Will Sotheby’s Continue to Shatter Records With the Shirley Temple Blue Diamond?

Exactly two weeks after offering the largest oval fancy vivid blue diamond in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s is planning to continue its momentum later on in April at its NY branch with the Shirley Temple diamond. The 9.54 carat Fancy Deep Blue VVS2 diamond was given to Shirley by her father upon the premiere of her movie “The Blue Bird” in 1940.

 

the shirley temple blue

The 9.54 carat Fancy Deep Blue VVS2 ‘Shirley Temple Blue’ diamond 
Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

Back then, it was a special gift. In today’s terms, it would be an extraordinary demonstration of a father’s love for his daughter! The diamond is being auctioned in its original art deco setting despite the fact that Shirley commissioned Tiffany & Co. to reset it in yellow gold later on in her life. It is also being offered with a diagram stating that the diamond can be re-polished to become a potentially IF clarity. The diamond definitely has the potential to break a record for blue diamond prices, just a few short months after the last blue diamond broke a record!

 

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Shirley Temple as a child

The Shirley Temple Blue and Other Record Contenders

It seems that the love for a daughter is now a well-established tradition. Interestingly, although George Temple was the first well known father to buy a blue diamond for his daughter, he is by no means the last! Infamous Hong Kong businessman Joseph Lau chose to do exactly the same when he bought blue diamonds for each of his daughters at successively record breaking prices, one year apart. In 2014, he bid a record breaking $32,645,000 for the Bunny Mellon Blue diamond, renaming it the ‘Zoe’ diamond after his elder daughter Zoe. The price that he paid became the highest price for a blue diamond ever sold, and the most expensive price per carat paid for a diamond ever. Not to be outdone, (perhaps to keep order among his daughters?) he paid $48.4 million for the ‘Blue Moon’ diamond of Petra Diamonds, and renamed it the ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’, making it the highest price ever paid for a diamond and the highest price per carat for a diamond ever sold. Now that is fatherly love indeed!
the 9.75 ct zoe diamond

The 9.75 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Zoe’ diamond, $32,645,000 – most expensive blue diamond ever sold at the time and most expensive diamond price per carat ever sold at the time

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

blue moon diamond-1

The 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ diamond, $48.4 million – highest price for a diamond ever sold and highest price per carat for a diamond ever sold

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

Shirley Temple’s “gift” was offered to her when she was just 12 years old. Back then it was acquired for $7,210, or the equivalent of about $122,000 in 2012 dollars. Now, it is being valued at $25 million to $35 million. This price range is quite a spread in value, but if someone pays $38.5 million it will break the world record price per carat set by the Blue Moon of Josephine for any jewel ever offered – if and only if the 10.10 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘De Beers Millennium Jewel 4’ diamond at the Hong Kong auction next week does not set the bar higher than that! Anything is possible, as both the 10.10 carat blue diamond as well as the Shirley Temple blue diamond have significant sentimental value, and each has its own historical story and significance.

 

The Zoe Diamond

The 9.75 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Zoe’ diamond

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

blue moon of josephine diamond

The 12.03 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘Blue Moon of Josephine’ diamon

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

de beers millennium jewel 4 ring-3

The 10.10 carat Fancy Vivid Blue ‘De Beers Millennium Jewel 4’ diamond

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

The Following Top 4 Sotheby’s NY Auction Diamonds

The second top lot of the evening is a 12.45 carat Fancy Purplish Pink diamond with VS2 clarity. Although the size is significant, the clarity is quite low and it is valued at $3 million to $5 million. These days investors are looking for the highest quality fancy color diamonds and are willing to pay top dollar to own such rarity. However, this significant value spread shows us how even the auction house is uncertain of what this diamond will sell for under the hammer. If we look at the estimated per carat value of $241k to $402k, the spread shows both a value and a speculator’s position for its final price.

12.45 carat Fancy Purplish Pink VS2 diamond

The 12.45 carat Fancy Purplish Pink VS2 diamond

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

The next most important fancy color diamond being offered is a 30.81 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow pear shaped diamond with a low clarity of VS2. It is valued at $1 million to $1.5 million, which is equivalent to $32.5k to $48.7k per carat. This spread only further demonstrates the difficulty that auction houses are having in locating rare and significant pieces to offer. The price valuation demonstrates true value for what the new buyer will own. However, it remains to be seen at what price this diamond will end up selling for, if at all. Whether the diamond will meet or exceed its estimates will depend on how strongly diamonds of this type are in demand by the market.

