The Premier Blue Diamond

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Dr. Shihaan M. Larif

Origin of Name

The Premier Blue Diamond gets its name from the mine of origin of the diamond in South Africa, viz. the Premier/Cullinan/Petra Diamond Mine in Transvaal, South Africa, the principal source of blue diamonds in the world today, and the source of all the 11 blue diamonds in the De Beers Millennium Diamond Collection, ranging in weight from 5.16 carats to 27.64 carats exhibited at the London's Millennium Dome, through out the year 2000. The Premier Diamond Mine was renamed the Cullinan Diamond Mine in November 2003, on the occasion of the centenary of the diamond mine, in memory of its founder Sir Thomas Cullinan. The diamond mine was acquired by a consortium led by Petra Diamonds in July 2008, and since then the mine came to be known as the Petra Diamond Mine. The Cullinan/Petra diamond mine is renowned as an important source of large and high value Type IIa diamonds, as well as the rare Type IIb blue diamonds. Some of the famous diamonds produced after Petra Diamonds acquired the mines, are the 507.55-carat white/colorless rough diamond known as the "Cullinan Heritage" that was sold uncut for a record US$ 35.3 million and the 7.03-carat Petra Blue/Star of Josephine blue diamond that sold for a record US$ 9.5 million at the Sotheby's Geneva auction in May 2009.

In the list of 51 famous blue diamonds in the world today, given below on this webpage, at least 40 blue diamonds originated from the Premier/Cullinan Diamond Mine, yet, not a single one of them bears a name indicating the source of the diamond. This was perhaps the main reason that prompted the owners of the diamond, Petra Diamonds, to christen this particular diamond, possessing a combination of much desired characteristics in blue diamonds, as the "Premier Blue Diamond," a named befitting this rare and unique blue diamond.

The Premier Blue Diamond - 7.59-carat, fancy vivid blue, internally flawless, round brilliant-cut diamond

The Premier Blue Diamond - 7.59-carat, fancy vivid blue, internally flawless, round brilliant-cut diamond

 

Characteristics of the diamond

The 4Cs of the Diamond

The Premier Blue Diamond is a 7.59-carat, round brilliant-cut, internally flawless (IF), fancy vivid blue diamond; the largest round brilliant-cut, fancy vivid blue diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

 

Why round brilliant-cut is rarely employed on colored diamonds ?

Round brilliant-cut is rarely employed on colored diamonds, due to the extreme rarity of such diamonds, the restricted size of the rough colored diamonds and the high wastage of rough diamond involved in the fashioning of a round-brilliant. The standard round brilliant-cut, which maximizes the luster and brilliance of a diamond, is usually employed for white/colorless diamonds which are relatively more abundant than colored diamonds. A diamond rough of at least double its fashioned carat weight is required to fashion a diamond into this popular and desirable shape. In other words, a wastage of 50% occurs in the fashioning of a round brilliant-cut diamond. In spite of such wastage, the fact that the owners of the diamond deliberately chose to apply this cut on this rare blue diamond, reveals the intention of the owners to create a rare, famous and exceptional blue diamond with a combination of much desired characteristics, such as the round brilliant-cut, fancy vivid saturated blue color, internally flawless clarity and an impressive size of 7.59 carats, which would be extremely rare to come by, even in the standards of world class museums and auctions.

 

The saturated pure blue color of the Premier Blue Diamond

The fancy vivid blue color of the Premier Blue Diamond is the highest color grading that can be given to colored diamonds. Many blue diamonds are modified with grey or black hues, or have an uneven saturation with colorless areas interspersed. However, the Premier Blue Diamond is endowed with a splendid, even and saturated pure blue hue, that makes it a natural wonder to behold.

 

The exceptional internally flawless clarity of the Premier Blue Diamond

The clarity of the Premier Blue Diamond is also exceptional, with a striking high clarity, awarded the clarity grade of Internally Flawless (IF) by the GIA, the second highest clarity grade, indicating no inclusions visible under 10X magnification, but only minute blemishes on the diamond's surface.

 

Position of the Premier Blue Diamond in the List of known famous blue diamonds arranged in descending order of carat weights

In the list of known famous blue diamonds arranged in descending order of carat weights, the 7.59-carat Premier Blue Diamond occupies the 31 st position. See table below.

The table also shows that the Premier Blue Diamond is actually the 3rd-largest round brilliant-cut blue diamond in the world, after the 51.84-carat, round brilliant-cut, unnamed blue diamond and the 12.39-carat, round brilliant-cut, cornflower blue diamond, set in a ring and sold by Harry Winston in 1969. However, the exact color-grading of the 1st and 2nd largest round brilliant-cut blue diamonds are not known. Hence, the 7.59-carat Premier Blue Diamond is undoubtedly the largest, round brilliant-cut, fancy vivid blue diamond in the world, as claimed by Sotheby's in their press release on the sale of the Premier Blue Diamond at the Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Autumn Sale on October 7, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

 

