcasing the highest strength of colour.
The combination of the best colour grading of vivid blue, with an internally flawless clarity, in a substantial carat size of 7.59 carats, renders The Premier Blue a very important and exceptional rare blue diamond.
GIA notes in the accompanied monograph that “even more significant is the fact that, at the time of the printing of this Monograph, The Premier Blue is the largest round brilliant, fancy vivid blue, internally flawless diamond that GIA has ever graded. Of the highest clarity and colour, The Premier Blue adds to the long and alluring history of blue diamonds.”
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