Christie’s to Feature the ‘Oppenheimer Blue’, Largest Vivid Blue Diamond Ever Sold

May 16th, 2016 by Noam Flint

The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond

Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction only falls slightly behind that of Sotheby’s in that they managed to accumulate 23 items worth over $1 million for their catalog. However, this fact in and of itself helps to further fuel the excitement that perpetually surrounds the diamond auctions that take place biannually in Geneva. The total number of super high value jewels does seem to be a detriment, but Christie’s has made up for this by featuring a superior blue diamond as its headlining piece. The “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond is the star of the Christie’s auction on May 18 and will command an extraordinary final price because it is the largest ever Fancy Vivid Blue diamond to ever be sold.

Oppenheimer Blue Diamond
Christie’s “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond
Image credit: Christie’s

Christie’s will also be making up for their lack of multi-million dollar diamonds by offering another top quality fancy color diamond at their following auction on May 31, 2016 in Hong Kong. They carefully and purposely chose to offer the 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green diamond known as the “Aurora Green” at their Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong. The Aurora Green is both theg the largest vivid green diamond to ever be offered at auction and the largest ever documented vivid green of the GIA. If the Oppenheimer Blue does not make up for the lack of sales of pink and blue diamonds, the Aurora Green most definitely will!

Aurora Green DiamondThe “Aurora Green” Diamond
Image credit: Christie’s

The ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ diamond is scheduled to be the star of the evening’s auction, the final gem to go under the hammer on May 18. It is a 14.62 carat Fancy Vivid Blue VVS1 diamond and is the largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever to be offered at an auction. This fact alone makes it hard to put an exact price on it, so its price must be extrapolated. The buyers may surprise us and pay far more than anyone has currently estimated.

The diamond is valued at a price between $39 million to $46.2 million, or $2.67 million to $3.16 million per carat. It got its name because it has been owned by the Oppenheimer family for generations. Phillip Oppenheimer, the chairman of Anglo American plc and sitting head of De Beers Corporation (and orchestrator of the De Beers cartel) personally chose the blue diamond in the early 1900s to add to his collection from the thousands of diamonds that he had at his fingertips. This is a testament to the value and beauty that he saw in the diamond decades ago, well before the current blue diamond craze and price appreciation.

The highest estimated value for the Oppenheimer Blue does not position it to beat the current record for a blue diamond sold at auction. The current record holder is the 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ diamond which was sold for $48.5 million, and the Oppenheimer Blue’s highest estimate by the auction house is $46.2 million.

Perhaps Christie’s is trying to best manage the expectations of both sellers and buyers, or maybe even is underestimating the diamond on purpose so that it will for sure make headlines when the hammer finally comes down and the final price is determined.

Blue Moon Diamond
The Blue Moon Diamond&nbsp 
Image: Sotheby’s (video below)

Hopefully there will be a buyer for the Oppenheimer Blue who will buy it for its high estimates or even higher, keeping the current blue diamond price climb in motion for the market. Will the Oppenheimer Blue break the Blue Moon of Josephine’s record or will it be just another diamond on the most expensive diamonds list?!