Sotheby’s Unveils The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection, Estimated in Excess of $70 Million
A Superb Group of Eight Rare Fancy Blue Diamonds
Together Valued in Excess of $70 Million
To be Sold Across Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Auctions in Geneva, New York and Hong Kong in 2022 – 2023
Hot on the heels of the sale of the De Beers Blue, a 15.10 carat step-cut Fancy Vivid Blue diamond for $57.5 million in April 2022, Sotheby’s announces today The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection – a superlative group of eight rare Fancy Blue diamonds to be sold across its Magnificent Jewels auctions this year in New York, Geneva, and Hong Kong and throughout the Spring of 2023.
The superb hues, even colour distribution and saturation of the diamonds, which were expertly sourced and assembled by De Beers – the global leader in the sourcing and curation of natural diamonds – and crafted into works of art by Diacore’s world-class cutters and polishers, forms one of the rarest and most notable collections of coloured diamonds in the world.
Appearing at auction for the first time, The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection comes to the market with a combined total value in excess of $70 million.
Announcing the sale of The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection, Quig Bruning, Head of Sotheby’s Jewels, Americas, commented: ‘Sotheby’s boasts a stellar record of selling some of the most coveted important fancy blue diamonds in auction history.
Nearly six months after we set a new benchmark for one of the highest prices achieved for a blue diamond at auction with the $57.5 million sale of the De Beers Blue, we are honored to be entrusted with this superb collection of Fancy Blue diamonds.
Also recovered from the historic Cullinan mine in South Africa, the De Beers Exceptional Blues are a true testament of our world’s most extraordinary treasures and what is yet to be discovered.’
Wenhao Yu, Chairman of Jewellery and Watches at Sotheby’s Asia, added: “The discovery of a gem-quality blue diamond of any size is a rare occurrence, so to have the opportunity to offer not one, but eight dazzling blues in a range of shapes and weights, is therefore truly exceptional.
We are absolutely delighted that De Beers and Diacore have entrusted us with a collection of such rarity and beauty that most of us will not see replicated again.”
“I have remained in awe of The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection since the first moment I set eyes on it,” said Olivier Wagner, Head of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Auctions in Geneva. “The market for coloured diamonds and precious gemstones has never been stronger, so we are absolutely thrilled to be offering the first diamond of this superb collection as one of the star highlights of our Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction next month in Geneva. This important gem will, I am sure, captivate all collectors of exceptional gemstones.”
The collection consists of eight phenomenal blue diamonds of various shapes and weights totaling 32.09 carats, ranging in size from a 1.22 carat oval brilliant-cut to a 11.29 carat step-cut diamond.
Three of these exceptional diamonds will be offered this year: De Beers Exceptional Blue 5.53 (est. $11/15 million) will be one of the star highlights of Sotheby’s Magnificent and Nobles Jewels auction in Geneva on 9 November, while the De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.24 (est. $5/8 million) and De Beers Exceptional Blue 2.08 ( est. $1.2/1.5 million) will be offered in the 7 December auction of Magnificent Jewels in New York.
A full breakdown of The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection is available below:
De Beers Exceptional Blue 11.29: a step-cut Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 11.29 carats
(est. $28/50 million)
De Beers Exceptional Blue 5.53: a cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 5.53
(est. $11/15 million)
De Beers Exceptional Blue 4.13: a step-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 4.13 carats
(est. 2.5/3.5 million)
De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.24: a cushion brilliant-cut Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 3.24 carats
(est. $5-8 million)
De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.10: a cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 3.10 carats
De Beers Exceptional Blue 2.08: a cushion-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 2.08 carats
(est. $1.2/1.5 million)
De Beers Exceptional Blue 1.50: a round brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 1.50 carats
(est. $750,000/1 million)
De Beers Exceptional Blue 1.22: an oval brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 1.22 carats
Of the eight blue diamonds, four were graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as Fancy Vivid, the highest colour grading for coloured diamonds; and the De Beers Exceptional 3.24 carat cushion brilliant-cut diamond also boasts exceptional clarity, having been declared Internally Flawless by the GIA.
Prestige, Provenance, Rarity: A Collection Like No Other
In November 2020, De Beers and Diacore jointly purchased five rare blue rough diamonds from the legendary Cullinan mine that weighed a total of 85.62 carats. Over a period of nearly two years, Diacore meticulously cut and polished the five roughs — ranging from 9.61 to 25.75 carats – and transformed them into the spectacular collection of eight Fancy Blue diamonds presented today.
Given that diamonds are the hardest material on earth, great skill and precision is needed to cut them. With blue diamonds, the challenge is yet greater: because of their formation, every faceting process of a blue diamond demands extreme care and precision.
There is zero tolerance for miscalculation; any minute error would result in a loss of colour and destruction of the beauty.
It is with De Beers’ unparalleled expertise in the art of sourcing and assembling the rarest of treasures, coupled with Diacore’s incomparable skill in cutting and polishing rare exceptional gems, which truly makes this superlative group of eight diamonds so remarkable.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group commented on the collection, “The magnificent De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection stands as testament to De Beers’ unique ability to source the rarest diamonds in the world, and the patience and foresight required to assemble a collection that transcends rarity and can only be called remarkable.”
