On Nov. 20, a 9.75 ct. fancy vivid blue pear-shape fetched $3.3 million a carat at the Sotheby’s New York auction, setting a new high-water per-carat price for any diamond.
That price tops by a full $1 million the per-carat record set just one year ago, when a 14.82 ct. fancy vivid orange scored $2.3 million a carat ($35.3 million total) at a Christie’s Geneva auction.
The stone’s final price—$32.6 million—also set a record for the most expensive blue diamond ever, topping the celebrated Wittelsbach-Graff, which fetched $24.3 million in 2008.
The price was achieved after a frenzied 20 minutes of bidding, with seven prospective buyers. The winner was a Hong Kong collector, who dubbed it the Zoe Diamond. Sotheby’s did not provide further details on why that name was chosen.
The stone came from the collection of heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, who died earlier this year at age 103 and who the Sotheby’s statement refers to as Mrs. Paul Mellon.
“From the moment I saw this diamond, I knew that it would be one of the most important stones that I would ever have the privilege of presenting at auction,” said Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby’s jewelry department in New York, in a statement. “It was incredible to see each of my colleagues experience the diamond for the first time, watching as the blue hue warmed and intensified in front of them with every minute in natural light.”
The sale’s first-night tally was $42.1 million, well in excess of the entire sale’s $19.2 million high estimate.