The Blue Heart Diamond

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Origin of Name

Lareef A. Samad B.Sc.(Hons)

The name "Blue Heart" seems to have been inspired by the rare deep blue color of the diamond and it's extraordinarily beautiful heart-shaped cut, that makes it perhaps the world's prettiest blue diamond. The "Blue Heart" diamond is sometimes known as the "Unzue" diamond, after the Argentinean woman Mrs. Unzue who owned the diamond for 43 years, having purchased it from Cartier's in 1910, two years after it's discovery. The diamond is also mistakenly referred to as the "Eugenie Blue," after Empress Eugenie of France, the empress consort of Napoleon III (1852-1870), but she could never have owned this diamond because it was discovered only in 1908.

The Blue Heart Diamond

The Blue Heart Diamond

© Smithsonian institution, photo by Chip Clark

Characteristics of the Diamond

The Blue Heart diamond is a 30.62-carat, heart-shaped, brilliant-cut blue diamond. According to the Gemological Institute of America, the Blue Heart Diamond is a natural fancy deep-blue diamond, with a clarity grade of VS-2.

The "Blue Heart Diamond" enjoys the rare distinction of being the largest heart-shaped blue diamond in the world

The "Blue Heart" diamond belonging to the National Gem Collection of the Smithsonian Institution, is the 11th largest blue diamond in the world, according to our list of known famous blue diamonds in the world, arranged in descending order of carat weights. However, this blue diamond with a rare heart-shaped cut, enjoys the rare distinction of being the largest heart-shaped blue diamond in the world, a position which it had held since its cutting in Paris in 1909/1910, a position which may not change in the forseeable future, given the extreme rarity of large blue diamonds, and the rarity of the heart-shaped cut, seldom employed in blue diamonds. Apart from the 30.82-carat Blue Heart diamond, there are only three other heart-shaped blue diamonds in the table given below, an indication of the rarity of this shape. These are the 27.64-carat, "Heart of Eternity" diamond, the largest of 10 extremely rare blue diamonds exhibited at the Millennium Dome in London in the year 2,000 together with the 203.04-carat Millennium Star, the centerpiece of the exhibition; the 13.78-carat heart-shaped Begum-blue diamond; and the 5.46-carat heart-shaped Marie Antoinette blue diamond.

List  of known famous blue diamonds in the world arranged in descending order of carat weights

S/N

Name

Price realized at Auction/Value when last sold Country/Period of Origin

Carat weight

Cut/Shape

Color/Clarity

1 Unnamed cushion-cut blue diamond Cut from a 704.56-carat rough diamond Valued between $45-50 mill. 261.00 Cushion-cut fancy blue
2 Unnamed brilliant 51.84 Round-brilliant fancy blue
3 Copenhagen Blue diamond Named in honor of an exhibition in Copenhagen in 1960 Jagersfontein Mine, South Africaa 45.85 Emerald-cut fancy blue
4 Hope diamond

Over $300,000 in 1911. Current estimate $200-$250 mill.

Golconda, India 1663-68 45.52 Antique-cushion brilliant fancy dark grayish- blue/VS1
5 Tereschenko $4.6 mill. Christie's Genv. sale Nov.1984 Golconda, India 42.92 Pear-shaped fancy blue
6 Graff Imperial Blue Guinea 39.81 Pear-shaped fancy light blue/IF
7 Crown of Charlemagne Last sold by Harry Winston in 1967 37.05 Old-European cut fancy light blue
8 Wittelsbach-Graff $24.3 mill. Gloconda, India 35.56 /31.06 Cushion-shaped fancy deep blue/IF
9 Sultan of Morocco $250,000 in 1972, Private sale Golconda,India 35.27 Cushion-cut fancy grayish blue
10 Cornflower Blue diamond-1 Sold by Harry Winston in 1969, later re-purchased and sold to a Middle eastern client in 1971. Premier Mine, S.A. 31.93 Pear-shaped fancy blue
11 The Blue Heart or Eugenie Blue $300,000 in 1953. Sale by Van Cleef & Arpels after change of setting Premier Mine, S.A. 30.62 Heart-shaped fancy vivid blue
12 Blue Lili Premier Mine, S.A. 30.06 Tapered cushion-cut fancy intense blue
13 The Heart of Eternity Premier Mine, S.A. 27.64 Heart-shaped fancy vivid blue/VS2
14 Transvaal Blue Premier Mine, S.A. 25.00 Pear-shaped fancy blue
15 Sam Abram Fancy Blue diamond $9.9 mill. Soth.NY. Oct 1994 Premier Mine, S.A. 20.17 Emerald-cut fancy vivid blue/VS2
16 Graff Blue Ice Diamond Premier Mine, S.A. 20.02 Pear-shaped fancy deep blue
17 The Blue Empress Premier Mine, S.A. 14.00 Pear-shaped fancy blue
18 The Begum Blue $7.75 mill. Christie's Geneva. November 1994 Premier Mine, S.A. 13.78 Heart-shaped fancy deep blue
19

Brunswick Blue-1

Previously believed to have been cut from the French Blue diamond

Part of the Duke of Brunswick collection of jewels sold in 1874 Golconda, India 13.75 Pear-shaped fancy blue
20 Cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut blue diamond

