The world’s largest blue diamond, the De Beers Cullinan Blue, has been sold at auction for $US57.47 million ($AU80.96 million) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.
The diamond was discovered in South Africa in April of 2021 and on Thursday, was sold to an anonymous buyer who participated in the auction via telephone.
The auction was contested by four buyers and lasted eight minutes, quickly exceeding the initial expected selling price of $US48 million ($AU67 million).
The De Beers Cullinan Blue is a 15.10-carat step-cut gemstone.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) categorises the diamond as a ‘fancy vivid blue’, the highest achievable colour grading. It was unearthed by UK-based Petra Diamonds as a 39.35-carat rough blue diamond.
Three months later, and the step-cut gemstone was produced by De Beers and diamond manufacturing firm Diacore, after Petra Diamonds sold the rough diamond as part of a special tender fetching $US40.2 million ($AU56.63 million).
Wenhao Yu, Chairman of Jewellery and Watches at Sotheby’s Asia, said the diamond was a sight to behold.
“The De Beers Blue stands as a proud masterpiece that has been gifted from nature with the hues of the sky and sea, perfected through a step-cut that is bold, distinctive and masterful,” she said.
“Among the rarest of stones in what is arguably the most desirable of colours – powerful and vivid, but at the same time calm and majestic – it must surely rank among the greatest wonders of the natural world. It is literally irresistible.”
For now, the record for most expensive blue diamond sold at auction will remain with the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue.
The Oppenheimer Blue was sold on 18 May in 2016 for $US57.54 million ($AU81.06 million) at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva, Switzerland.
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