Blue diamonds are considered the rarest and most desired on the market. A particularly big one sold for millions at Sotheby’s on Thursday, scraping just beneath the surface of its $26 million low-sales estimate.
On Thursday, the auction house offered The Infinite Blue diamond in a single-lot auction at its Hong Kong location. As the luxury highlight of the autumn marquee sales series, the radiant-cut fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 11.28 carats was sold mounted onto a diamond ring, which surrounds the massive stone with brilliant-cut diamonds in a pink tint. It landed $25.3 million at auction, marking the third-highest achieved sale for a blue diamond in Asia.
The diamond was “designed and cut with the inclusion of the number eight,” Sotheby’s literature says. This special feature is considered to be a symbol of prosperity in Asia. Its blue color fancy vivid blue grading by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the highest possible color grading, awarded to no more than one percent of blue diamonds reviewed by the company. Experts also found it to have an “excellent polish” and to be of Type IIb quality. The rare category represents less than 0.5 percent of all diamonds.
A closer look at the stone reveals its radiant-cut design. It is a “more modern cutting style that combines the outline, proportions, and crown faceting of a classic emerald cut, but adds triangular and kite-shaped facets of the brilliant cutting style on the pavilion,” the GIA says. A rectangular outline is common in showcasing fancy-color diamonds face-up. With the Infinite Blue, its table draws viewers into the sparkly blue color through its pavilion facets.
Modern-day discoveries of a blue diamond are incredibly uncommon. In fact, the only mine to produce blue stones with regularity in recent times is the Cullinan mine in South Africa. While its supply has reportedly diminished over the past decade, the site has unearthed three fancy vivid blue diamonds over the last decade. These include The Blue Moon of Josephine, which weights 12.03 carats and sold for $48.5 million in 2015; the Oppenheimer Blue, weighing 14.62 carats and sold for $57.5 million in 2016; and most recently, The De Beers Blue, weighing 15.1 carats—the largest of its kind to ever appear at auction—which sold for $57.5 million in 2022.
“The Infinite Blue is one of the most beautiful diamonds I have had the pleasure to witness in my 40 years in the diamond industry—it’s wonderful to see such miracles of nature continuing to excite within the world of fine jewelry,” says Paul Rowley, De Beers executive vice president, in a statement. Wenhao Yu, who leads jewelry and watch sales for Sotheby’s Asia, says, “It’s been an honor to have been entrusted with the opportunity to offer a diamond of such breathtaking beauty, its price attesting to the resilient demand for top quality colored diamonds amongst global collectors.”