PARIS — A 17.61-carat fancy vivid blue diamond sold Tuesday for $44 million — a high price, but short of its highest estimate.
An anonymous bidder scooped up the stone, dubbed Bleu Royal, in just seven minutes over the phone, according to AFP.
Estimated to sell between $35 million and $50 million ahead of the sale, the pear-shaped stone — which is set in a ring with two white diamond flankers — went under the hammer during Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction in Geneva.
During a Paris preview ahead of the auction, Christie’s Europe’s chairman François Curiel lauded the richness and depth of the stone’s blue hue, deeming it “one of the most beautiful [the auction house] have ever had.” The stone had been held in a private collection for some five decades.
While not the priciest specimen to have gone on the block in recent years, Bleu Royal certainly tops the scales in terms of size and is internally flawless.
Only a handful of blue diamonds over 10 carats have been sold at auction in recent years, including the 15.10-carat De Beers Blue, which sold for $57.4 million in 2022; the 14.62-carat emerald-cut Oppenheimer Blue, which went for $57.5 million in 2016 and remains the priciest stone on record; the 13.22-carat Winston blue at $23.8 million in 2013; and an 11.28-carat stone went for $25.3 million in Hong Kong a month ago.
But the record per carat is held by the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine sold at Sotheby’s in 2015.
This fancy vivid cushion-shaped stone went for $48.4 million, or just over $4 million per carat, to controversial Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung, who set near-simultaneously another price record — with a pink diamond at Christie’s.
Blue diamonds are exceedingly rare, with industry experts estimating they only account for one carat out of every 25,000 carats mined.