$8.87million

Christie's Geneva, May 2008

Premier Mine, S.A. 13.39 Cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut fancy intense blue
21 Marquise-cut fancy blue diamond $7.6 million Christie's Hong Kong, May 2011 Premier Mine, S.A. 13.39 Marquise-cut fancy blue/VVS2
22 Cornflower Blue diamond-2 Set in a ring and sold by Harry Winston in 1969 Premier Mine, S.A. 12.39 Round brilliant fancy blue
23 The Blue Magic Premier Mine, S.A. 12.02 Modified pear-shaped fancy vivid blue/VVS2
24 Bulgari Blue $15.7 mill. Christ.NY Oct.2010 Premier Mine, S.A. 10.95 Triangular-shaped fancy vivid blue
25 Christie's N.Y. April 2007 $2..4 million 9.39 Cushion-cut fancy grayish blue
26 Sotheby's HK. Oct. 2009 $5.7 mill.Soth.HK. Premier Mine, S.A. 8.74 Emerald-cut fancy intense blue/VVS1
27 Christie' Geneva, Dec.1999 $3.2 million Premier Mine, S.A. 7.96 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue/VS1
28 Soth. Geneva May 2010 $8.03 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 7.64 Cushion-cut fancy intense blue/VVS2
29 Christie's Hong Kong. April 2002 $2.6 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 7.15 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue
30 Petra Blue/Star of Josephine $9.5 mill. Soth. Geneva. May 2009 Premier / Cullinan/Petra Mine.S.A. 7.03 Cushion-cut fancy vivid blue/IF
31 Brunswick Blue-2 Part of the Duke of Brunswick collection of jewels sold in 1874 Premier Mine, S.A, 6.50 Pear-shaped fancy blue
32 Christie's New York $3.6 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 6.29 Pear-shaped fancy intense blue
33 Graff Blue diamond Premier Mine, S.A. 6.19 Pear-shaped fancy intense blue
34 Moussaieff Jewelers unnamed blue diamond $7.98 mill Sotheby's HK, Oct.2007 Premier Mine, S.A. 6.04 Emerald-cut fancy vivid blue
35 Sotheby's HK, Oct.2011 $10.1 mill. Soth.HK. Premier Mine, S.A. . 6.01 Cushion-cut fancy vivid blue
36 Sotheby's Geneva, Nov.2009 $7.5 mill Premier Mine, S.A. . 5.96 Pear-shaped modified brilliant fancy vivid blue
37 Christie's Geneva, Dec.1999 $1.13 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 5.80 Pear-shaped fancy intense blue/IF
38 Marie Antoinette Blue diamond Set in a ring said to have belonged to Marie Antoinette. Last offered for sale in1983 but not sold

Golconda,India

5.46 Heart-shaped fancy grayish-blue
39 De Beers Millennium Blue, Jewel II- Apr.2010 Sotheby's HK $6.4 mill. Soth.HK.

Premier Mine, S.A.

5.16 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue/IF
40 toi et moi ring - Soth. Geneva May 2010 $6.32 mill. Premier Mine, S.A.

5.02

5.42

Pear-shaped

Pear-shaped

fancy vivid blue

D-color

41 Christie's Geneva, Dec.1999 $1.24 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 4.77 Circular-cut fancy deep blue/VS2
42 Soth. Geneva. Nov,2007 $4.7 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 4.16 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue/
43 Bulgari Blue $2.97 mill. Bonhams Lond. 2011 Premier Mine, S.A. 3.78 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue
44 Soth. Geneva May 2008 $4.96 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 3.73 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue
45 Aleks Paul of Essex Global Trading $3.6 mill Christie's NY Apr. 2011 Premier Mine, S.A. 3.25 Square Emerald cut fancy vivid blue/IF
46 Christie's NY Oct.2011 $2.7mill Premier Mine, S.A. 3.21 Modified Pear-shape fancy vivid blue
47 Sotheby's NY. Apr. 2011 $3.27 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 3.18 Marquise-cut fancy vivid blue /IF

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The Blue Heart Diamond is a rare Type IIb diamond

The Blue heart diamond is a rare Type IIb diamond, and all naturally colored blue diamonds belong to this group. However, the occurrence of these diamonds is much less than 0.1 % of all natural diamonds. Type II diamonds are nitrogen-free or contain undetectable quantities of nitrogen.

If the diamonds are not only nitrogen-free but free of all other chemical impurities, they are known as Type IIa, which constitute about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. However, instead of nitrogen, if they contain trace quantities of another impurity boron, the diamonds are known as Type IIb. Boron atoms incorporated in the crystal structure of the diamond, changes it's absorption spectrum imparting the blue color to the diamonds. The diamonds also become semi-conducting, unlike other diamonds which are non-conductors of electricity.