List  of known famous blue diamonds 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. 30.82 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 Sotheby's Geneva, Nov 2012 $10.8 mill.   10.48 Briolette fancy deep blue
26 Christie's N.Y. April 2007 $2..4 million   9.39 Cushion-cut fancy grayish blue
27 Sotheby's HK. Oct. 2009 $5.7 mill.Soth.HK. Premier Mine, S.A. 8.74 Emerald-cut fancy intense blue/VVS1
28 Sotheby's HK. April 2012 $12.7 mill.   8.01 Emerald-cut fancy vivid blue
29 Christie' Geneva, Dec.1999 $3.2 million Premier Mine, S.A. 7.96 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue/VS1
30 Soth. Geneva May 2010 $8.03 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 7.64 Cushion-cut fancy intense blue/VVS2
31 Premier Blue Diamond Auction coming up on October 7, 2013 Premier Mine, S.A. 7.59 Round brilliant-cut fancy vivid blue
32 Christie's Hong Kong. April 2002 $2.6 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 7.15 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue
33 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
34 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
35 Christie's New York $3.6 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 6.29 Pear-shaped fancy intense blue
36 Graff Blue diamond   Premier Mine, S.A. 6.19 Pear-shaped fancy intense blue
37 Moussaieff Jewelers unnamed blue diamond $7.98 mill Sotheby's HK, Oct.2007 Premier Mine, S.A. 6.04 Emerald-cut fancy vivid blue
38 Sotheby's HK, Oct.2011 $10.1 mill. Soth.HK. Premier Mine, S.A. . 6.01 Emerald-cut fancy vivid blue
39 Sotheby's Geneva, Nov.2009 $7.5 mill Premier Mine, S.A. . 5.96 Pear-shaped modified brilliant fancy vivid blue
40 Christie's Geneva, Dec.1999 $1.13 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 5.80 Pear-shaped fancy intense blue/IF
41 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
42 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
43 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

44 Christie's Geneva, Dec.1999 $1.24 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 4.77 Circular-cut fancy deep blue/VS2
45 Soth. Geneva. Nov,2007 $4.7 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 4.16 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue/
46 Bulgari Blue $2.97 mill. Bonhams Lond. 2011 Premier Mine, S.A. 3.78 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue
47 Soth. Geneva May 2008 $4.96 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 3.73 Pear-shaped fancy vivid blue
48 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
49 Christie's NY Oct.2011 $2.7mill Premier Mine, S.A. 3.21 Modified Pear-shape fancy vivid blue
50 Sotheby's NY. Apr. 2011 $3.27 mill Premier Mine, S.A. 3.18 Marquise-cut fancy vivid blue/IF
51 Sotheby's Geneva, Nov. 2009 $2.5 mill. Premier Mine, S.A. 3.17 Brilliant-cut fancy intense blue /IF

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The Premier Blue Diamond is a rare Type IIb diamond

Being a blue diamond the Premier Blue is a rare Type IIb diamond, whose occurrence is less than 0.1% of all naturally occuring diamonds. The diamond is Type II because of the absence of detectable quantities of nitrogen. It is Type IIb, because of the presence of extremely minute quantities of Boron, which not only impart a blue color to the diamonds but also make the diamond semi-conducting. Type IIa diamonds on the other hand are chemically pure without any impurities and constitute about 1-2% of all naturally occuring diamonds. Type IIa diamonds can be either structurally perfect, structurally imperfect or naturally irradiated. Chemically pure and structurally perfect Type IIa diamonds (1-2%) are absolutely colorless and fall under the color-grade D, E & F. Chemically pure and structurally imperfect or plastically deformed diamonds (Less than 0.1%) acquire rare fancy colors such as pink, red, orange, violet, and brown. Chemically pure and naturally irradiated diamonds (Less than 0.1%) acquire a rare green color.

 

History

Early History of the Diamond

The mine of origin of the diamond

The mine of origin of the diamond is undoubtedly the Premier/Cullinan Diamond Mine, situated in the town of Cullinan, 40 km east of Pretoria in the Gauteng Province (Part of the old Transvaal Province) of South Africa. This was the main reason that prompted the owners of the diamond, Petra Diamonds, to christen the diamond as the "Premier Blue Diamond." Moreover, the fact that the Premier/Cullinan Diamond Mine is the main source of significant blue diamonds in the world today, gives credence to this conclusion.

 

The probable date of origin of the rough diamond

The weight of the round brilliant-cut, fancy vivid blue, internally flawless "Premier Blue Diamond" is 7.59-carats. Given the fact that an enormous wastage of up to 50% or more occurs in the fashioning of a round brilliant-cut diamond, the approximate weight of the rough "Premier Blue Diamond" should be more than 15 carats. In the year 2012, results of the Petra Diamonds production, show only one significant blue diamond produced, that was processed into a 4.8-carat blue diamond and sold for US$ 1.45 million.

According to the Petra Diamonds website www.petradiamonds.com in the Financial Year 2012, the following diamonds were each sold for more than US$ 1 million.

