Category Archives: AUCTIONS

De Beers blue diamond smashes sales records in Asia, fetches almost $32M at auction

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The “De Beers Millennium Jewel 4” may not have the catchiest name in the history of famous diamonds, but the very rare 10.10-carat blue gem has just broke all auction records in Asia, as it fetched almost $32 million.

The rock, the largest oval fancy vivid blue diamond to ever appear at auction, was auctioned off by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong as part of a high profile gem sale.

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The internally flawless diamond was part of the Millennium Jewels collection, unveiled by De Beers in 2000 to commemorate the turn of the century, and displayed at London’s Millennium Dome.

At the time, the blue gem was the target of an attempted multi-million pound robbery in November 2000, which was foiled by the Metropolitan Police.

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The auction house will sell another coveted blue diamond, set in a ring once owned by former child star Shirley Temple, on April 19, in the U.S.


Henry Sapiecha

Hong Kong Tycoon Grabs $48.5Mn Blue Moon Diamond for Daughter at Sotheby’s Auction

Published on Nov 12, 2015

An exceptionally large blue diamond sold Wednesday for 48.6 million Swiss francs ($48.5 million) – a record price for any jewel at auction, Sotheby’s said, culminating two Geneva auctions in which a convicted Hong Kong tycoon, Joseph Lau, bought rare coloured diamonds for his daughter.


The 12.03-carat ‘Blue Moon’ diamond, set in a ring, was said to be among the largest known fancy vivid blue diamonds and was the showpiece gem at the Sotheby’s jewelry auction.

A packed room broke into applause after the hammer came down at a price of 43.2 million Swiss francs, excluding fees – within the pre-auction estimate range of about 34 to 54 million francs.

The Blue Moon – so-called in reference to its rarity, playing off the expression “once in a blue moon” – topped the previous record of $46.2 million set five years ago by the Graff Pink, Sotheby’s said.

The diamond also set a new record of more than $4 million per carat, capping the daylong high-end jewelry sale that reaped roughly $140 million.

Blue diamonds are formed when boron is mixed with carbon when the gem is created.


Henry Sapiecha

‘Blue Moon’ diamond sells for world record $67.8 million

The Blue Moon Diamond in Geneva last week. Photo: AP

The rare Blue Moon diamond. The 12.03 carat blue diamond is the largest cushion shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ever appear at auction image

Geneva:  The rare and flawless “Blue Moon” diamond” has sold for 48.6 million Swiss francs ($67.8 million) – to a Hong Kong buyer, setting a world record for a gemstone at auction, Sotheby’s said.

The cushion-shaped diamond, mounted on a ring, has the top grading of fancy vivid blue and weighs 12.03 carats. It had a pre-sale estimate of $US35 million to $US55 million ($49 million to $77 million)

The Blue Moon Diamond in Geneva image

The rare Blue Moon diamond. The 12.03 carat blue diamond is the largest cushion shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ever appear at auction. Photo: AP

“It is a new record price for any gemstone and per carat,” David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby’s international jewellery division, told a packed showroom in Geneva that erupted into applause.

The Hong Kong buyer promptly renamed it “The Blue Moon of Josephine”, Mr Bennett told reporters, noting that it had also set a world record for any jewel at more than $US4 million per carat.

At rival Christie’s on Tuesday, a large diamond of a rare pink hue fetched 28.725 million Swiss francs ($40.1 million).

Christie’s said that the stone, named “The Sweet Josephine” by the Hong Kong-based Chinese client who bought it, set a world record for any pink diamond ever offered at auction.  The same buyer was believed to have bought both star lots at the semi-annual sales in the Swiss city.

“For me the Blue Moon was always the blue diamond of my career,” Mr Bennett said. “I’ve never seen a more beautiful stone – its shape, colour and purity. It’s a magical stone.”

The previous record was held by the Graff Pink of 24.78 carats, sold by Sotheby’s for $US46.2 million in November 2010.

The blue diamond stone was found in South Africa’s famed Cullinan mine in January 2014. The seller was New York-based jeweller Cora International, according to Sotheby’s.

The distinctive blue colour in diamonds is attributed to trace amounts of the element boron in the crystal structure.

Royal jewels, coloured gemstones, and designer pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Harry Winston were among 410 lots that found new owners, bringing in $US139 million.

A fancy vivid purple-pink, pear-shaped diamond ring sold for 13.9 million Swiss francs($19.4 million), the second-highest lot of the night.

A 8.48 carat Burmese ruby and diamond ring that belonged to the late Maria-Jose, the last Queen of Italy, was stranded at 5.2 million Swiss francs ($7.23 million), drawing gasps as it failed to meet its reserve price set by the seller.

A Cartier diamond and pearl tiara that survived Germany’s sinking of the Lusitania cruise liner 100 years ago, along with its Canadian owner Marguerite Lady Allan, whose two daughters perished, went for $US800,000 in heated bidding, doubling the low end of its estimate.

A 15.20 carat fancy orange-pink diamond pendant owned by former James Bond actor Sean Connery fetched more than 4 million Swiss francs ($5.58 million), tripling its estimate.

“Overall, it was an extraordinary evening,” Mr Bennett said.



Henry Sapiecha

This blue diamond may become the most expensive gem ever sold at auction

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A rare 12-carat, flawless blue-coloured diamond, known as Blue Moon, may soon become the most expensive gem ever sold at an auction as it is expected to fetch up to $55 million when it goes under Sotheby’s hammer on Nov. 11, in Geneva.

To set the world record price for any diamond put to auction, Blue Moon must sell for more than $46.2 million, which is what The Graff Pink went for in 2010.

