‘Exceptional’ 29.6 carat Blue Diamond Discovery Makes a Big Bang

January 21st, 2014 by Noam Flint

Blue diamonds are some of the rarest stones in the world, so when a new one is discovered, it’s bound to attract some attention.

15 Feb Update: The Diamond was sold for… (click to view)

Out of the ordinary

29.6 carat Rough Blue Diamond by Petra 29.6 carat Rough Blue Diamond by Petra – Image courtesy of Petra Diamonds

Recently, one of these remarkable gems was found in South Africa – but this is no ordinary colored diamond. The 29.6-carat, acorn-sized stone is small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand, but the miner, who unearthed it at Petra Diamonds’ Cullinan mine close to Pretoria, has called it “exceptional.”

The price​ tag on this incredible stone? Potentially tens of millions of dollars. In fact, according to Reuters, Analyst Cailey Barker at the brokerage company Numis estimates that the diamond could fetch between $15 million and $20 million.

The value of the gem will largely depend on where it is auctioned and the buyers present. However, Chief Executive Johan Dippenaar has noted that the current market price is $2 million per carat, so it’s likely that these predictions will prove accurate.

It’s no surprise then, that Dippenaar believes this find could make major diamond history. As told Reuters:

“By some margin … this is probably the most significant stone we’ve ever, in terms of blue stones, recovered”

This gem has been described as having extraordinary saturation, tone and clarity, with an outstanding vivid blue hue. If cut and polished expertly, it has the potential to become a diamond that is not only exceptionally valuable, but also one that holds historical importance.

A blue past …

This isn’t the first notable blue diamond that has been discovered in this mine, which has been in Petra Diamonds’ possession since purchasing it from De Beers in 2008. The Cullinan Diamond, which was recovered in 1905, is considered the largest rough gem ever found at a weight of a whopping 3,106 carats. The diamond was later cut into two stones: The First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa. Together, they add dazzle to Britain’s Crown Jewels, which are kept in the Tower of London and mounted to the Queen’s scepter.

There were other blue gems from this mine that have made a splash as well. For example, a 26.6-carat rough stone was unearthed in 2008 and cut into the 7.03-carat Star of Josephine, a fancy vivid blue and internally flawless diamond that raked in $9.49 million at a Sotheby’s auction. The Star of Josephine achieved a new record at a price per carat of $1.35 million.

Then there was the 4.8-carat rough blue diamond that was found in 2011 and sold for $1.45 million. Last but certainly not least, there was the 25.5-carat Cullinan blue diamond discovered in 2013, which sold for $16.9 million - or a jaw-dropping $663,000 per carat. As a result of finds like these, Petra Diamonds’ stock (symbol PINK) began to surge.

Petra 25.5ct Blue Diamond Rough
Petra 17 million dollar Blue Diamond Rough
25.5 carat rough Blue Diamond mined by Petra Diamonds for $16.9 Million Dollars
images Petra Diamonds

… And future

It goes without saying, then, that the diamonds that come from the Cullinan mine are some of the most valuable in the world. In fact, many of these awe-inspiring stones have been put on display at London’s Buckingham Palace. So it makes sense that a rare blue stone from this mine would be highly coveted by collectors across the world.

What’s next for this special stone? According to Reuters, Dippenaar has stated that Petra will decide what to do with the diamond over the next week. Surely, though, a fair share of diamond investors, collectors and enthusiasts will be staying on top of any new developments in hopes of making this stone their own.

The fact is, vivid blue diamonds are extremely difficult to come by. Unusual circumstances in nature cause boron particles to be trapped in the crystal lattice itself, producing blue wavelengths of light. The concentration of boron is what directly affects the intensity of the diamond’s blue hue. The majority of these diamonds feature a secondary color and graded green blue or gray blue, meaning it’s especially rare to find a true blue stone like this recent find at the Cullinan mine.

Update: Exceptional Blue Diamond Sold for $25.6 Million Dollars

Less than a month after the discovery, Petra reported the sale of its exceptional discovery for an exceptional price – $25.6 Million Dollars. This price calculates to over $860,000 dollars per carat in the rough. Since diamonds are often losing 40%-60% during polish, you can understand that the expected worth of the polished diamond is well over $1.5 Million per carat.

The fact that is actually more surprising and astounding is the fact that the price they achieved is 30% higher than the price received for the 25.5 carat blue (mentioned above) sold only few months ago!