  • a 129.6 carat white diamond (sold for US$3.35 million);

  • a 61.7 carat white diamond (sold for US$2.60 million);

  • a 208.0 carat white diamond (sold for US$1.75 million);

  • a 4.8 carat blue diamond (sold for US$1.45 million, being US$301,500 per carat);and

  • a 124.2 carat white diamond (sold for US$1.06 million).

Hence a rough blue diamond of more than 15 carats was not produced in the year 2012.

However, as reported by the Press on April 17, 2013, a spectacular high-value diamond, a 25.5-carat, rough blue diamond was discovered in the Cullinan/Petra Diamond Mine, that had a bearing on the shares of Petra Diamonds in the stock market. Photographs of this blue diamond had been published in the company's website www.petradiamonds.com with the following URL :- http://www.petradiamonds.com/media/image-library/diamonds.aspx

Thus it appears that the 7.59-carat, round brilliant-cut, fancy vivid blue diamond was actually fashioned out of this spectacular, blue rough diamond discovered in early April 2013.

25.5-carat, rough blue diamond from which the Premier Blue Diamond was probably fashioned

25.5-carat, rough blue diamond from which the Premier Blue Diamond was probably fashioned


Another view of the 25.5-carat rough blue diamond discovered in the Premier/Cullinan Diamond Mine in April 2013

Another view of the 25.5-carat rough blue diamond discovered in the Premier/Cullinan Diamond Mine in April 2013

 

The cutting and polishing of the Premier Blue Diamond

The Premier Blue Diamond was most probably cut and polished by the master cutters of the Steinmetz Group, creators of the world's finest diamonds, who were also responsible for cutting and polishing the 11 blue diamonds discovered at the Premier Diamond Mine, that formed the De Beers Millennium Diamond Collection. Steinmetz Group has manufacturing facilities in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and New York. Steinmetz Group is well known for its leadership in the creation of rare and exceptional diamonds, such as the 203.04-carat De Beers "Millennium Star" diamond and the 59.60-carat, flawless, fancy vivid pink, "Steinmetz Pink" diamond. The New York manufacturing facility specializes in the processing of rare, as well as large diamonds and the Premier Blue diamond was probably processed at this facility, equipped with the most precise and innovative equipment.

 

Sotheby's announces the sale of the Premier Blue Diamond at the Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autum Sale 2013 taking place on October 7, 2013

Sotheby's Hong Kong announced on August 19, 2013, that in celebration of its 40th anniversary in Asia, the auction house will put up the "Premier Blue" Diamond for auction as part of the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Autumn Sale 2013, scheduled to take place on Ocober 7, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. The "Premier Blue" is characterized as a 7.59-carat, round brilliant-cut, internally flawless (IF), fancy vivid blue diamond, the largest round fancy vivid blue diamond ever graded by the GIA. The auction house further stated that no significant round fancy vivid blue diamond had ever appeared at an auction worldwide, thus making the "Premier Blue" a rare and exceptional gem.

The Premier Blue, of substantial size, round brilliant-cut, fancy vivid blue color grading and internally flawless clarity, embodies the best and rarest attributes of a blue diamond. The Premier Blue will be previewed around Asia as well as in Geneva, London, New York and Doha before the auction.

Commenting on the up coming sale of the "Premier Blue" diamond, Quek Chin Yeow, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby's Asia and Chairman International Jewelry, Asia, said, “Sotheby’s has been entrusted with many important blue diamonds and holds the current per-carat price record for Fancy Vivid blue diamond at auction (with the sale of a 6.01-carat Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond which achieved US$1,686,505 per carat in Hong Kong in October 2011). This Autumn we are thrilled to offer The Premier Blue, an unusually beautiful and rare treasure of round brilliant cut as well as Internally Flawless clarity. No round Fancy Vivid blue diamond of significance has ever appeared at auction. The Premier Blue,weighing 7.59 carats, is the world’s largest round Fancy Vivid blue diamond to appear at auction as well as the largest one ever graded by GIA. A befitting celebration of Sotheby’s 40th anniversary in Asia, the debut appearance of such a rare Fancy Vivid blue diamond as The Premier Blue at auction offers an unprecedented collecting opportunity for connoisseurs worldwide.”

 

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)

Back to More Famous Diamonds

Back to Famous Diamonds

Related :-

Blue Empress Diamond

Blue Heart Diamond

Blue Lili Diamond

Heart of Eternity Diamond

 

 

External Links :-

Sotheby's Hong Kong Press Release on the Sale of the Premier Blue Diamond

Petra Diamonds - Image Library http://www.petradiamonds.com/media/image-library/diamonds.aspx

 

References :-

1) Sotheby's Hong Kong Press Release on the Sale of the Premier Blue Diamond

2) 7.5-Carat Fancy Vivid Blue Diamond to be Sold at Sotheby's - By Rob Bates, Senior Editor, JCK Magazine

3) Rare Blue Diamond "Premier Blue" May Fetch $19 million - Forbes - www.forbes.com

4) Premier Mine -From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

5) Petra Diamonds - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

6) Recovery of high quality 25.5-carat blue diamond - Petra Diamonds, Press Release, April 17, 2013.


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