Bulgari Blue Diamond Fetches $15.7 million



The Bvlgari Blue—the largest triangular-shaped fancy vivid
blue diamond ever offered at auction, according to Christie’s—fetched $15.7
million, or, 1.4 million per carat, on Wednesday evening in the city.

The blue stone is a 10.95 cts. t.w. triangular-shaped fancy
vivid blue diamond set in a two-stone diamond ring along with a
triangular-shaped colorless diamond of 9.87 cts. t.w. The piece was designed in
the 1970s by Bvlgari in Rome, and served as the star lot of Christie’s Jewels:
The New York Sale on October 20. Fancy vivid blue diamonds are among the rarest
and most sought-after of colored diamonds, particularly on the international
market, as only one in about 10 million possess a color pure enough to qualify
as fancy vivid.

Bvlgari Blue

Details of the auction itself were as exciting as the final
sale price. Some 450 pieces were auctioned off throughout the afternoon, leading
up to The Bvlgari Blue sale at 7:15 p.m., according to François Curiel, president
of Christie’s Asia and the international head of jewelry at Christie’s.
Anticipated to realize in excess of $12 million, the bidding opened with an $8
million bid from a client on the phone with Vickie Sek, Christie’s head of
jewelry for Asia, and swiftly turned into a one-on-one bidding war with a
European collector on the phone with Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for
Christie’s Americas. One client in the room at Christie’s bid as well. But the
two phone bidders traded bids back and forth in $500,000 increments until the
final offers was reached and Sek’s client, an Asian collector, emerged as the
winner after five minutes. The hammer fell for $15,762,500 with premium.

The Bvlgari Blue was offered for sale by a private European
collector who has kept the ring in his family for almost 40 years. The
gentleman had originally purchased the ring at Bvlgari’s flagship boutique on
Via dei Condotti in Rome in 1972, as a gift for his wife, in celebration of the
birth of their first child, a baby boy. The final sale price in 1972 was about
$1 million U.S.

The results for the Blue provided a dramatic finish to the
447-lot auction, and brought the collective total to an outstanding $52.5
million.

Bvlgari Blue

Additionally, Christie’s achieved a 100 percent sell-through
rate for Jeweled Elegance: The Eye of A Distinguished Collector—a carefully curated,
single-owner collection of signed jewels from the most designers like Cartier,
David Webb, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston.  The entire morning
session of the October 20 auction was devoted to this assemblage of more than
160 individual pieces, which realized a combined total of $11.4 million, far
above its pre-sale high estimate.

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JHeebner@jckonline.com