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Monday, April 19, 2010

15 Most Famous Blue Diamonds of All Time

Blue diamonds are ranging from pale blue to delicate "rosy blue" and deep hue shades, all of them are unique and fascinating. Blues have always drawn the attention of jewelry fans, for whom price was not the obstacle. That is why six out of ten most expensive diamonds of the world are blue diamonds. The amount of natural blue diamonds is even less than 0.1% of all mined diamonds. Here is the list of most known and expensive blue diamonds of all times:

1. The Hope Diamond
Is the most famous blue diamond in the world. It is of unique steel blue color and weights 45.52 carats. This blue diamond is also known as "cursed diamond" as it always brought only bad luck to its owners: King Louis XIV of France, consort of King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Evelyn Walsh McLean, an American aristocrat, and Lord Francis Hope - the owner after whom the diamond took its name. The history of the Hope is cloaked in mystery. The legend says this gem was stolen from the statue of Sita in India. For long time the Hope was called the "Tavernier Blue" after the name of its first customer Jean Baptiste Tavernie, who brought crudely cut triangular diamond from India to Europe and described it as "beautiful violet". Since that time The Hope has had a lot of owners and currently is on display in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian Institute. This blue diamond is valued between $200,000 (an approximate price it was sold for last time) and $250,000,000.

2. The Wittelsbach Diamond
Is often compared to the Hope by its perfect clarity. A cushion-shaped gem of 35.56 carats is also in display at the Smithsonian Institute. Before the Wittelsbach diamond came to the United Stated, it had been handed down through generations of German royalty. The unique blue is known for its record — it was sold for record $24.3 million at auction in London in 2008 — the most ever paid amount for the diamond. Early the third largest blue diamond belonged to King Philip IV of Spain, King Leopold I of Austria and was handed down to his granddaughter Maria Amalia. She then married the Bavarian Crown Prince Charles Albert, a member of Wittelsbach dynasty, after whom the gemstone was named in a while. During its history blue diamond changed its settings rather often, with each elector mostly. Once it was set in a loop-shaped brooch and surrounded by 700 more diamonds of different sizes.

3. The Idol's Eye
History is cloaked in mystery. The legend says the diamond was the eye of an idol or statue in the temple in Benghazi. However, there is no evidence about its "mate", the second eye. The 70.21-carat slight bluish diamond is characterized by unusual cut and shape: something between an Old Mine cut and a triangular shape. The Idol's Eye possesses 9 facets instead of traditional 8. Also, there are many non-symmetrical facets scattered around the stone; this gives the Idol's Eye additional dazzling fire. The first "public" appearance of The Idol's Eye was in 1865 at Christie's sale in London. There The Idol's Eye was set in a pendant and surrounded by 18 small diamonds. Abdul Hamid II could not resist buying this pricey jewelry, as a result he became a new owner of the Idol's Eye. Actually, this diamond was possessed by many owners including unknown Spanish nobleman, a Dutch dealer, Harry Winston, Mrs. May Bonfils Stanton and Harry Levinson. The exact value of the Idol's Eye is unknown, however in 1973 Mr.Levinson wanted to sell the blue for $1,100,000 at auction in New York.

4. Koh-I-Noor
Is already a household name used all over the world. There is a saying used to describe the Koh-I-Noor diamond: "Whoever owned it, ruled the world". The Koh-I-Noor diamond is considered to be the most famous one, probably due to its unusual name which means "Mountain of Light" in Persian. The name was given occasionally: when the Persian ruler Nadir Shah unfolded the turban he cheated from Mohammed, the first words he exclaimed when seeing the blue stone were "Koh-I-Noor". Some say, this diamond has never been sold or bought, it took lives of people for its price. Indeed, the Indian and Persian rulers fought for it for a long time. The Koh-I-Noor was the largest cut diamond ever — it was 186-carat cut diamond. However, Prince Albert cut it to 105.602-carat size to increase the gem's brilliance, clarity and fire which it lacked. Unfortunately, cutting did not come up to expectations. Currently this blue giant is set into the Crown and was worn by the Queens of England. It belongs to Collection of Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.


