Fancy yourself something blue? Christie’s will sell the Oppenheimer Blue (shown above), a 14.62-carat blue stone with an estimate of $35 to $45 million. It will be the largest Vivid Blue diamond to ever appear at auction and it gets its name from a previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, the former chairman of the diamond company De Beers.
It’s not the only diamond making news. Also on the block, this time at Sotheby’s, is Shirley Temple’s 9.54-carat blue diamond ring. Her father bought the ring in 1940 for just $7,210 and gave it to his daughter when she was 12 years old (and, possibly symbolically, right after she finished filming the movie The Blue Bird). It’s estimated to fetch between $25 and $35 million.
Blue diamonds are one of the rarest types of diamonds, which accounts for these astronomical estimates. The blue colour is caused by the presence of boron impurities—the more boron present in a diamond, the bluer it will be.
Last November, Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau Luen-hung set a record for the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction when he purchased a 12.03-carat blue diamond from Sotheby’s for $48.4 million. He named the stone for his seven year old daughter Josephine. And in May 2014, Christie’s sold a 13.22-carat blue diamond ring for $24.2 million.
The most famous blue diamond is the Hope Diamond, which is reportedly worth over $200 million. It won’t be up for auction anytime soon (and future buyers run the risk of falling victim to the stone’s legendary curse) but other historically important blue diamonds have been sold for record prices over the past decade.
In 2008 Christie’s sold the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond for $24.3 million, the highest price ever paid for a diamond at auction at the time . The 35.56-carat stone had once been mounted on the Crown of Bavaria and was sold to diamond dealer Laurence Graff, who recut it to enhance the colour and added his own last name to the diamond’s moniker.
The reason that colored diamonds have been yielding such high returns recently is because they have surged in popularity over the past few decades. Colored diamonds were not nearly as coveted in 1940, when Shirley Temple’s ring was purchased. If you want a blue diamond of your own, the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond will be auctioned in New York on April 19th and the Oppenheimer Blue will be sold in Geneva on May 18th.
From: Town & Country