Sotheby’s is set to sell the ‘De Beers Millennium Jewel 4’, the largest oval fancy vivid blue diamond ever offered at auction.
It was originally one of the Millennium Jewels, a collection of 12 rare diamonds put together by De Beers for an exhibit at London’s Millennium Dome.
The collection was famously the target of an attempted robbery in 2000, when a criminal gang smashed their way into the Dome using a construction vehicle, but police had already replaced the stones with imitations following a tip-off and the thieves were later jailed.
All of the Millennium Jewels originate from the Cullinan Mine in South Africa, with ‘Jewel 4’ the only oval-shaped diamond amongst the collection. Previously, just one other stone from the collection has appeared at auction – the 5.16-carat Internally Flawless Pear-shaped Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond known as ‘Jewel 11’, which sold at Sotheby’s in 2010 for $6.4 million.
The stone weighs a remarkable 10.10 carats, and is expected to sell for $30-$35 million (HK$235-280 million) when it crosses the block in Hong Kong next month.
"The market for coloured diamonds has gone from strength to strength and this spring we are thrilled to present the ‘De Beers Millennium Jewel 4’, the largest oval fancy vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction," said Quek Chin Yeow, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.
"Fifteen years ago I had the great opportunity of seeing this magnificent stone for the first time and it is an absolute delight now to have it in one’s hand, to admire it again and to offer it for auction in Asia. This beautiful blue stone combining Nature’s rare beauty, superlative colour, unusual shape and illustrious provenance offers yet another wonderful collecting opportunity for connoisseurs worldwide."
The Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale takes place in Hong Kong on April 5.