The Zoe Diamond – The Most Expensive Diamond in the World (for now)

November 23rd, 2014 by Noam Flint

Important Update – New most Expensive Diamond!

While the Zoe Diamond is still without a doubt one of the world’s most beautiful diamonds, it is not the most expensive one!
On November 16 2015 Sotheby’s had auctioned another astounding diamond, 12 carats internally flawless vivid blue and it did it – The Blue Moon Diamond is the Most expensive diamond in the world!

I apologize. I know this is getting a bit tedious… but it happened again. A new world record was created at the latest Sotheby’s auction when a 9.75 carat Vivid Blue Diamond has been sold for $32,645,000.

About The Zoe Diamond

The Zoe Diamond 9.75 carat vivid blue diamond - most expensive diamond everThe Zoe Diamond – 9.75 carat Vivid Blue Diamond
Most Expensive Diamond per carat and Most Expensive Blue
image: Sotheby’s

While a lot of these high priced diamonds have a well-known history such as origin and date of discovery, not much is known about this diamond, in a way, it came out of nowhere and snatched the crown.

What we do know is that the amazing diamond was certified by the GIA as a 9.75 carat Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond – the highest color grading possible for blue diamonds and that it has a great clarity grading of vvs2 – an extra ordinary grading for diamonds of this size.

It was auctioned by Sotheby’s NY as part of the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon, one of the most famous bankers that made his fortune investing in finance, industrial and oil sectors. As it seems, his Midas touch rubbed off also to his diamond investments.

But… even though this diamond’s history is a blank page, it doesn’t mean that it will fade away.

According to Rapaport, the proceeds from the sale benefit the Gerard B. Lambert Foundation that supports the Oak Spring Garden Library and is endowed to continue on the Mellon’s Upperville estate in Virginia to support horticultural and educational endeavors.

Also, the sale itself of the Zoe diamond made history as well…

Since there are many niches in the diamond industry (truly a surprisingly fragmented industry), there are many records. Every niche gets its own set of records – the most expensive orangy pink, the largest pink, the most expensive deep blue, the biggest blue etc. These diamonds are treated like stallions and the “record holder” diamond often gets to be named and this added prestige will also add to its value.

BUT… this surprising blue diamond has broken the most honorable records, and not one but two!

The Most Expensive Blue Diamond in the World

Blue diamonds are among the rarest and sought after diamonds. The combination of these two (low supply with high demand) makes them extremely expensive. Even a 1 carat blue diamond of high quality can cost several hundred thousand dollars. Weirdly, the cause for their color is boron, a fluke of nature (like with all colored diamonds – each with its own fluke).

Therefore, when saying that a diamond is the most expensive blue diamond ever – it means that it leads a very honorable list of diamonds.

Wittelsbach DiamondWittelsbach Diamond
Image via Christie’s

The previous record holder was the famous Wittelsbach Diamond - . It was sold by Christie’s during December 2008 for $24.3 million dollars. The purchaser at the time was Sir Laurence Graff (hence its new name Wittelsbach Graff Diamond) that later despite the opinions of many historians and diamond lovers sent it to the polishing wheel in order to improve it (which he did). The result is a 31.06 carat pure fancy deep blue diamond with internally flawless clarity – a diamond that when (and if) sold would be worth $XX,XXX,XXX (fill in the blank with any number, your guess is as good as mine).

Most Expensive Diamond per carat In the World

If you ask anyone from within the industry what is the most prestigious  title a diamond can hold you’ll get one answer – The Most Expensive Diamond.

However… this one answer has two meanings…

Diamonds are priced per carat. So… While this diamond was sold for $32,645,000 the record it broke was for another number – $3,348,205 – The highest amount ever paid for a diamond per carat.

Which of these is more important (total or per carat)? – it doesn’t really matter.
What does matter is that the Zoe Diamond smashed the previous record held by “The Orange Diamond”.

The Orange is a 14.82 carat pure vivid orange diamond that sold $35.5 million – which comes to $2.4 million per carat.

The Zoe broke it by 40%!!!

How this affects the prices of blue diamonds?

To my opinion… it doesn’t.

Prices of colored diamonds are steadily increasing simply because the tremendous increase in their popularity (i.e. demand) without any increase in supply. A sale of an extraordinary diamond here and there for extraordinary price cannot (or at least should not) influence the prices.

At the end, even with these diamonds, the amount you are willing to spend on a specific of diamond is a matter of taste. Even during the sale of the now famous Zoe Diamond, there were seven bidders battling for it but the price was a result of only two people battling to the end.

The buyer was an anonymous collector from Hong Kong, which leaves only one question…