Blue diamond is a type of diamond which exhibits all of the same inherent properties of the mineral except with the additional element of blue colour in the stone. They are coloured blue by trace amounts of boron that contaminate the crystalline lattice structure. Blue diamonds belong to a subcategory of diamonds called fancy colour diamonds, the generic name for diamonds that exhibit intense colour. Blue diamonds range in grade from Flawless to Included, just as in the case of white diamonds. Blue diamonds are only considered rare and valuable if they are natural. The definition of a natural blue diamond is a blue diamond that was mined with its blue colour already present. Since the 1950’s, many methods have been developed to change a diamond’s appearance, including adding colour to a colourless stone. These are considered enhanced diamonds and do not have the value or resale value of a natural blue diamond.
Blue diamond gradient levels
The Blue Heart Diamond
Blue Heart Diamond Unmounted
The Blue Heart Diamond the Blue Heart Diamond’s claim to fame is its stunning rare deep blue colour, its heart shape, and its large size: an impressive 30.62 carats. The Blue Heart is ranked the world’s fifth largest blue diamond.
For a while it was believed that the stone originated in India, where many diamonds used to originate from. However, in recent years it was discovered that the Blue Heart was actually found in South Africa in November 1908. At the time, the magnificent diamond weighed an astounding 102 carats in the rough, and was later cut and polished by French jeweller Atanik Eknayan of Parisinto the diamond we now recognize as the Blue Heart. After the renowned French cutting firm cut the blue beauty, it was sold to
Blue Heart Necklace Setting
Cartier’s, where it was placed in a corsage called “Lily of the Valley.” The corsage was bought by Mrs. Unzue where it remained until 1953.
The jewellery firm Cleef & Arpels bought the jewel, and it was they who disassembled the corsage and turned the diamond into a brilliant pendant surrounded by 25 colorless diamonds.
Blue Heart in a Ring Setting
A European family then purchased the diamond pendant along with the necklace for a total of $300,000. Harry Winston got hold of the precious gem in 1959 and had it set in a platinum ring only to have it sold to Marjorie Merriweather Post.
The Blue Heart stayed with Mrs. Post until the 1960s when she decided it was time to donate the treasure to the Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC where it has been on display till this very day.
The Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond Unmounted
The Smithsonian is home to the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond, the world’s largest deep blue diamond. The gem has a long and mysterious past—and some people even think it is cursed! The 45.52 carat steel blue Hope Diamond was found in India back in remote times as a rough crystal weighing 112 carats. Scholars believe that King Louis XIV of France bought the Hope Diamond in 1668. After King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France in 1791 during the French Revolution, the diamond was turned over to the French government. The next year it was stolen.
It wasn’t until 1812 in London that the diamond appeared again. Though evidence indicated it was the same stone, there is no way to be completely sure. It passed through
several owners before an American heiress named Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean brought it to the United States. She added its current setting—it is now surrounded by 16white diamonds and hangs on a chain of 45 diamonds.
After Mrs. McLean died, jeweler Harry Winston bought the diamond and donated it to the Smithsonian. And how did he send it? Winston simply placed the priceless diamond in a plain brown paper wrapper and sent it by registered first-class mail. He said, “It’s the safest way to mail gems. I’ve sent gems all over the world that way.”
In 2010, a new temporary setting, “Embracing Hope,” was designed by Harry Winston
Embracing Hope Setting
Inc. and unveiled and placed on public display Nov. 18. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the Hope Diamond’s donation to the museum in 1958 and the 100th anniversary of the museum.
The new platinum setting surrounds the legendary deep-blue diamond with an extraordinary 340 baguette diamonds totaling 66 carats. It will be on display for a limited time, after which the Hope will be returned to its historic setting.
Today the Hope Diamond is one of the most visited museum objects in the world. And is it really cursed? Most curators don’t believe so. In fact, the Smithsonian has always looked at the Hope Diamond as a source of good luck!
Cullinan Dream Ring
Drawn from the Cullinan mine in South Africa, formerly known as the Premier mine, the diamond is the largest of four blue diamonds cut from the 122.52 carat rough unearthed in 2014. The mine made history in 1905 when a 3,106.75 carat rough produced the Cullinan I. In recent years the legendary mine remains newsworthy as the source for some of the most significant pink and blue diamonds to come to market.
