The Blue Diamond…. beautiful like our earth’s sky and alluring like the deepest oceans.
The illustrious story of the impeccable blue diamond began in the 17th century when Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French diamond merchant, traveller and pioneer of diamond trade with India, first set eyes on a unique and unforgettable diamond in India. The“superfine deep blue” that so captivated Tavernier was later sold to King Louis XIV in 1669 as the famous French Blue, used to adorn the crown of Queen Marie Antoinette. Throughout its history, the stone was cut, stolen, sold, bequeathed and cut again,until it finally landed in the hands of Harry Winston, who donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958. This coveted stone became known as the famous Hope Diamond . Since then, blue diamonds have been synonymous with tales of royalties,myths, curses, and celebrated for their veil of mystery and intriguing beauty.
Natural Blue Diamonds are very rare…. Since 2008 out of the eighteen million tonnes mined and five million carats recovered, only five world-class blue diamonds have emerged from Cullinan, or less than 0.1 per cent of the mine’s annual yield.
The exceptional beauty and rarity of blue diamonds is praised and desired by collectors and connoisseurs. Among the rarest gems in the world, blue diamonds owe their natural color to the presence of the trace element boron during the stone’s formation. According to the GIA, The overwhelming majority of natural color blue diamonds are type IIb, in which the color is associated with the presence of boron.
Over the last 100 years, the most significant source of blue diamonds entering the marketplace has been the Premier Mine (now known as the Cullinan Mine) in Gauteng province, South Africa, which was made famous by the discovery of the 3,106-carat colorless Cullinan diamond in 1905. However, discoveries are still sporadic and always astonishing occurrences. Indeed, since the mine was acquired by Jersey-based Petra Diamonds in 2008, out of the eighteen million tonnes mined and five million carats recovered, only five world-class blue diamonds have emerged from Cullinan, or less than 0.1 per cent of the mine’s annual yield. The famous 7.03-carat Star of Josephine(auctioned in May 2009, Sotheby’s Geneva) and the 11 Millennium Blue Diamondspresented by De Beers in 2000 to celebrate the turn of the millennium (of which one was auctioned in April 2010 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong) are all stunning examples of rare blue diamond’s hailing from the famed Premier Mine. In 2015, the ‘Blue Moon’ a 12.03-carat Fancy Vivid blue, Internally Flawless gem sold for a whopping $48.4 million, making it the world’s most expensive diamond was found in Cullinan.
The Cullinan Dream (below) – The exceptional 122.52 carat blue diamond recovered at the Cullinan mine in South Africa in June 2014. The incredible rarity of a blue diamond of this magnitude sets it apart as a truly significant find. In September 2014, the rough stone was sold for a value equivalent to US$27.6 million, with Petra retaining a 15% share in the net proceeds of the polished yield. The rough stone was entrusted to a master cutter and, after lengthy analysis, the best yield was determined to be four polished diamonds, each of notable size. The largest of the stones is a dazzling 26 carat radiant cut diamond of intense fancy blue. This magnificent diamond has been named The Cullinan Dream, reflecting its ethereal beauty. The polished stones are, from left to right: an 11.3 carat pear, a 26 carat radiant, a 10.3 carat radiant and a 7.0 carat cushion. The Cullinan Dream and its related stones are yet to be sold, but the exceptional rarity of blue diamonds, along with their rich history and heritage, has today made them one of the world’s most highly valuable and collectible items.
Drawn from the Cullinan mine in South Africa, formerly known as the Premier mine, the diamond is the largest of four blue diamonds cut from the 122.52 carat rough unearthed in 2014. The mine made history in 1905 when a 3,106.75 carat rough produced the Cullinan I (also known as the Star of Africa), the largest polished white diamond in existence. The Cullinan I is now housed in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels of England. In recent years the legendary mine remains newsworthy as the source for some of the most significant pink and blue diamonds to come to market.
The combination of the weight, colour and Type IIb properties together make the Cullinan Dream a truly exceptional and rare diamond. Most fancy intense blue diamonds weigh less than a single carat as the grade calls for very strong colour and full saturation. At a weight of 24.18 carats, it is remarkable for the stone to display such a pure and consistently strong blue colour throughout every facet.
The Cullinan Dream’s classification as Type IIb makes it an even more rare find. Type IIb diamonds lack a symmetrical crystal form and account for less than one-half of one per cent of all diamonds found in nature. Due to its asymmetrical structure and the potential value to be realized from each polished carat yielded, the Cullinan Dream rough was studied for months. Only the exceptional skill and experience of a master cutter could ensure that the finished diamond would be beautifully proportioned to reveal its high colour saturation and natural brilliance.
Most recently, the Oppenheimer Blue set a world record in Geneva on 18 May when it reached $57.5 million, making it the most valuable jewel ever sold at auction. The Oppenheimer Blue can only be described as one of the rarest gems in the world.