5. The Orlov Diamond
History is somehow connected with the Idol's Eye. As a legend says, initially it was an eye of an idol in the Temple of Srirangam. The idol was behind the seven secured walls and only some trustworthy religious people were allowed to worship it. Despite the security, the diamond was stolen. The thief was a Frenchman converted to Hinduism who gained trust and was allowed to worship the statue. Many people think, the Koh-I-Noor diamond was the second eye as both of the diamonds seem to be cut out of the same rough stone. The Orlov diamond is of unusual shape: it resembles an egg cut in a half. The blue-green diamond retains its original cut known as Indian Rose and measures 189.62 carats. The Russian empress Catherine the Great named this blue diamond in honor of a giver — Count Grigory Grigorievich Orlov. The stone was set in the Imperial Sceptre, where it still remains. At that time The Orlov cost 400,000 rubles, an extremely huge price.

6. The Cullinan I or the Star of Africa Diamond
Weights 530.20 carats. Till 1985 it was the largest ever known polished diamond until the Golden Jubilee was found. It is the largest stone cut from the Cullinan Diamond that is why it is called Cullinan I. Overall, the Cullinan Diamond, found in South Africa, was cut into 9 large stones and 96 small ones. All nine big gems including the pear-shaped Star of Africa went separate ways, but now all of them are a part of the Crown Jewels of the Tower of London. The 76-facets blue diamond is usually set in the Royal Scepter, however sometimes it is removed and worn as a pendant.

7. The Petra Blue Diamond
Is relatively young and can't boast to have mysterious legend of its origin, however it is in the list of most famous diamonds. It was mined in famed Cullinan mine by Petra in South Africa in 2008. It is described as fancy vivid blue diamond which was cut from 26.58 carat rough stone to 7.03 carat unique gem. The stone has never been worn yet that means the first owner still has an honor to name this flawless blue. In 2009 rare blue gem was sold at Sotheby's auction in Geneva. The blue-hued gem took a record price of $9.5 million though it was expected to be sold for $8.5 million. According to Sotheby's this is the largest price per carat of blue diamond. By the way, the Petra Blue was given the highest grade of GIA for its internally flawless clarity.

8. The Heart of Eternity Diamond
As expected is of a heart shape. It is one of the most famous diamonds of the world. As the majority of fancy colored diamonds, this blue diamond was mined in South Africa. The size of the gem is 27.64 carats and it is described as fancy vivid blue diamond. Initially the Heart of Eternity belonged to DeBeers collection, but later is was sold to a private collector. The Heart of Eternity was among the diamonds displayed at the exhibition on the occasion of millennium 2000. For this case it was taken as a loan from its owner. The Heart of Eternity was cut from a large rough stone of 777 carats in size. Overall, three gems were cut from it, the largest is The Millennium Star Diamond.

9. The Millennium Star Diamond
Was honored to mark the year 2000. Blue pear-shaped diamond weights 204.04 carats. Millennium Star is certified to have D-flawless and most perfect proportions. This blue stone was mined in 1990 in Zaire. DeBeers became its first owner and spent three years to cut the rough stone into a perfect gem. As a result, the blue gem with 54 facets had its debut appearance in London in 1999. The following year the Millennium Star appeared in the Millennium Dome in London. This blue diamond stood out among other gems and it's no wonder that thieves were trying to steal it, however they failed. As for the value, we may only guess how much the Millennium Star might cost. Judging from the auctions, the price for 1 carat of blue D-flawless diamond ranges from $550,000 to $580,000, however some experts claim it will be higher when speaking about the Millennium Star.

10. The Excelsior Diamond
Was the biggest rough stone in its time. The blue-white stone was mined in Africa and weighted 995.2 carats. It got the name Excelsior after its unusual shape: it was flat on one side and protuberant on the other. So, it nicknamed for having such a peak and the word Excelsior means "higher". It was decided to cut this huge light blue stone into pieces. The biggest stone weighted 158 carats, the next one 147 and the third biggest stone was 130 carats. The rest part of the rough stone was cleaved in smaller gems from 70 to less than 1 carat. All the gems — there are 11 of them — are called Excelsiors but with the numbers: Excelsior I is the largest, it is followed by the Excelsior II and so on. All the stones were sold separately: three of them were bought by Tiffany & Co, some were presumably purchased by DeBeers.

11. The Tereschenko Diamond
Belongs to the group of Type IIb diamonds, which are very rare in nature. There is no source where is was mined in, however experts assume it was found in India and come from Kollur deposits. The Tereschenko blue was the one to appear unexpectedly. In 1984 Christie's announced they had fancy blue diamond cut in a shape of a pear, and they were going to auction it. Before 42.92-carat diamond belonged to Russian family of sugar barons — Tereschenko. When Russian revolution began it was smuggled from the country, and then nothing was heard about it until 1984. During auction the bidding exceeded all Christie's expectations just in 40 seconds. After all, Saudi diamond dealer Robert Mouawad purchased the Tereschenko diamond for $4.5 million. Currently this blue dazzling gem holds the name "The Mouawad Blue".