The combination of the weight, colour and properties together make the Cullinan Dream a truly exceptional and rare diamond. Most fancy intense blue diamonds weigh less than a single carat as the grade calls for very strong colour and full saturation. At a weight of 24.18 carats, it is remarkable for the stone to display such a pure and consistently strong blue colour throughout every facet.
As advertised at Christie’s
In 2016 the Cullinan Dream was sold at auction at Christie’s New York it was listed as “Set with a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue diamond, weighing approximately 24.18 carats, flanked on either side by a tapered baguette-cut diamond, weighing a total of approximately 2.36 carats, ring size 6, mounted in platinum, inscribed ‘Cullinan Dream’.” It fetched £19,215,909.
The Oppenheimer Blue
The Oppenheimer Blue
This stone has a provenance that is like royalty of the diamond kingdom. It was once the property of the most influential and powerful diamond families the world has ever known, the Oppenheimers of the De Beers family. Named in their honour, the Oppenheimer Blue, at 14.62 carats, is the largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond to ever come to auction.
Setting a new world record for any jewel sold at auction,
The Oppenheimer Blue
the Oppenheimer Blue sold for $57,541,779 (£43,646,815) on 18 May 2016 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. The exceptional blue diamond inspired fierce bidding among collectors before it came down to three private collectors in the tense final moments. The room broke out into applause as the gavel came down and the final number was announced. Exemplifying the continued global demand for the highest-quality stones, the Oppenheimer Blue makes history as the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction.
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
Since Madrid archives have been destroyed in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, the diamond’s earliest record dates from 1664, when it was given by Philip IV of Spain to his daughter Infanta Margareta Teresa, then 15, for her engagement to Emperor Leopold I of Austria. In, 1675 at the young age of 21, Infanta died after being weakened by too many miscarriages. Her husband inherited all her jewels and in turn, left them to his third wife, Empress Eleanor Magdalena, who passed the Great Blue Diamond to her granddaughter, Archduchess Maria Amelia.
Maria Amelia married the Bavarian Crown Prince Charles Albert in 1722, which was a turning point in the pretty uneventful history of the Blue Diamond – it became the family diamond of the House of Bavaria, the Wittelsbachs. The Archduchess Maria had the diamond mounted in an Order of the Golden Fleece, an
Order of the Golden Fleece
emblem of the Roman Catholic Order of Chivalry. However, soon after the wedding, the Crown Prince’s father, the Elector Maximilian Emmanuel, who was in financial difficulties, borrowed money from a banker pledging the Wittelsbach Diamond. The diamond was redeemed four years later for 543,781 Guilders, but the Elector died before paying the amount and the Crown Prince – his successor – was left with the duty of paying the debt – which totaled 4,000,000 Guilders including the redemption of the diamond.
The last King of Bavaria to own the blue diamond was Louis III – who reigned until Germany became a republic in 1918. He died in 1921 and that was the last time the Wittelsbach Diamond accompanied a royalty to his final resting place. In 1931, the Wittelsbach Diamond was put to a Christie’s auction along with other crown Jewels to financially support the royal descendants during the tough economic climate that followed World War I.
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
But here is where its traces become unclear – the diamond was never sold at the then-famous auction, yet never returned to its display in Munich. After years of speculations, it turns out the diamond was sold by the royal family in Brussels in 1951, then again in 1955. And although three years later it was displayed in the Brussels World Exhibition, it appears no one realized it was the missing Wittelsbach Diamond.
In 1962, a Belgium diamond dealer Joseph Komkommer was asked to examine a stone and immediately recognized the Wittelsbach Diamond. Komkommer formed a group of diamond buyers, who purchased the diamond from the trustees of an estate of an undisclosed identity.
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond on display
In 1964 it was bought by a private collector, and in 2008 the Wittelsbach Diamond was sold at a Christie’s auction to the famous jeweler Laurence Graff for $24.3 million (£16,393,250). Graff re-cut the diamond, losing 4.45 carats, to 31.06 carats “to remove damage to the girdle and enhance the colour.” It is now a Fancy Deep Blue internally flawless diamond, and renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff.
The Imperial Blue
The Imperial Blue Diamond
Acquired by Graff in 1984, the 39.31 Imperial Blue is the world’s largest known Flawless Fancy Deep Blue Diamond. What it lacks in provenance and color intensity, it makes up for in size. At $2 million (£1,517,047) per carat, it would command a reserve price of $79 million (£59,923,389).