Christie’s Geneva Auction on May 18 Relying on Oppenheimer Blue Diamond for Attention

With Christie’s having “only” a total of 23 items on offer above $1 million each and “only” 2 items above $10 million each, they fall slightly short of Sotheby’s although their roster is impressive as well. I will review items in order of valuation, starting from the least to most of interest for our analysis. I hope Christie’s has a few things up their sleeve for the rest of the year to catch up with all those pink and blue diamonds being offered a day earlier by Sotheby’s, or Christie’s total jewels sales of the year will fall significantly short of their rival. I know  that on May 31, 2016 at their Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels auction they will offer a unique 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green Diamond, not only being the largest ever to be offered at auction, but also the largest documented Vivid Green by the GIA up to the date of the letter. The next largest vivid green documented by the GIA is only in the 3 carat size! Hopefully, Christie’s can rely on this green diamond to pick up the slack for its lack in pink and blue diamonds in Geneva.


5.03 carat aurora green diamond

The 5.03 carat Fancy Vivid Green ‘Aurora Green’ Diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


We will begin our review with the green family of diamonds. Lot #230 is a 7.58 carat Fancy Bluish Green VS1 round brilliant diamond. The size and color are rare and maybe if it is reviewed by an expert, the bluish tone can be removed and in the process increase the magic of the diamond by making it a Fancy Green or maybe potentially making it an Intense Green. I have not inspected the diamond personally so I cannot conclude with surety which would be the better route. It is currently valued at $1.335 million to $1.848 million, or $176k to $244k per carat. This valuation suggests that the buyer would have an expert take a look and most likely there is a potential of re-polishing and improving the color.


7.58 carat Fancy Bluish Green round brilliant diamond

The 7.58 carat Fancy Bluish Green VS1 round brilliant diamond      Image credit: Christie’s


The next interesting lot is Lot #196. It is quite rare to find a matching pair of Fancy Intense Blue diamonds, and these weigh 2.50 carats and 3.02 carats and are both Internally Flawless. The diamonds are mounted as a beautiful pair of earrings, although I am disappointed that the earrings do not have d color flawless colorless diamonds as their partner, but are rather set with G color and VS22 and SI1 clarity diamonds which just devalues the overall jewelry. We all know that the real value here are the two Fancy Intense Blue diamonds, but you have to dress it up to perfection for that perfect presentation and to convince the buyers that they are indeed a cut above the rest.

The value given for this pair is between $3.595 million total to $5.649 million. As it is a pair, it is a challenge to properly review the per carat cost. Let’s do our best to extrapolate. The total carat weight is 5.52 carats and the per carat value is $651k to $1.023 million per carat. If we look at the 2-3 carat category of Fancy Intense Blue diamond prices, we will find that the record price paid for under a 3 carat sized diamond of this color and clarity was $1.1 million per carat set on December 10, 2015 by the 1.74 carat round brilliant diamond sold in NY (although it was a VVS1, it was potentially IF, which i assume will be recut to get that IF clarity). That takes care of the diamond under 3 carats. For the 3-5 carat category, the closest was a 3.16 carat Fancy Intense Blue diamond sold on November 11, 2014 in Geneva by Sotheby’s, and it sold for $1.01 million per carat, a record in that category. In addition to these valuations, having a close pair can increase the total value by 15%-25%. Based on the average price of $1.05 million and the 20% premium for a pair, we are looking at a value range of $1.21 million to $1.31 million per carat or a total potential value of $5.8 million to $7.23 million. Let’s wait and see what happens. It can go either way. It also depends on how deep the Intense Blue is in the color scale from 1-10.


2.50 carat and 3.02 carat Fancy Intense Blue diamond earrings

The pair of Fancy Intense Blue diamond earrings     Image credit: Christie’s


Another complicated pair of earrings to evaluate is Lot #234. It has opposite matching colors of both pink and blue diamonds. On 1 side we have a 1.51 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS1 diamond and a 3.08 carats Fancy Intense Pink VVS2 diamond. On the opposite earring, we have a 1.65 carat Fancy Intense Pink VS2 diamond with a 3.02 carat Fancy Intense Blue VS2 diamond. These earrings are valued at a final auction price between $5.546 million and $6.573 million. Detailing how we would evaluate these pairs would be too long to explain here, as we need to evaluate each piece separately, and then put a premium on the fact that these are a rare pair. So let’s sit back and see what the market decides it is worth. Feel free to send me an email or write a question in the comments and I will be happy to estimate a value with you!


pink and blue diamond drop earrings

Fancy Intense Blue and Fancy Intense Pink diamond earrings     Image credit: Christie’s


Our next review and the second highest priced lot of the evening is Lot #224 and happens to be another pair of magnificent earrings. Each oval shaped orange diamond is graded as Fancy Vivid Orange Yellow. They weigh 12.20 carats and 11.96 carats with VVS2 and VS1 clarities respectively. This is a rare pair, both in size and color. The perfect balance (well almost) between orange and yellow still indicates that yellow is dominant. The value here is estimated to be between $9.757 million and $12.838 million for the pair, or a combined average of $404k to $531k per carat. I look forward to seeing the final sales price for them.


the Fancy Vivid Orange Yellow 'Oriental Sunrise' diamond earrings

The Fancy Vivid Orange Yellow ‘Oriental Sunrise’ diamond earrings     Image credit: Christie’s


The last item and the star of the Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction is Lot #242, the ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ diamond. Currently it is the largest Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever to be offered at an auction. It stands at 14.62 carats, and has a VVS1 clarity. The valuation given is not quite conservative, but that does not mean that it is not worth as much as they have predicted. It is valued at $39 million to $46.2 million, or $2.67 million to $3.16 million per carat. The certificate is dated May 4, 2015, which belies one of two things – either the certificate has been renewed (once a certificate is over 5 years old, normally it is renewed to an updated one prior to a sale to ensure the diamond has not been affected in anyway, like a chip), or it may have also been re-polished to improve its color or clarity and therefore been resent to the GIA for a new certificate. The question about the date arose because this diamond has been owned by the Oppenheimer family for decades, which would suggest that its certificate would be dated much earlier than 2015.


the oppenheimer blue diamond

The 14.62 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ diamond     Image credit: Christie’s


If we look at the value of the diamond, the current record holder for the per carat is the 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ diamond which was sold for $4.03 million per carat. It also happens to hold the record for the highest overall price paid for any gem at auction at about $48.5 million. If the Oppenheimer Blue sells for $4.03 million per carat, it would make a total of $58.92 million and that would obviously would be a new record, but to get there it needs to sell for higher than the estimated $46.2 million. In short, what Christie’s is doing is trying to best manage the expectations of both sellers and buyers.


blue moon of josephine diamond-2

The 12.03 carat fancy vivid blue ‘blue moon of josephine’ diamond     Image credit: sotheby’s


It is obvious that Christie’s has some fantastic items up for sale in Geneva, but it will need to further dig into sellers and find buyers for those goods. By doing so, it will attract new sellers and even more extraordinary items that are hidden that otherwise may not be found by the sellers.

Do you think that Christie’s holds a candle to Sotheby’s for the Geneva auctions this year? Will the Oppenheimer Blue break the Blue Moon of Josephine’s record? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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