Set to be the largest Vivid Blue diamond ever to appear at auction, a classical emerald cut stone weighing 14.62-carats, the Oppenheimer Blue is one of "the rarest gems in the world, the gem of gems", says François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Asia Pacific and China. The stone will lead Christie’s auction of ‘Magnificent Jewels’ to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva on 18 May. The diamond - named after its previous owner, the late Sir Philip Oppenheimer, who died in 1995 - is estimated at $38m to $45m (£26.5m-£31.4m). "The Oppenheimers have been leaders in the diamond industry for generations, and Sir Phillip could have had any diamond he wanted, but he chose this one, with its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular shape," says Curiel. Noting the coveted nature of such rare gems, he says, "Blue diamonds have gained a wider following, not only because they are stunning, but because there are so few of them available in the world."
A Vivid Blue Rivalry appears to brewing between Christie's and Sotheby's, which will auction a 10.10-carat vivid blue diamond at its April 5 sale in Hong Kong. This is expected to set the record for the most expensive piece of jewelry sold at auction, namely $30 to $35 million. Just last November, Asian property tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung bought the 12.03-carat "Blue Moon of Josephine" for his daughter at Sotheby's auction in Geneva, paying a record $48 million.