The diamond was discovered at the Cullinan Mine in South Africa in 2021, one of very few sources in the world for extremely rare blue diamonds. Over the past year, De Beers has worked with its partner, Diacore, one of the most experienced master diamond cutters, to cut and polish the extraordinary rough diamond and bring The De Beers Cullinan Blue to life.
NEW YORK, 16 February 2022 – Sotheby’s announces today that it will present The De Beers Cullinan Blue, an extraordinary natural treasure and one of the most valuable blue diamonds ever to be offered at auction. Estimated in excess of US$48 Million / HK$380 million, this extraordinary 15.10-carat step-cut blue has been recently cut from an exceptional rough stone discovered in April 2021. In its masterfully crafted, newly formed state, it now re-emerges as the largest vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction and the largest internally flawless step cut vivid blue diamond that the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has ever graded. Blue diamonds of this importance are exceptionally rare, with only five 10-carat+ examples ever having come to auction, none of which have exceeded 15 carats, making the appearance of this flawless gem a landmark event in itself.
The De Beers Cullinan Blue anchors Sotheby’s Hong Kong Luxury Week, and will be offered in a stand-alone, single lot live auction in late April 2022 (exact date to be announced). Given the global interest in a treasure of this nature, the diamond will be showcased on a worldwide tour. On view today in Sotheby’s galleries in New York, it will then travel to cities including London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Taipei (full dates will be released in due course).
Announcing the sale of the De Beers Cullinan Blue Diamond, Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, commented: “Blue diamonds of any kind are rare on the market, but this is the rarest of the rare; nothing of remotely similar calibre has appeared at auction in recent years. Hundreds of millions of years in the making, this extraordinary blue diamond is surely one of nature’s finest creations. Now brought to dazzling life by the hand of one of the world’s most skillful cutters, it is the ultimate masterpiece - as rare and desirable as the very greatest works of art. At a time of unprecedented demand for the finest, world-class, coloured diamonds, we are incredibly excited to bring to the market what is sure to become one of the most celebrated gems in the world.”
Wenhao Yu, Chairman of Jewellery and Watches at Sotheby’s Asia, added: “The De Beers Cullinan 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. 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.”
Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group said: “This diamond ranks as one of the best De Beers has ever seen. It is extremely rare and unique, and as the Home of Diamonds, De Beers is pleased to join together with Sotheby’s to bring this diamond to the world.”
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, renamed ‘The Zoe Diamond’ at Sotheby’s New York, 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 still holds the price per-carat auction record for any diamond or gemstone.
Sotheby’s has realised four of the past five highest prices for Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds.
WORLD AUCTION RECORD PRICE PER CARAT FOR ANY DIAMOND AND ANY GEMSTONE
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)
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)
From the 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)
Fancy Vivid Blue diamond Oval, 10.10 carats, Internally Flawless Sotheby’s Hong Kong, April 2016 Sold for US$31,830,766 (US$3,151,561 per carat)
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)
Fancy Vivid Blue diamond Square-cut, 8.01 carats, VVS1 Sotheby’s Geneva, November 2016 Sold for US$17,074,168 (US$2,131,607 per carat)