Oppenheimer Blue diamond fetches record $58m price at Geneva auction

A blue diamond set a record price for any jewel in auction when it went under the hammer for $58m (€52m) in a Christie’s sale in Geneva.

The Oppenheimer Blue, at 14.62 carats, was estimated to be worth as much as $46m. The stone now belongs to a private collector after a 25-minute battle between bidders on three continents, Christie’s said after Wednesday’s sale.

The gem is named after its previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, whose family controlled De Beers for 80 years before selling out.

Blue diamonds are the rarest in the world.

The previous record was set by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau, who paid almost $50m for a 12.03-carat, fancy blue diamond called “Blue Moon” at Sotheby’s last year.

The world’s biggest and scarcest diamonds have been resilient to the recent slump in prices.

The auction market for gems has been stronger than for art lately. Last week’s bellwether impressionist, modern, postwar and contemporary art auctions at Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips in New York raised 50% less than last year.

The sale of the Oppenheimer Blue follows a record-breaking $175m jewellery auction by Sotheby’s in Geneva on Tuesday.

Prices for rough diamonds — what mined gems are called before they’re cut and polished - slumped 18% last year, the most since the financial crisis.


Lifestyle

When Marisa Murphy went to play as a teenager on Dinish Island, she could still see the flowers growing among the ruins in her grandmother’Islands of Ireland: Barely inhabitated Dinish became an industrial zone

MAC make-up artist Lucy Bridge shares her tips backstage at Roland Mouret.How to create the perfect matte red lip, according to a backstage beauty expert

New trends include chunky heeled boots, silver belts and lots of plaid from the British designer.Victoria Beckham got ‘rebellious’ for her new collection – as David and family watched on

When horses were shown photographs of angry human faces, their hearts speeded up.Jackass penguin talk is similar to humans

More From The Irish Examiner