The Oppenheimer Blue is set to be the largest Vivid Blue diamond ever to appear at auction. François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Asia Pacific and China, shares its story
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‘During my 47 years at Christie’s, I’ve been lucky enough to have handled and auctioned some of the world’s most legendary blue diamonds,’ says François Curiel, introducing the exceptional Oppenheimer Blue, which, at 14.62 carats, is the largest Vivid Blue ever to come to auction, set to star in Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction on 18 May in Geneva.
‘The Oppenheimer Blue was named in honour of a very special connoisseur — its previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer,’ continues Curiel. ‘The Oppenheimers have been leaders in the diamond industry for generations and Sir Philip could have had any diamond he wanted. But he chose this one, with its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape.’
A brief history of blockbuster diamonds
The Oppenheimer Blue diamond (Estimate: CHF38,000,000–45,000,000 / $39,141,630-46,351,931) is the latest in a line of historic blue diamonds that have been auctioned at Christie’s. These include the Tereshchenko in 1984, the Wittelsbach Blue in 2008, the Begum Blue in 1995, and a blue-diamond ring owned by Marie-Antoinette which was auctioned in 1983. Curiel notes the coveted nature of such rare gems: ‘Blue diamonds have gained a wider following, not only because they are stunning, but because there are so few of them available in the world.’
The exceptional diamond is classified as a Vivid Blue, emphasised by its classical emerald cut. ‘The Oppenheimer Blue can only be described as one of the rarest gems in the world,’ says Curiel. ‘It is the gem of gems.’