Colored gemstone records tumble at auctions in Geneva

The 392.52-carat “Blue Belle of Asia” blue sapphire, which broke the world record for any sapphire sold at an auction.

Colored gemstone records tumble at auctions in Geneva

A 392.52-carat “Blue Belle of Asia,” gemstone that had been touted as the world’s fourth largest faceted blue sapphire broke the world record for any sapphire sold at an auction, at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale held on November 11, bringing in $17.7 million

The cushion-cut Ceylon sapphire, which had a pre-sale estimate of $6.9 million to $9.9 million, shattered the previous auction record for blue sapphires, which was set by the Richelieu Sapphires that sold for $8.36 million at Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale held in November last year.

The highest price achieved by a single Ceylon blue sapphire at a public auction was held by the 102.61-carat, cushion-cut Ceylon blue sapphire that sold for $4.2 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Spring Sale in April this year.

The Blue Belle of Asia discovered in a paddy field in Ratnapura Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1926. It was cut and polished in Sri Lanka and sold in 1937 to the British automobile magnate Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motors. It was said then that the gemstone was purchased with the intention of presenting it to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on her coronation day on May 12, 1937.

One day later, at a Sotheby’s auction, also in Geneva, Laurence Graff paid $8.2 million for an 8.62-carat Burmese ruby.

This is the second time that Graff had bought the same ruby. The first time was at an auction eight years ago, following which he sold it to the Greek financier Dimitri Mavromattis, whose collection of 16 jewels was part of the Sotheby’s sale in Geneva. The ruby’s price more than doubled over the period.

“This is the finest ruby in the world. We are very proud to have it in our possession for the second time,” said Graff said in a statement released by Sotheby’s.

The cushion-shaped ruby, which is set in a diamond ring, is from the Mogok Valley of Myanmar (Burma), and has the highly prized pigeon’s blood color.

At the same sale Graff also purchased a fancy intense blue diamond of 3.16 carats for nearly $3.26 million.

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