A brief history of blockbuster diamonds

The Oppenheimer Blue became the most expensive gemstone ever sold at auction in May 2016. We look back at some of the other exceptional diamonds Christie’s has handled


The Oppenheimer Blue


JEWELS The Oppenheimer Blue — a ‘legendary’ diamond Read more

At 14.62 carats, the breathtaking Oppenheimer Blue — named after Sir Philip Oppenheimer of De Beers fame — is the largest Fancy Vivid Blue ever to come to auction. It is the latest in a line of historic blue diamonds to have been auctioned at Christie’s which includes the Tereshchenko in 1984 and the Wittelsbach Blue in 2008.

François Curiel, Chairman of Christie's Asia Pacific and China, observes: ‘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 Oppenheimer Blue is one of the rarest gems in the world. It is the gem of gems.’

The Perfect Pink


The Perfect Pink. A superb coloured diamond and diamond ring. Set with a rectangular-shaped fancy intense pink diamond weighing 14.23 carats, flanked on either side by a rectangular-shaped diamond weighing 1.73 and 1.67 carats, mounted in 18k rose and white gold. Sold for: HK$179,860,000 ($23,274,064) on 29 November 2010 at Christie’s in Hong Kong

Since they were first discovered in India, pink diamonds have been considered among the most beautiful of gemstones. At 14.23 carats, The Perfect Pink is particularly rare, with polished pink diamonds of its size and colour virtually unheard of — fewer than 10 per cent of all pink diamonds weigh more than 0.20 carats.

While most pink diamonds show some elements of purple, orange or grey, The Perfect Pink is just that, showing absolutely no trace of secondary colour. Completely devoid of inclusions, the diamond was sold in Hong Kong in 2010 for $23,274,064.

The Yellow


A magnificent coloured diamond ring. Set with a cushion modified brilliant-cut Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond, weighing approximately 75.56 carats, ring size 6, mounted in 18k gold. Sold for: $3,609,000

This exceptional gem possesses a soft cushion-shaped silhouette with modified cutting style, and is a sensational example of a Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond. Simply set as a ring within a streamlined yellow gold setting, the Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond requires no further ornamentation. To find a stone of approximately 75.56 carats graded a Fancy Vivid Yellow by the GIA is a rare occurrence in today’s marketplace.

The Orange


The Orange: The largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamond in the world. The Fancy Vivid Orange pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 14.82 carats. Sold for: CHF32,645,000 ($35,543,804) on 12 November 2013 at Christie’s in Geneva

When it was auctioned in 2013, The Orange was the largest Fancy Vivid Orange diamond ever to have been discovered, weighing approximately 14.82 carats. The GIA commented: ‘In the laboratory’s experience, strongly coloured diamonds in the orange hue range rarely exceed three of four carats in size when polished. This diamond is almost four times larger.’

Termed ‘fire diamonds’ by famous gemologist Edwin Streeter, pure orange diamonds remain incredibly rare, with so few having been graded that the exact cause of their colour remains a mystery. The diamond’s unique nature was reflected in its price, selling for $35,543,804 — more than $15 million above its high estimate.



A spectacular and highly important diamond, the pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 101.73 carats. Sold for: CHF25,883,750 ($26,746,541) on 15 May 2013 at Christie’s in Geneva

In 2013, Christie’s auctioned one of the world’s most perfect diamonds, and one of the largest pear-shaped diamonds known to date — weighing in at an extraordinary 101.73 carats. Awarded the highest ‘D’ colour grade by the Gemological Institute of America, the stone came with the coveted ‘Flawless’ clarity, and was bought for $26,746,541.

Perfectly symmetrical, the finished diamond was produced from a rough diamond of 236 carats sourced in Botswana, and took 21 months to polish. ‘Just as a great artist is able to “see” a masterpiece in a block of marble, a perfect diamond is the result of the skill and vision of a master cutter who is able to uncover beauty from a rough gem,’ explains International Head of Jewellery Rahul Kadakia.

A pink masterpiece


The largest cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond at auction. Set with a cushion-shaped fancy vivid pink diamond, weighing approximately 16.08 carats, within a diamond twin surround, to the pink diamond gallery and diamond-set hoop, ring size 6, mounted in platinum and gold. Sold for: CHF28,725,000 ($28,687,003)

Sold in Geneva on 10 November 2015, this cushion-shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond is the largest of its kind ever to come to auction, weighing in at 16.08 carats. The stone is set in a ring, and is surrounded by a double row of pavé white diamonds, a third row of small pink diamonds nestled underneath.

‘As large and rare coloured diamonds of this calibre become increasingly hard to locate, this 16.08 carat Fancy Vivid Pink diamond comes to market at a time when great gems are mirroring prices achieved for masterpieces in the world of fine art,’ comments Kadakia. Awarded to just one in 100,000 diamonds, the ‘Fancy Vivid’ status is exceptionally rare, reflecting the depth of the diamond’s straight pink hue.

‘The Blue’


The Blue: Fancy Vivid Blue pear-shaped diamond, weighing approximately 13.22 carats, flanked on either side by pear-shaped diamonds, weighing approximately 1.00 and 0.96 carat. Sold for CHF21,445,000 ($24,202,829) on 14 May 2014 at Christie’s in Geneva

Weighing in at 13.22 carats, The Blue was sold as the largest Flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond in the world. Set in a ring, the pear-shaped stone came flanked by two pear-shaped white diamonds, weighing approximately 1.00 and 0.96 carats. It was purchased by Harry Winston in Geneva in 2014 for a sum equating to just over $24 million.

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