17 Jun 2019
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Historic Diamond the Farnese Blue Fetches $6.7 Million at Sotheby’s Geneve Auction
Two of the largest, purest white diamonds ever to come to auction were sold for a combined total of CHF 17.4 m ($17.4m), both weighing over 50 carats & perfect by all critical criteria.
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 16 2018 10:49AM
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Reference: 16355  

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Caroline Lang, Chairman of Switzerland auctioneering the Farnese Blue
Caroline Lang, Chairman of Switzerland auctioneering the Farnese Blue

Three world-class diamonds, discovered 300 years apart, dazzled in Sotheby’s Geneva jewellery sale. One of the foremost historic diamonds known to man, The Farnese Blue, soared to CHF 6,719,750 ($6,713,837), well above estimate (lot 377, est. CHF 3.5 – 5 million / $3.6 – 5.2 million). Given to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain, as a wedding present in 1715 and subsequently passed down through four of the most important royal families in Europe, the mesmerizing 6.16-carat pear-shaped blue diamond was appearing on the market for the first time this evening, after three centuries in the same family.

Alongside it were two highly impressive white diamonds, a 51.71-carat round diamond and a 50.39-carat oval diamond which both sold above the high estimate for CHF 9,260,000 ($9,251,851) (lot 350, est. CHF 7 – 7.7 million / $ 7.3 – 8 million) and CHF 8,131,000 / $ 8,123,845 (lot 376, est. CHF 7 – 7.7 million / $ 7.3 – 8 million) respectively. Discovered in Botswana, both stones are perfect according to all the critical criteria against which the world’s greatest diamonds are measured. They are D-Colour (the most coveted hue for white diamonds), have Flawless clarity and belong to the highly rarefied ‘Type IIa’ group, made up of just 2 per cent of gem diamonds with the highest optical transparency.

Testament to the increasingly global nature of the market, 50 countries participated in today’s “Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels” sale which also saw strong results for other white and coloured diamonds, signed pieces and jewels with aristocratic provenance and concluded with a combined total of CHF 85,705,050 ($ 85,629,630) (est. CHF 62.5 – 88 million / $62.2 – 87.6 million).

Speaking after the sale, Daniela Mascetti, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Europe and Senior International Jewellery Specialist and said: “The timeless appeal of diamonds was reasserted tonight in Geneva, with three exceptional stones cut centuries apart capturing the attention of international collectors. The Farnese Blue is quite simply an unforgettable diamond, and everyone who set their eyes on it was mesmerized by its extraordinary colour: the rich blue of the deepest ocean. As was evidenced by the competition between bidders this evening, the response from collectors has matched our own excitement for this diamond. We were also delighted be the results achieved by the two white diamonds over 50 carats in the sale, whose colour, cut and clarity are synonymous with 21st-century perfection.”

The sale in figures:

  • 82 per cent the lots sold
  • 70 per cent the lots sold above high estimate
  • 650 people registered to take part in the sale
  • 50 countries participated in the sale
  • No fewer than 5 auction records
  • 15 sold above $1 million

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