AUCTIONS – The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection to be sold by Sotheby’s

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Hot on the heels of the sale of the De Beers Blue, a 15.10 carat step-cut Fancy Vivid Blue diamond for $57.5 million in April 2022, Sotheby’s has announced The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection – a superlative group of eight rare Fancy Blue diamonds to be sold across its Magnificent Jewels auctions this year in New York, Geneva, and Hong Kong and throughout the Spring of 2023.

The superb hues, even colour distribution and saturation of the diamonds, which were expertly sourced and assembled by De Beers – the global leader in the sourcing and curation of natural diamonds – and crafted into works of art by Diacore’s world-class cutters and polishers, forms one of the rarest and most notable collections of coloured diamonds in the world.

Appearing at auction for the first time, The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection comes to the market with a combined total value in excess of $70 million.

Blue Collection to be sold by Sotheby's

Picture credit: Sotheby’s

Announcing the sale of The De Beers Exceptional Blue CollectionQuig Bruning, Head of Sotheby’s Jewels, Americas, commented: ‘Sotheby’s boasts a stellar record of selling some of the most coveted important fancy blue diamonds in auction history. Nearly six months after we set a new benchmark for one of the highest prices achieved for a blue diamond at auction with the $57.5 million sale of the De Beers Blue, we are honored to be entrusted with this superb collection of Fancy Blue diamonds. Also recovered from the historic Cullinan mine in South Africa, the De Beers Exceptional Blues are a true testament of our world’s most extraordinary treasures and what is yet to be discovered.’

Wenhao Yu, Chairman of Jewellery and Watches at Sotheby’s Asia, added: The discovery of a gem-quality blue diamond of any size is a rare occurrence, so to have the opportunity to offer not one, but eight dazzling blues in a range of shapes and weights, is therefore truly exceptional. We are absolutely delighted that De Beers and Diacore have entrusted us with a collection of such rarity and beauty that most of us will not see replicated again.”

“I have remained in awe of The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection since the first moment I set eyes on it,” said Olivier Wagner, Head of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Auctions in Geneva. “The market for coloured diamonds and precious gemstones has never been stronger, so we are absolutely thrilled to be offering the first diamond of this superb collection as one of the star highlights of our Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction next month in Geneva.  This important gem will, I am sure, captivate all collectors of exceptional gemstones.”

The collection consists of eight phenomenal blue diamonds of various shapes and weights totaling 32.09 carats, ranging in size from a 1.22 carat oval brilliant-cut to a 11.29 carat step-cut diamond. Three of these exceptional diamonds will be offered this year: De Beers Exceptional Blue 5.53 (est. $11/15 million) will be one of the star highlights of Sotheby’s Magnificent and Nobles Jewels auction in Geneva on 9 November, while the De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.24 (est. $5/8 million) and De Beers Exceptional Blue 2.08 ( est. $1.2/1.5 million) will be offered in the 7 December auction of Magnificent Jewels in New York. A full breakdown of The De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection is available below: 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 11.29: a step-cut Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 11.29 carats

(est. $28/50 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 5.53:  a cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 5.53

(est. $11/15 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 4.13: a step-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 4.13 carats

(est. 2.5/3.5 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.24: a cushion brilliant-cut Internally Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 3.24 carats

(est. $5-8 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 3.10: a cushion brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Blue, weighing 3.10 carats

(est.$4.5/5 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 2.08: a cushion-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 2.08 carats

(est. $1.2/1.5 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 1.50: a round brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 1.50 carats

(est. $750,000/1 million)

 

De Beers Exceptional Blue 1.22: an oval brilliant-cut Fancy Intense Blue, weighing 1.22 carats

(est. $600/800,000)

Of the eight blue diamonds, four were graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as Fancy Vivid, the highest colour grading for coloured diamonds; and the De Beers Exceptional 3.24 carat cushion brilliant-cut diamond also boasts exceptional clarity, having been declared Internally Flawless by the GIA. 

Prestige, Provenance, Rarity: A Collection Like No Other

In November 2020, De Beers and Diacore jointly purchased five rare blue rough diamonds from the legendary Cullinan mine that weighed a total of 85.62 carats. Over a period of nearly two years, Diacore meticulously cut and polished the five roughs — ranging from 9.61 to 25.75 carats – and transformed them into the spectacular collection of eight Fancy Blue diamonds presented today.  

Given that diamonds are the hardest material on earth, great skill and precision is needed to cut them. With blue diamonds, the challenge is yet greater: because of their formation, every faceting process of a blue diamond demands extreme care and precision. There is zero tolerance for miscalculation; any minute error would result in a loss of colour and destruction of the beauty. It is with De Beers’ unparalleled expertise in the art of sourcing and assembling the rarest of treasures, coupled with Diacore’s incomparable skill in cutting and polishing rare exceptional gems, which truly makes this superlative group of eight diamonds so remarkable.

Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers Group commented on the collection, “The magnificent De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection stands as testament to De Beers’ unique ability to source the rarest diamonds in the world, and the patience and foresight required to assemble a collection that transcends rarity and can only be called remarkable.”

Nir Livnat, Chairman, Diacore, added: “After two years of meticulously perfecting these diamonds, we are incredibly proud and excited to reveal the astonishing De Beers Exceptional Collection, and to join forces once again with De Beers to create and bring to market some of the world’s rarest diamonds. While unique on their own, the beauty of the blue diamonds of the De Beers Exceptional Collection certainly resonate with the 11 phenomenal blue diamonds from the Millennium Blue Collection, which we crafted and designed together with the spectacular 203.04 carat Millennium Star that was presented by De Beers at the turn of the millennium.”

Captivating and enigmatic, blue diamonds are considered one of the rarest colours of all diamonds. A fabulous fluke of nature, a blue diamond is produced by the random presence of the atomic lattice-bound trace element boron within the diamond’s carbon structure during its formation deep in the earth’s core.  Today, blue diamond discoveries of any size are still sporadic and an always astonishing occurrence. Laden with significance, mystery, and prestige, blue diamonds are truly one of nature’s most extraordinary creations and rarest endowments. No diamond collection is complete without one.