12. The Sultan of Morocco Diamond
Is the forth largest blue diamond after the Hope Diamond (45.52 carats), The Tereschenko (42.92 carats) and the Wittelsbach (35.56 carats). Classified as fancy grayish-blue, the Sultan of Morocco weights 35.27 carats. It is cut in a cushion shape and belongs to the type IIb diamonds, most rare ones. Some believe, this blue gem had been in possession of Sultans in Morocco, however this fact had not been proved as it was impossible to discover the names of diamond's owners. Moreover, most likely it comes from Southern India. One thing that is true is that in 1840 the Sultan of Morocco belonged to Yousupov family, a known noble Russian family. In 1922 the Sultan of Morocco was sold to Cartier in New York by Prince Felix Yousoupov II. In 1972 rare blue was purchased by a private American collector, the price was said to be $250,000.

13. The Blue Heart Diamond
Comes after the Sultan of Morocco in size. The Blue heart weights 30.82 carats and is described as fancy intense blue, the same as the Wittelsbach. The deep blue gem was cut in a heart-shape by a Paris diamond cutter. Since 1910 the Blue Heart was sold five times until its last owner Mrs. Post donated this unique diamond to the Smithsonian Institute where it can be found now. During its dynamic history the Blue Heart has changed its settings: it was set in a ring and surrounded by 25 small white diamonds, then in a lily-of-the-valley corsage, then it was worn as a pendant to a necklace, then again it was mounted in a ring. The precise value of this unique heart-shaped gem is unknown, but we know that in 1950s it was sold by Van Cleef & Arpels for $300,000. Surely, the price would be much higher today.

14. The Blue Empress
Is mounted in one of the most rare and probably expensive necklace in the world. The necklace with rare blue pear-shaped diamond is valued around $16 million! It is made of 18K gold and precious blue is surrounded by a number of little white diamonds. This incredible necklace was designed by a know jewelry designer Christian Tse. The name Empress is used to emphasize the excellent quality of this blue. This diamond weights 14 carats and by its size it holds the 8th place in the list of know blue diamonds. However, its clarity grade and color are still unknown. Moreover, it seems diamond's owner Harrods department store in London does not want to reveal any information about their possessions including the Blue Empress. In 2003 a football star David Beckham wanted to buy this dazzling necklace for his wife Victoria.

15. The Blue Magic Diamond
Possesses unbelievable fancy blue color and VVS2 clarity. 12.02-carat gem is mounted in 18k white gold ring. The Blue Magic refers to the group of elite blues as it is classified as vivid blue by the Gemological Institute of America. Actually, there is a tiny part of natural blue diamonds found in nature, and the lesser part of them are classified as vivid. Thus, vivid blue diamonds are extremely pricey, nevertheless jewelry collectors hold them on the top of the list of most sought after diamonds. Most likely the Blue Magic, the same as the Tereschenko and the Hope Diamond, was mined in India, in Hyderabad state. For some time the Blue Magic was in possession of the King Louis XIV, it held the name the French Blue. Cristie's valued the Blue Magic between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000. Currently, one of the most rare blue diamonds belongs to a private collector.

Conclusion
Blue diamonds belong to the group of colored gemstones, which popularity has recently started to grow among jewelry lovers. Despite the fact that colored diamonds contain chemical impurities they are the most sought after gems today. Impurities in this case make diamonds unique as they are responsible for coloring. Speaking about blue diamonds, this is boron element which is bond with carbon and makes diamonds shine blue. Actually, a number of elements that infiltrate diamonds and change their color is limited, that is why flawless colored diamonds are extremely rare in nature. Such rarity determines the price — usually high price.

4 comments:

  1. A very interesting read. I never knew the diamonds were cut from stones which we so much larger. We have the biggest diamond cut from a stone which is 3 times larger! I bet there are loads more held by private collectors which will gradually show up. Plus, the Queen seems to own loads in her tower of London

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  2. Very interesting and well documented. Note however that the Wittelsbach diamond has just been recut and now weights a bit above 31ct.

    Futhermore, the picture attached to the Sultan of Morocco Diamond seems to be (or rather actually is) another view of the Wittelsbach after it has been recut

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  3. wow... what about sapphires? o3o

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  4. why The Queen keeps most of the precious diamonds in the world? does she buy it?

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