The Oppenheimer Blue Poised to Set World Record
Posted by Ron Hansen on April 28, 2016
A magnificent Fancy Blue diamond - The Oppenheimer Blue - will be auctioned by Christie's in Geneva Switzerland on May 18th. Weighing in at a whopping 14.62 carats, it is reportedly the largest "vivid blue" diamond ever to come to auction. The Oppenheimer Blue gets its name from its previous owner, Sir Phillip Oppenheimer, whose family controlled the DeBeers Mining Company for 80 years until selling their shares to another company.
Blue diamonds are rare, representing only an estimated 1% to 2% of all diamonds in the world. The blue tone in these diamonds derives from its boron content, and it can range from a light sky blue to a very dark navy blue. Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds are generally of high saturation and medium to dark in color. The Oppenheimer Blue is said to have an exceptionally rich medium-dark blue tone, in addition to its excellent clarity and an exquisite rectangular emerald cut.
Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie's Asia Pacific and China, remarked: "Blue diamonds gained a wider following, not only because they are stunning, but because there are so few of them available in the world" and concluded that "The Oppenheimer Blue can only be described as one of the rarest gems in the world...It is the gem of gems." (Source:The Daily Mail, "Rare blue Oppenheimer diamond dubbed the 'gem of gems' is set to fetch L31 million when is goes under the hammer in May," Matilda Battersby, March 31, 2016.)
Not many blue diamonds have been auctioned in recent years. However, last year, a 12 carat Fancy Vivid Blue fetched a staggering $48.5 million at Sotheby's, at around $4 million per carat - a new record in price-per-carat. The Oppenheimer Blue is projected to sell somewhere between $30 million and $45 million, but at $4 million per carat, it would fetch upwards of $58 million. Christie's will also be auctioning Shirley Temple's 9.5 carat blue diamond that she received from her father in 1940, which is expected to sell for $25 million to $35 million. Sotheby's also has a blue diamond in their 2016 line up - the DeBeers Millenium Jewel 4, a 10.1 carat blue diamond that is expected to go for $30 million to $35 million.