If it does fetch over that price, the South Africa-mined rock would also be the most expensive blue rock ever sold, beating the Zoe Diamond, which fetched $32.6 million in 2014, international auction house Sotheby’s said.

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Blue Moon was polished out of a 29.62-carat rough diamond found by Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) at the Cullinan mine in South Africa. Cora International, a New York- based gem-cutter, purchased the rock and took more than six months to prepare the stone.

Its name is a reference to the idiom “once in a blue moon,” a hat tip to the rarity of finding a diamond of that shade and clarity, Sotheby’s said.


Henry Sapiecha

Kim Kardashian Buys Diamond Bracelets that Belonged to Elizabeth Taylor

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Reality TV star Kim Kardashian, who interviewed Elizabeth Taylor for Harper’s Bazaar in February, reportedly paid $65,000 for some of Taylor’s diamond bangle bracelets at last week’s record-breaking auction of the late actress’ jewelry and clothing.
According to blogs, Kardashian chose three jade and diamond bracelets by celebrity jewelry designer Lorraine Schwartz.
Taylor’s jewelry brought in a total of $118 million, making it the most expensive private collection of jewels ever auctioned.
Many of the pieces sold for millions above their pre-sale estimates, such as the Krupp diamond ring, which had been expected to sell for $2.5-$3.5 million but eventually went for over $8.8 million.


Henry Sapiecha

Elizabeth Taylor’s Taj Mahal Diamond at Center of Legal Dispute

Elizabeth Taylor‘s heart-shaped diamond, known as the “Taj Mahal”, is at the center of a legal battle between the trustees of the actress’ estate and Christie’s auction house, LA Times reports. The stone was sold for more than $8 million to an anonymous buyer in 2011.

The dispute focuses on an inscription on the piece that bears the name of a Mughal emperor’s wife. Months after the diamond’s sale, the buyer demanded that the sale be canceled based on the buyer’s contention that the stone was not from the Mughal period.

Christie’s agreed to cancel the sale, and demanded  that Taylor’s trust return more than $7 million it received from the sale. The trustees allege the auction house has violated its agreement to auction off the estate and did so only to appease a “VIP customer”.


Henry Sapiecha

This ‘perfect’ 100ct diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

This ‘perfect’ diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

An internally “flawless” 100-carat emerald-cut diamond was shown Monday in Dubai only weeks before the jewel goes under Sotheby’s hammer in New York next month, where predictions suggest it could fetch up to $25 million

The gem, discovered a decade ago at one of De Beers mines in South Africa, is one of just five diamonds over 100 carats and of comparable quality to have been offered at auction, according to Sotheby’s.

This ‘perfect’ diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

The current owner of the diamond spent more than a year studying, cutting and polishing the rough diamond before delivering the stone to the auction house.

Sotheby’s sold the first 100-carat perfect diamond at an auction in 1990. The price per carat for these diamonds has increased from $125,000 to $260,000 from the first auction until the most recent, in 2013, the auction house said.

The stone’s details include “100.2-carat, D colour, Internally Flawless, Type IIa stone”, which, for the uninitiated, means it has the clearest colour, without any blemishes on being magnified and is free from imperfections.

This ‘perfect’ diamond could fetch up to $25 million in NYC next month

Sotheby’s hopes that showcasing this “perfect” diamond in Dubai and other locations ahead of the April auction will help it attract the attention of the Middle East’s wealthy elite.

All images courtesy of Sotheby’s.


Henry Sapiecha


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This is what a $16.3 million yellow diamond looks like

This 100.09-carat “Graff Vivid Yellow” diamond, one of the world’s largest cut precious gems of any colour, fetched Tuesday an astronomical $16.3 million, the highest amount ever paid for a yellow diamond, at Sotheby’s Geneva auction of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels, held at the Hôtel Beau-Rivage.

The daffodil-colour rock is mounted as a ring and sparkles with “extraordinary fire and brilliance,” according to the auction house, which added the auction, featuring two diamonds over 100 carats, drew buyers from more than 30 countries.

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Previously known as the Dream Diamond, the Graff Vivid Yellow was a captivating 190-carat rough stone at the time Laurence Graff — a high-profile connoisseur and collector of fine coloured diamonds— bought it in Kimberley, South Africa. When he first saw the diamond crystal, he stated, “It was an intense golden yellow and one of the rarest yellow diamonds I had ever seen. I knew the polished stone within would be more than exceptional.”

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The rock was then sent to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to certify its natural authenticity. For the next nine months, New York master cutter Nino Bianco transformed the stone. The brilliant, 100.09-carat polished cushion-cut diamond was renamed the Graff Vivid Yellow and was unveiled as the world’s largest yellow diamond. It made its public debut at Kensington Palace in London.

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Henry Sapiecha

5.70-carat, rectangular-cut fancy blue VS1 diamond sold for more than $2 m

A 5.70-carat, rectangular-cut fancy blue VS1 diamond sold for more than $2 million, or $360,000 per carat.image

A 5.70-carat, rectangular-cut fancy blue VS1 diamond sold for more than $2 million, or $360,000 per carat.

Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale.

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Henry Sapiecha

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32.72-carat, rectangular-cut D-color VS1 diamond sold for $2.4 million

A 32.72-carat, rectangular-cut D-color VS1 diamond sold for $2.4 million, or $74,000 per carat.image

A 32.72-carat, rectangular-cut D-color VS1 diamond sold for $2.4 million, or $74,000 per carat.

Christie’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale.

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Henry Sapiecha

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