New York – On October 20, as the lead highlight of its flagship Jewels: The New York Sale, Christie's announces it will offer The BVLGARI Blue Diamond - a stunning two-stone diamond ring designed by the legendary house of BVLGARI in the 1970s. The ring features a triangular-shaped, colorless diamond of 9.87 carats paired with a stunning triangular-shaped Fancy Vivid blue diamond of 10.95 carats – the largest Fancy Vivid blue diamond of this cut ever to be offered at auction. Fancy Vivid blue diamonds of this size are among the rarest of colored diamonds — only one in about 10 million will possess a color pure enough to qualify as “Fancy Vivid”. The ring will be priced upon request for prospective bidders, but is expected to achieve in excess of $12 million and is positioned to become one of the top-selling diamonds at auction in 2010.
Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewelry for Christie’s Americas commented, “The appearance of this sensational jewel on the market is causing a huge stir amongst top jewelry collectors worldwide. Fancy Vivid blue diamonds of this size are among the most sought-after of colored diamonds and remain extremely difficult to find, given the scarcity of natural colored rough. This ring’s exceptional quality, rarity and size combined with the coveted imprimatur of the house of BVLGARI make this upcoming sale a truly special event in the world of jewelry and one that is certain to make auction history.”
The ring (pictured at right) is being offered by a private European collector who has kept the ring in his family for almost 40 years. According to family tradition, the ring was given as a gift from the collector to his wife in celebration of the birth of their first baby boy. Charmed by the ring’s bold geometric setting and the symbolism of its rare blue diamond, the collector worked with legendary BVLGARI salesman Carlo Tronconi – a favorite of Europe's most fashionable and discerning clients – at the jeweler’s flagship boutique on Via dei Condotti in Rome to acquire this special ring for his wife. The final sale price in 1972 was about $1 million US, a fortune at the time.
At the time of the ring’s purchase in the 1970s, BVLGARI’s prominence in the fine jewelry trade was rapidly expanding on an international level. The company was established in 1879 by Sotirio Bulgari, who opened his first shop in the Via Sistina in Rome. In 1905, after several decades of steady growth, he opened the company’s landmark store on Rome’s fashionable Via dei Condotti. Upon his death in 1932, his sons Giorgio and Constantino Bulgari took command of the business and together are credited with developing the distinctive style of BVLGARI with its heavy influences of Greek and Roman classicism. Among the scores of glamorous women who became devoted collectors of BVLGARI gems are Gracy Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor. Of the latter, Eddie Fisher famously commented, “The only word Elizabeth knows in Italian is Bulgari.”
In the 1970s, the period in which The BVLGARI Blue Diamond ring was designed, BVLGARI had begun to incorporate geometric forms, unusual combinations of colored and colorless diamonds, and the widespread use of yellow gold in settings. This distinctive look, reminiscent of Egyptian art in particular, set BVLGARI apart and contributed to the house’s huge success in the years following. Today, BVLGARI is led by a third generation of family members, including Paolo Bulgari, the current Chairman of the Bulgari Group, Nicola Bulgari, Vice Chairman, and Francesco Trapani, Chief Executive Officer.
MARKET UPDATE: BLUE DIAMONDS
In recent years, prices for top-quality colored diamonds have increased rapidly, driven by both collector demand and increasingly limited supply. Blue diamonds form very rarely, when a specific set of natural conditions and trace elements of the mineral boron are present in the earth. Of the natural blue rough that is formed through this process, only a miniscule number of the resulting polished diamonds will weigh more than 10 carats. As a result, large natural blue diamonds - in particular those possessing the coveted Vivid Blue tone and saturation - are amongst the most prized of colored diamonds, earning exceptional prices of well over $1 million per carat at auction. With its even color depth, balanced saturation, and clear sky-blue hue, The BVLGARI Blue Diamond has been graded as Fancy Vivid by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a further distinction of its absolute rarity.
Famous and notable examples of top blue diamonds sold at Christie's over the years include:
- The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
A 17th Century fancy deep grayish blue gem of 35.56cts
Sold at Christie’s London, 10 December 2008
Price realized: $24,300,000
WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR ANY DIAMOND
WORLD AUCTION RECORD FOR ANY JEWEL
- A rectangular Fancy Intense Blue Diamond
Of 13.39 cts
Sold at Christie’s Geneva, 14 May 2008
Price realized: US$ 8.9 million / CHF 9.2 million
A heart-shaped Fancy Deep Blue Diamond of 13.78 cts
Sold at Christie’s Geneva, 13 November 1995
Price realized: $7.8 million/ CHF 8.8 million
A fancy blue diamond of 42.92 cts, mounted as a necklace by Cartier
Sold at Christie’s Geneva, 14 November 1984
Price realized: $4.5 million
Christie’s has arranged a global preview tour of key sale highlights, including
The BVLGARI Blue Diamond, on the following dates. For appointments, please contact Christie’s Public Relations Department:
September 13-14 Christie’s Geneva
September 16-17 Christie’s Hong Kong
September 27-28 Christie’s London
October 16-19 Christie’s New York
Auction: Jewels: The New York Sale Wednesday, October 20, 2010
The complete e-catalogue for this sale will be available online at www.christies.com in late September.
Notes to Editors:
- In the first half of 2010, Christie’s sales of Jewellery, Jadeite and Watches totaled £151.5 million (US $227.3 million), a percentage increase of 75% from the same period last year.
- Christie’s worldwide sales for the first six months of 2010 were £1.71 billion (US$2.57 billion), up 46% by £ on last year’s figure of £1.2 billion ($1.8 billion) for the same period.
- Christie’s previously announced an iconic pair of Imperial Topaz and Diamond Ear Pendants by the celebrated designer JAR as a special highlight of the October 20 sale. Details available here: www.christies.com/about/press-center/releases/pressrelease.aspx?pressreleaseid=4221
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*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.