Prior to this auction the Blue Moon Diamond was exhibited under very tight security in Hong Kong, New York and London. Then on Wednesday November 11, 2015 history was made in Geneva with the sale by Sotheby’s of its spectacular star gem, a 12.03 carat, ring-mounted cushion-cut fancy vivid blue diamond called The Blue Moon. The auction record for gemstones was broken when this stone was bought for $48.4 million – the highest price ever paid per carat (over $4 million) – by property tycoon Joseph Lau, Hong Kong’s sixth richest man, to honour his seven-year old daughter, Josephine. He renamed the diamond The Blue Moon of Josephine.
This rare, large, mysterious and magical stone is classified flawless by the Gemological Institute of America and has exceptional clarity and perfect color with the highest possible grading. It was discovered in January 2014 at the Cullinan mine near Pretoria in South Africa which is the world’s best and only reliable source for blue diamonds: this mine generates about 25% or over 400 carats of the world’s blue diamonds per annum. The Cullinan Mine was run for its first eighteen years by the DeBeers Diamond Conglomerate. Currently it is owned by a three-way consortium: Petra Diamonds, Thembinkosi Mining Investments and a Saudi-based investment company, Al Rajhi Holdings. The expectation is that this mine will produce one million carats per annum for the next twenty to forty years!
Occasionally an exceptional Blue Moon diamond surfaces – its rarity is what entices diamond collectors to pay exorbitant prices for this rare gem, hence its name from ‘once in a blue moon’! Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie’s jewelry, said “the investor appetite continues to grow for the Earth’s rarest objects of natural beauty”.
The original weight of the rough Blue Moon diamond was 29.62 carats. It was cut by the New York 5th Avenue-based Core International after five months of studying the stone, and then three months of highly skilled cutting and polishing the stone to perfection. Thirty exact replica copies were cut first before going ahead with the ultimate challenge of cutting the real rough Blue Moon diamond.
The color was mentioned by the GIA as being indescribable and was likened as being like the ocean. The intensity of color had never been seen before within such a large stone. This in itself placed the Blue Moon Diamond among the most famous gems in the world. David Bennett, the head of Sotheby’s international jewelry division said “For me the Blue Moon was always the blue diamond of my career. I’ve never seen a more beautiful stone – its shape, color and purity. It’s a magical stone”.