Rare blue diamond fetches $17m at Geneva auction

A rare blue diamond on Wednesday sold in Geneva for just over $17 million, as Sotheby's eyed total sales in excess of $100 million at the autumn jewel auctions.

Rare blue diamond fetches $17m at Geneva auction
The ring was valued at $15-25 million. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The 8.01-carat “Sky Blue” diamond in a Cartier setting was snapped up for $17.1 million (15.9 million euros), a hike of 33 percent on the $12.8 million it sold for in 2012, said the auction house's international jewellery division director David Bennett.
Rival auction house Christie's opened the season on Tuesday with 167 lots that sold for $97 million, beating its pre-auction estimate of $80 million.
The “Sky Blue” sale came amid feverish demand for coloured stones.
Sotheby's had valued the ring at $15-25 million, well short of the astonishing $57.54 million Christie's fetched in May for the 14.62-carat “Oppenheimer Blue”, which remains the world record.
Tobias Kormind, head of 77 Diamonds, Europe's biggest online diamond jewellery retailer, said interest in coloured stones remained strong.
“Given the rarity of blue diamonds of this size and quality which have ever been unearthed, you'd expect every auction of this kind to be a dogfight,” Kormind said before the auction at the five-star Hotel Beau Rivage on Lake Geneva.

Rich with history

Sotheby's, however, failed to sell two other important lots.
The first was a parure, valued at $3 to $5 million, featuring diamonds once owned by Russian empress Catherine I. The diamonds were given to her by her husband, czar Peter the Great, who led Russia until his death in 1725.
In 1711, Catherine was worried that a raging conflict with the Ottoman Empire posed huge risks to Russia and told her husband to draft a peace treaty, Sotheby's said, citing historical records.
Catherine sent the peace proposal and all the jewels she was travelling with to the Ottoman sultan Ahmed III.
The sultan “accepted these and was obviously delighted, and the truce was given and the (Russian) empire was saved”, Bennett said earlier.
Also unsold was a diamond necklace with a detachable clasp owned by empress Catherine II — Catherine the Great — who ruled Russia from 1762 to 1796, also valued at up to $5 million.

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Rare pink diamond to go under hammer in Geneva

An extremely rare pink diamond will be auctioned in Geneva on November 11 by Sotheby's, which says it is worth between $23 and $38 million.

Rare pink diamond to go under hammer in Geneva
A model poses with the “The Spirit of the Rose” diamond during a press preview on Friday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Named “The Spirit of the Rose” after a famous Russian ballet, the 14.83-carat diamond mined in Russia is the biggest ever to go under the hammer in its category — “fancy vivid purple-pink”.
The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size,” Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby's jewellery division, said in a statement. “Only one per cent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10-carats.”
Speaking to AFP, Benoit Repellin, head of fine jewellery auctions at Sotheby's Geneva, said the oval-shaped diamond was “completely pure.”
The rough diamond was unearthed by Russia's Alrosa — one of the world's leading diamond producers — in the Republic of Sakha in the northeast of the country in July 2017.
Repellin said it took a painstaking year for cutting masters to turn the diamond into its polished form.
Sotheby's said the world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel was the “CTF Pink Star”, a 59.60-carat oval pink diamond that sold for $71.2 million in Hong Kong in 2017.
According to Repellin, five out of the 10 most valuable diamonds ever sold at auction were pink.
The sale of this gem coincides with the closure of the world's largest pink diamond mine in Australia after it exhausted its reserves of the precious stones.
The Argyle mine, in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, churned out more than 90 percent of the world's pink diamonds.