"The illustrious story of the impeccable blue diamond began in the 17th century when Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French diamond merchant, traveller and pioneer of diamond trade with India, first set eyes on a unique and unforgettable diamond in India. The “superfine deep blue” that so captivated Tavernier was later sold to King Louis XIV in 1669 as the famous French Blue, used to adorn the crown of Queen Marie Antoinette. Throughout its history, the stone was cut, stolen, sold, bequeathed and cut again, until it finally landed in the hands of Harry Winston, who donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institute in 1958. This coveted stone became known as the famous Hope Diamond. Since then, blue diamonds have been synonymous with tales of royalties, myths, curses, and celebrated for their veil of mystery and intriguing beauty." So recounts I.J. West Diamonds the beginnings of the world of blue diamonds.
The exceptional beauty and rarity of blue diamonds is praised and desired by collectors and connoisseurs. Among the rarest gems in the world, blue diamonds owe their natural color to the presence of the trace element boron. The Cullinan Mine in Gauteng province, South Africa, which was made famous by the discovery of the 3,106-carat colorless Cullinan diamond in 1905, is the main source of blue diamonds. Discoveries of any size are extremely rare. Petra Diamonds acquired the mine in 2008. Since then, out of the eighteen million tons mined and five million carats recovered, only five world-class blue diamonds have emerged from Cullinan, or less than 0.1% of the mine’s annual yield. Most recently (2015), the ‘Blue Moon’ - a 12.03-carat Fancy Vivid blue, Internally Flawless gem that sold for an incredible $48.4 million, making it the world’s most expensive diamond - was found in Cullinan.
2014 was distinguished by the discovery of the Cullinan Dream, the exceptional 122.52 carat blue diamond also recovered at the Cullinan mine. The incredible rarity of a blue diamond of this magnitude sets it apart as a truly significant find. In September 2014, the rough stone was sold for a value equivalent to US$27.6 million, with Petra retaining a 15% share in the net proceeds of the polished yield. The rough stone was entrusted to a master cutter and, after lengthy analysis, the best yield was determined to be four polished diamonds, each of notable size. The Cullinan Dream and its related stones are yet to be sold, but the exceptional rarity of blue diamonds, along with their rich history and heritage, has today made them one of the world’s most highly valuable and collectible items.