 

30.81 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow VS2 clarity pear shaped diamond necklace

30.81 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow VS2 clarity pear shaped diamond necklace

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

There are only 2 more lots worth mentioning to complete our top 5. Interestingly, both are colorless diamonds, when normally those positions are filled with fancy color diamonds. This is an additional indication that the auction houses are having difficulty finding diamonds that are extraordinary enough for market demand given that supply is so low. Another important note is that only these 5 lots from amongst the entire auction inventory have values of over $1 million. The auction house is counting on 5 items, which is just over 1.5% of the total number of lots (317 in total). If all 5 sell, it will represent the majority of the value of the auction. Slim pickings and a lot is riding on them!

Lot #318 is a 19.25 carat D color VVS1 Emerald cut diamond. The diamond has the potential to be IF, as stated in the accompanied diagram (the second such diamond to be noted in this way at the auction). It is valued at $1.8 million to $2.2 million, or $93.5k to $114.3k per carat. Bidders most likely will bid on it taking into consideration the re-polish potential. These days, this is a very strong desire by investors. Many dealers and investors seek out diamonds that can be potentially upgraded in either clarity or color, which at times significantly increases the value of a diamond and will subsequently earn them even better returns should they choose to resell. Hence the valuation and why it is among the top 5.

19.25 carat D color VVS1 Emerald cut diamond ring

19.25 carat D color VVS1 Emerald cut diamond ring

Image credit: Sotheby’s

Our final member of the list is Lot #188, a 15.37 carat D color VVS1 Emerald cut diamond. Aside from every specification except for the weight, the other common area that the diamond has with Lot #318 is that this diamond too can be upgraded to an IF. The diamond is valued at $1.2 million to $1.8 million, which is equivalent to $78.1k to $117.1k per carat. It seems that the spread in value can be contributed to the sentimental value of the diamond. It was once owned by Fashion Tycoon Josephine Chaus, so if a buyer values this fact highly, it can push them to pay a higher price for the diamond under pressure from a rival bidder.

15.37 carat D color VVS1 Emerald cut diamond ring

15.37 carat D color VVS1 Emerald cut Josephine Chaus diamond ring

Image credit: Sotheby’s

Pink Diamonds and a Blue Diamond Also Up for Auction

A nice 3.03 carat Fancy Pink VS2 pear shaped diamond is being offered as well. The value sits between $600k and $800k total, or $198k to $264k per carat. This is a good and true value for the diamond offered, and will most likely be met. Fancy Pink is a relatively light color so between the fact of its color and its size, the diamond won’t be making any headlines.

3.03 carat Fancy Pink VS2 pear shaped diamond ring

3.03 carat Fancy Pink VS2 pear shaped diamond ring

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

Finally, we’d like to note a slightly smaller pink diamond that is also being offered, a 2.72 carat Fancy Pink SI1 heart shaped diamond. The diamond, pictured below with a sapphire ring that is also being offered at the auction, is valued at $400k to $600k in total, or $147k to $226k per carat. The valuation is basically in line with the 3.03 carat pink diamond above. It is a beautiful pink diamond but does not stand out enough for it to make serious news.

2.72 carat Fancy Pink SI1 diamond ring

2.72 carat Fancy Pink SI1 diamond ring (pictured next to a sapphire and diamond ring)

Image credit: Sotheby’s

 

Last to mention but certainly not the least important is a 5.06 carat Fancy Light Blue VS2 pear shaped diamond. It is valued by Sotheby’s between $300k and $500k, or $59k to $99k per carat. We believe this diamond is undervalued, as back in 2013 a 1.16 carat Fancy Light Blue VS2 diamond was sold for $102k per carat, and blue diamond prices have only been on the rise. We should be able to see a much higher price for this diamond and we are expecting it to be so.

5.06 carat Fancy Light Blue VS2 pear shaped diamond

5.06 carat Fancy Light Blue VS2 pear shaped diamond

 

If auction houses would have their way, all wealthy fathers would be buying blue diamonds at extraordinary prices for their daughters at this rate! Perhaps it is because of the sentimentality, but regardless of what causes fathers to behave in such a way, it certainly adds major value to the Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds being offered at these auctions. Luckily for Sotheby’s, in times when it is exceedingly difficult to acquire vivid blue diamonds to sell at auction, they were able to obtain not one but two impressive vivid blue diamonds for their April auctions. Christie’s most impressive jewel is the Jubilee Ruby, a somewhat large gem but still only a gemstone! Of course, the rest of the year may bring untold surprises as to what will be sold, and how much people will be willing to pay for them. I know that I cannot wait to see what the year in auctions will bring!

What do you think? Can the Shirley Temple Blue break the Blue Moon of Josephine’s price per carat record? Will the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 break it first and set the bar too high for the Shirley Temple Blue, or can the Shirley Temple Blue break that record too? Tell us in the comments!

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