Nir Livnat, Chairman, Diacore, added: “After two years of meticulously perfecting these diamonds, we are incredibly proud and excited to reveal the astonishing De Beers Exceptional Collection, and to join forces once again with De Beers to create and bring to market some of the world’s rarest diamonds.”
“While unique on their own, the beauty of the blue diamonds of the De Beers Exceptional Collection certainly resonate with the 11 phenomenal blue diamonds from the Millennium Blue Collection, which we crafted and designed together with the spectacular 203.04 carat Millennium Star that was presented by De Beers at the turn of the millennium.”
Captivating and enigmatic, blue diamonds are considered one of the rarest colours of all diamonds. A fabulous fluke of nature, a blue diamond is produced by the random presence of the atomic lattice-bound trace element boron within the diamond’s carbon structure during its formation deep in the earth’s core.
Today, blue diamond discoveries of any size are still sporadic and an always astonishing occurrence. Laden with significance, mystery, and prestige, blue diamonds are truly one of nature’s most extraordinary creations and rarest endowments. No diamond collection is complete without one.
- Hong Kong: 17-19 October
- Singapore: 20-21 October
- Taipei: 26 – 27 October
- Geneva: 4 – 8 November
BLUE DIAMONDS AT SOTHEBY’S
While 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 first in 2014 by the Mellon Blue Diamond at Sotheby’s New York, now renamed the ‘Josie Blue’, which sold for US$32.6 million (US$3,348,205 per carat).
In 2015, records shattered again when Sotheby’s Geneva sold ‘The Blue Moon of Josephine’, a 12.03 carat cushion-shaped Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond for US$48.5 million (US$4,028,941 per carat), which established the former price-per-carat auction record for any diamond or gemstone.
Sotheby’s recently established a new world record price per carat for any diamond or gemstone with the Williamson Pink Star, which sold for US$57.7 million (US$5,178,124 per carat) in Hong Kong in 2022.
Sotheby’s now holds four of the top five highest prices for Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds at auction:
The Oppenheimer Blue
Fancy Vivid Blue diamond
Step-cut, 14.62 carats, VVS1 Clarity
Christie’s Geneva, May 2016
Sold for US$57,541,779 (US$3,935,826 per carat)
The De Beers Blue
Fancy Vivid Blue diamond
Step-cut, 15.10 carats, Internally FlawlessSotheby’s, Hong Kong, April 2022
Sold for HK$ 450,925,000 / US$57,470,391 (US$3,806,090 per carat)
The Blue Moon of Josephine
Fancy Vivid Blue diamond
Cushion-shaped, 12.03 carats, Internally Flawless
Sotheby’s Geneva, November 2015
Sold for US$48,468,158 (US$4,028,941 per carat)
The Memory of Autumn Leaves
Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond
Pear-Shaped, 14.54 carats, Internally Flawless
Sotheby’s Geneva, May 2017
Sold for US$42,087,302 (US$2,894,587 per carat)
The Mellon Blue Diamond (now renamed ‘The Josie Blue’)
From the Bunny Mellon Collection
Fancy Vivid Blue diamond
Pear-shaped, 9.75 carats VVS2 Clarity
Sotheby’s New York, November 2014
Sold for US$32,645,000 (US$3,348,205 per carat)
Established in 1744, Sotheby’s is the world’s premier destination for art and luxury. Sotheby’s promotes access to and ownership of exceptional art and luxury objects through auctions and buy-now channels including private sales, e-commerce and retail.
Our trusted global marketplace is supported by an industry-leading technology platform and a network of specialists spanning 40 countries and 70 categories which include Contemporary Art, Modern and Impressionist Art, Old Masters, Chinese Works of Art, Jewelry, Watches, Wine and Spirits, and Design, as well as collectible cars and real estate.
Sotheby’s believes in the transformative power of art and culture and is committed to making our industries more inclusive, sustainable and collaborative.
ABOUT DE BEERS GROUP
Established in 1888, De Beers Group is the world’s leading diamond company with expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds.
Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers Group employs more than 20,000 people across the diamond pipeline and is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, with diamond mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa.
Innovation sits at the heart of the De Beers Group strategy as it develops a portfolio of offers, including its jewellery houses, De Beers Jewellers and De Beers Forevermark, and other pioneering solutions, such as diamond sourcing and traceability initiatives GemFair and Tracr.
De Beers Group is committed to ‘Building Forever,’ a holistic and integrated approach for creating a better future – where safety, human rights and ethical integrity continue to be paramount; where communities thrive and the environment is protected; and where there are equal opportunities for all.
De Beers Group is a member of the Anglo American plc group. For further information, visit www.debeersgroup.com.
Diacore, a multinational diamond company, has diversified interests in the diamond industry providing rough and polished diamonds to customers around the world.
The company has manufacturing facilities in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and New York and has established its leadership in crafting rare, exceptional diamonds as well as unique high-end jewelry.
Diacore Group has created some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the 203.04 carat Millennium Star and the magnificent Pink Star 59.60 carat, flawless fancy vivid pink diamond. Diacore is also proud sponsor of the Gaborone Diacore marathon, supporting communities in Southern Africa. www.diacore.com