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Rare 15-Carat Blue Diamond Sells For $57.5 Million—Barely Under World Record

Rare 15-Carat Blue Diamond Sells For $57.5 Million—Barely Under World Record
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Wednesday, 27 April, 2022, 22:00

The largest vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction sold for nearly $57.5 million Wednesday in Hong Kong, nearly breaking a world record as the demand for diamonds continues to bounce back after a pandemic slump.

$57.5 million. That’s how much the 16.63-carat Oppenheimer Blue, sold for at auction in 2016. It holds the record for the most expensive blue diamond. De Beers Cullinan Blue sold Wednesday for $57,471,960, just narrowly missing the Oppenheimer Blue’s $57,541,779 record, Sotheby’s said.

Diamond prices are rising after the industry experienced a drop in demand amid the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Two of the world’s leading diamond companies, De Beers and Alrosa, finished last year with higher sale numbers than 2019, before the pandemic, a trend industry experts expect to continue into 2022. “Against a backdrop of anticipated hyperinflation and unstable geopolitics, we are now witnessing an oft-seen tendency for the uber wealthy to turn towards hard assets for investment,” Tobias Kormind, managing director of Europe's largest online jeweler 77 Diamonds, told Forbes in a statement. In February, a 555.55-carat black diamond fetched $4.28 million and set a record for the largest diamond ever auctioned.

Several high-profile gems up for auction over the next month will continue to test the market for diamonds. A 228.31-carat white diamond is set to become the largest of its kind to appear at auction when it goes for sale in Geneva in May, and could fetch as much as $30 million. The historic Red Cross Diamond, a 205-carat canary yellow, cushion-shaped gem, is estimated to sell for $10.7 million at auction next month.