Blue Heart diamond exhibited with the Shepard diamond (yellow cushion-shaped), the Pearson diamond (white round-brilliant) and other diamonds

Blue Heart diamond exhibited with the Shepard diamond (yellow cushion-shaped), the Pearson diamond (white round-brilliant) and other diamonds

© Smithsonian institution, photo by Chip Clark

 

History

Doubts about the origin of the Blue Heart diamond cleared by researches of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution

Previously the origin of the Blue Heart diamond was uncertain, and thought to be either India or South Africa, even though by the beginning of the 20th century, most of the historical diamond mines of the Eastern Deccan Plateau in India were already abandoned.

However, this mystery has been solved and more information about the diamond has been unearthed, thanks to the untiring efforts of the dedicated scientists of the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, the present owners of the diamond. The researches went into the archives of De Beers, and unearthed evidence to show that the diamond was discovered in the Premier diamond mines of South Africa, in November, 1908, and the rough stone weighed 100.5 carats.

 

Mistaken reference to "Blue Heart Diamond" as "Eugenie Blue Diamond" corrected after the Smithsonian research

The "Blue Heart" diamond was earlier mistakenly referred to as the "Eugenie Blue" diamond, because of the misconceived notion, that the diamond once belonged, to Empress Eugenie of France, the Empress consort of Napoleon III (1852-1870). However,we now know for certain that Empress Eugenie, who reigned between 1852 and 1870, could never have owned this diamond, because it was discovered only in 1908.

 

The French Connection to the Blue Heart Diamond

The Blue Heart diamond certainly did not belong to Empress Eugenie of France, but undoubtedly there is  a French connection to this diamond, as the rough diamond was cut and polished, and transformed into it's modern heart-shaped form by the renowned French diamond cutting firm, Atanik Ekyanan of Neuilly, Paris between 1909 and 1910. The cut and polished diamond was sold in 1910 to Cartier's, who set the diamond in a "Lily of the Valley" corsage and sold it to an Argentinean woman Mrs. Unzue in 1911.

 

The Blue Heart Diamond is sometimes referred to as the "Unzue Diamond" as the Unzue family owned the diamond, until 1953

The diamond remained in the Unzue family for 42 years and hence the diamond is sometimes referred to as the "Unzue Diamond." In 1953, it was purchased by the jewelry firm Van Cleef & Arpels, who dismantled the corsage setting, and re-set the diamond in a pendant, surrounded by 25 colorless  or white diamonds. The pendant and the accompanying necklace was priced at US$ 300,000, and was sold to an unnamed European titled family.

Harry Winston's setting of the blue heart diamond

Harry Winston's setting of the Blue Heart diamond on a platinum ring, surrounded by 25 white diamonds.

Harry Winston's setting of the Blue Heart diamond on a platinum ring, surrounded by 25 white diamonds.

In 1959, Harry Winston acquired the diamond, and re-set it again in a platinum ring, surrounded by 25 colorless/white, round brilliant-cut diamonds and sold it to Marjorie Merriweather Post, the American socialite and founder of General Foods Inc., in 1960.

Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton Davies - American Socialite and founder of General Foods, Inc.

Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton Davies - American Socialite and founder of General Foods, Inc.

Marjorie Merriweather Post generously donates the Blue Heart Diamond in 1964 to National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution

The diamond remained with Mrs. Post until the year 1964, when she finally decided to generously donate the rare blue diamond to the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, at Washington DC, where it is on display in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

 

The sale of a rare fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 6.04 carats at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, on October 8, 2007, for US$ 7.98 million, sets a record-breaking per-carat-price of US$ 1.32 million, breaking the 20-year-old world record previously set by the Hancock Red diamond, of US$ 926,000 per carat in 1987.

6.04-carat, fancy vivid blue diamond sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong in October 2007 for a record-breaking US$ 7.98 million

6.04-carat, fancy vivid blue diamond sold at Sotheby's Hong Kong in October 2007 for a record-breaking US$ 7.98 million

Natural blue diamonds surpass all other gemstones for their sheer beauty, and it is this uniqueness in their beauty combined with their rarity, that make them the most sought after diamonds by collectors and connoisseurs, around the world. The sale of a rare fancy vivid blue diamond weighing 6.04 carats at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, on October 8, 2007, for a record-breaking price of 7.98 million, therefore comes as little surprise to those in the trade and the well informed. The $ 1.32 million per carat price of this diamond has broken the 20-year old world record, set by the Hancock Red (Halphen Red) diamond in 1987, which sold at $ 926,000 per carat. The diamond is reported to have been purchased by Moussaieff Jewelers of London, who in 2001 purchased another extremely rare 5.11-carat red diamond known as the "Red Shield," for an undisclosed amount, from the William Goldberg Corporation of New York. The Red Shield was subsequently re-named the "Moussaieff Red," which is the largest red diamond in the world.

 

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Back to Famous Diamonds

Related :-

Begum Blue Diamond

Blue Empress Diamond

Heart of Eternity Diamond

 

External Links :-

Blue Heart Diamond-www.mineralsciences.si.edu/collections/gemgallery

 

References :-

1) Famous Diamonds -by Ian balfour

2) The National Gem Collection - by Jeffrey E. Post

3) Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History -Division of Mineralogy - Gem Gallery - Blue Heart Diamond -www.mineralsciences.si.edu/collections/gemgallery


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Dr Shihaan Larif
Founder Internet Stones.COM

 

 

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