Auctions Sotheby's

Blue Moon Becomes Most Expensive Jewel in the World

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The name Josephine reigns in the kingdom of colored diamonds. Following the sale of the Sweet Josephine pink at Christie’s, the magnificently rare Blue Moon diamond has been renamed The Blue Moon of Josephine after selling to a private collector (reportedly Hong Kong’s sixth richest man Joseph Lau, who also bought the Sweet Josephine pink diamond at Christie’s) yesterday at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale. Selling for $48.5 million, the once in a ‘Blue Moon’ stone, a Fancy Vivid blue diamond of 12.03 carats, became the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, setting new records for any diamond of any color, or any gemstone, price-per-carat for any diamond, or any gemstone, and for any jewel.

The Blue Moon Diamond - An exceptional Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ring

The Blue Moon Diamond – An exceptional Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ring

The remarkable diamond bested the Graff Pink, which held the record price for any diamond when it sold for $46.2 million at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010. The icy blue bauble also set a new record price-per-carat at just over $4 million, a record previously held by The Zoe Diamond when it sold for $3.3 million per carat at Sotheby’s New York last year. The diamond’s record-breaking price helped the sale total reach $139 million with 82.8 percent sold by lot.

The Blue Moon of Josephine

The Blue Moon of Josephine

“I am absolutely delighted with this evening’s record result – this show-stopping blue diamond surely is a once-in-a-lifetime stone. I’m also pleased to say that tonight’s sale takes our total in Geneva for this year to an unprecedented 300 million dollars, following our record-breaking sale in May. The star of the evening, the ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ was discovered at the Cullinan Mine, which is owned by Petra Diamonds, and was polished to perfection by Cora International. It now takes its place among the world’s greatest diamonds.”– David Bennett, Sotheby’s Worldwide Chairman of Jewellery

Fancy orangy pink diamond pendant - 15.20-carat briolette pear

Fancy orangy pink diamond pendant – 15.20-carat briolette pear – Estimate $1,217,432 – 2,434,864

 

Also setting a record, a 15.20-carat Fancy orangy-pink diamond pendant from the collection of Sir Sean Connery set a world auction record for a Fancy orangy pink diamond when it sold for $4 million.

Superb fancy vivid purple-pink diamond ring

Superb fancy vivid purple-pink diamond ring

 

The sale’s second highest earning lot, however, was a Fancy Vivid purple-pink diamond of 8.24 carats that achieved a total of $13.9 million; and the catalogue cover lot – a magnificent emerald and diamond necklace, by Harry Winston, circa 1959 – sold for $3.8 million.

Magnificent emerald and diamond necklace, Harry Winston, 1959

Magnificent emerald and diamond necklace, Harry Winston, 1959

 

Two of the three important tiaras in the sale faired well, the first – a seed pearl and diamond tiara, by Cartier, circa 1909, that survived the sinking of the Lusitania – selling for $799,265 (almost double the high estimate). The second, a rare steel and diamond tiara, by Cartier, circa 1912, fetched $536,165, well within its estimate. The third tiara, a natural pearl and diamond tiara estimated at $2 to 4 million, did not find a new home.

Lady Allan Cartier Tiara

A seed pearl and diamond tiara, Cartier, circa 1909 – formerly in the collection of Lady Allan.

 

Unfortunately, the sale’s other major highlight after the Blue Moon diamond – the Queen Maria-José ruby ring – did not reach its lot estimate of $6 million and was thus unsold.

The Queen Maria-José ruby ring, an exceptional ruby and diamond ring, late 19th century - Set with an oval ruby stated to weigh 8.48 carats, framed with cushion-shaped diamonds.

The Queen Maria-José ruby ring, an exceptional ruby and diamond ring, late 19th century – Set with an oval ruby stated to weigh 8.48 carats, framed with cushion-shaped diamonds.

 

Proving the market for jewels by JAR remains as strong as ever, three pairs of earrings by the brilliant contemporary designer achieved a combined total of $1,148,072. For two of the three pairs, this is their second time on the auction block.

Additional sale highlights include:

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