Christie’s has announced a scheduled auction of a spectacular 14.62 carat blue diamond for May this year. Nicknamed the Oppenheimer Blue – the gargantuan stone has an estimated value of between £38 and £45 million, making it the most expensive vivid blue diamond to be auctioned ever.
The emerald-cut gem carries the name of its previous owner – Sir Philip Oppenheimer and is described as possessing “perfect hue, impeccable proportions, and [a] fabulous rectangular shape.” Diamonds that have impeccable qualities in terms of the 4C’s are incredibly rare to come across. That stands for Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight and a stone of blue nuance is amongst the rarest to be found in nature with less than 2% of all gems are naturally blue. The Oppenheimer Blue rates high in both the highest and clearest saturation nuance of the colour possible.
The last few years have seen a number of record-priced coloured diamonds sold at auctions with the Hope Diamond being the most famous. The sale of the Oppenheimer Blue comes just a few months after another record-breaking sale – that of a 9.54-carat blue diamond that used to be owned by the child star Shirley Temple. It was sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $35 million in April. However, the Oppenheimer diamond has the potential to break all records.
It is an incredible challenge to achieve such brilliant blue nuance in a traditional emerald-cut shape like the 15-carat Oppenheimer. Evaluators praise the colour and clarity, which are exceptional when combined with the traditional cutting style and provenance.
In 2010, the London jeweler Graff broke a record for obtaining a 24.78-carat pink diamond at Sotheby’s Geneva for $45.6 million. And just last year, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau paid $48.4 million for a 12.03-carat, vivid blue diamond at Sotheby’s Geneva, which is more than enough to say with certainty that coloured diamonds are making a comeback.