The royal-pedigreed Farnese Blue as well as two jumbo-size D flawless stones all zoomed past their estimates at Sotheby’s May 15 auction in Geneva, showing that life remains in the high-end gem market.
The 6.16 ct. Farnese Blue nabbed $6.7 million ($1.09 million per ct.), a substantial improvement over its $3.6 million–$5.2 million estimate. Its buyer was anonymous.
The pear-shape blue-gray Farnese’s price was undoubtedly boosted by its unique heritage: Originally given to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain, as a wedding present in 1715, it passed through four royal families, although its existence was a closely guarded secret until recently. The gem (pictured, below) is believed to have originated from India’s historic Golconda diamond mine, one of the world’s first gem producers and the source of the Hope and Wittelsbach diamonds.
Daniela Mascetti, senior director and deputy chairman of jewelry at Sotheby’s Europe, said in a statement: “The Farnese Blue is quite simply an unforgettable diamond, and everyone who set their eyes on it was mesmerized by its extraordinary color: the rich blue of the deepest ocean.”
Also doing well were two Botswana-mined D flawless type IIa diamonds: a 51.71 ct. round (below, left) and a 50.39 ct. oval (below, right). Both topped their estimates as well as the price fetched by the Farnese Blue. The round sold for $9.3 million ($178,918 per ct.), and the oval fetched $8.1 million ($161,219 per ct.).
If all that weren’t enough, two purplish-pink diamonds set auction records. A 9.7 ct. fancy light purplish pink (below, left) fetched $2.5 million ($267,290 per ct.), setting a new record price for a fancy light purplish pink as well as a new record price per ct. A 2.63 ct. fancy vivid purplish pink (below, right) fetched $2.4 million ($917,443 per ct.), which is a new record price for a fancy vivid purplish pink.
All in all, the auction set five world records and sold 80 percent of its lots, with 70 percent of the lots selling above their high estimates.
Top: Caroline Lang, chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland, auctioning the Farnese Blue (all photos courtesy of Sotheby’s).