Largest, most valuable blue diamond expected to fetch over $60m at auction

Model Stephany Martins holds up The De Beers Cullinan Blue during a press preview at Sotheby's in New York. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - It's the largest and most valuable blue diamond to ever come to auction. And, it's a recent discovery.

The more than 15-carat De Beers Cullinan Blue diamond was mined in 2021 at South Africa's Cullinan Mine, one of the few sources in the world for extremely rare blue diamonds.

It will be offered in a single-lot auction at Sotheby's Hong Kong in April and is estimated to be worth in excess of US$48 million (S$64 million).

Sotheby's senior vice-president and sales director for jewellery Frank Everett said the jewel is remarkable on many levels.

"It's rare because of the size. It's over 15 carats. It's a vivid blue. It's internally flawless. And really one of the most rare aspects of it is the cut," he said.

"I think we're going to see tremendous interest in this stone when it finally comes to auction," he said.

"The market is very strong for jewellery at the moment, and has been really for the last several years, but one of the strongest segments is coloured diamonds. And one of the strongest colours is blue."

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graded the diamond a Fancy Vivid Blue - the highest possible colour grading according to Sotheby's, awarded to no more than 1 per cent of blue diamonds submitted to the GIA.

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