4: The Oppenheimer Blue: The most expensive blue diamond in auction history
On 18 May 2016, the Oppenheimer Blue, lot 242 in Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva, was bought for CHF 56,837,000 ($57,973,000), making it, at the time, the most expensive jewel in auction history. That season, it was also the most expensive work of art sold at auction.
The diamond was named in honour of its previous owner, the connoisseur Sir Philip Oppenheimer. The Oppenheimers have been leaders in the diamond industry for generations and Sir Philip had the pick of any diamond he wanted. He chose this one for its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape.
In recent years blue diamonds have gained a wider following, not only because they are stunning, but because there are so few of them available. The Oppenheimer Blue is classified as ‘Fancy Vivid Blue’ by the Gemological Institute of America, the highest colour grade and colour intensity for blue diamonds. At 14.62 carats, it is the largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond to have ever appeared at auction.
‘The Oppenheimer Blue can only be described as one of the rarest gems in the world,’ said Francois Curiel, who has experienced many superlative jewels being offered during his long service at Christie’s. ‘It is the gem of gems.’
Content courtesy: Christie’s