“Blue Belle of Asia” 392-Carat Sapphire Shatters World Record
Excited bidders at Christie’s Geneva saw the price for the stunning 392-carat, cornflower blue sapphire skyrocket – pushing past its pre-sale estimate of $6.9 – $9.9million – to a record breaking $17.7 million. The cushion cut stone also holds another record, for being the fourth largest faceted blue sapphire.
Rahul Kadakia, International Head of Christie’s Jewelry Department, proclaimed that the private collector (who has chosen to remain anonymous) who put forth the winning bid was now the owner of “the most valuable sapphire in the world”. At $44,974 per carat, the gem’s selling price topped the previous record of $40,962 per carat price achieved by a 102-carat Ceylon sapphire just earlier this year at Sotheby’s Hong Kong.
The extraordinary gem boasts a historical provenance that can be dated back 88 years. Christie’s reports state that the originating rough was discovered in 1926 in Ratnapura – which is also known as “The City of Gems” – in Ceylon, now modern day Sri Lanka. It was owned by O.L.M Macan Markar & Co., a famous gem and jewelry dealer at the time who was based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Shortly after in 1937, British automobile tycoon Lord Nuffield purchased the gem with the rumored intentions to present it to Queen Elizabeth for her coronation in May that year. Nobody knows what events occurred between them, only that the Queen did not take possession of the stone. It then “disappeared” into private hands and remained in hiding for the next 35 years.
The Blue Belle of Asia was presented as the centerpiece in a diamond tassle pendant, and was the top performing lot at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels 2014. Overall, the sale generated a total of $154 million from over 340 lots.
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