Tags: oppenheimer | blue | diamond | auctioned | record | 57 million

'Oppenheimer Blue' Diamond Auctioned for a Record $57.5M

Image: 'Oppenheimer Blue' Diamond Auctioned for a Record $57.5M

The 'Oppenheimer Blue' diamond at pre-auction preview. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 20 May 2016 09:46 AM

The "Oppenheimer Blue" diamond was auctioned off at Christie's in Geneva for more than $57 million, setting a record for the most expensive diamond ever sold at the sound of a gavel, according to CNBC.

The diamond went for the "hammer price" of $51.3 million with the final $57.5 million total including fees, reported CNBC while noting that Blue diamonds are among the rarest in the world and the "Oppenheimer Blue" was owned by late De Beers diamond chairman Philip Oppenheimer.

"Soaring over its low estimate of $38 million, the exceptional blue diamond inspired fierce bidding among collectors before it came down to three private collectors in the tense final moments," said a typically dramatic statement on Christie's website about the 14.62-caret diamond.

"The room broke out into applause as the gavel came down and the final number was announced. … The exceptional diamond stands as the latest in a line of historic jewels that have been sold at Christie's, including the Wittelbach Diamond in 2008, the Orange in 2013, and the Winston Blue in 2014."

According to Bloomberg News, the "Oppenheimer Blue" broke the record held by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, who spent nearly $50 million for a 12.03-carat blue diamond called "Blue Moon" at Sotheby's last year.

Only 10 percent of all blue diamonds found are bigger than a carat, making the "Oppenheimer Blue" even more prized by collectors, said CNBC.

"The auction market for gems has been stronger than for art lately," said Bloomberg. "Last week's bellwether Impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art auctions at Christie's, Sotheby's and Phillips in New York raised 50 percent less than last year."

"The sale of the Oppenheimer Blue follows a record-breaking $175 million jewelry auction by Sotheby's in Geneva Tuesday. Prices for rough diamonds – what mined gems are called before they're cut and polished – slumped 18 percent last year, the most since the financial crisis in 2008," said Bloomberg.

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The "Oppenheimer Blue" diamond was auctioned off at Christie's in Geneva for more than $57 million, setting a record for the most expensive diamond ever sold at the sound of a gavel.
oppenheimer, blue, diamond, auctioned, record, 57 million
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Friday, 20 May 2016 09:46 AM
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