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Articles from DIAMONDS BY CUT - ROUGH (UNCUT) (65 Articles), DIAMONDS BY COLOUR - OTHER BLUE/GREEN (29 Articles)

A blue diamond that has belonged to European royalty for three centuries is being auctioned next month
A blue diamond that has belonged to European royalty for three centuries is being auctioned next month

Royal, ‘secret’ blue diamond unveiled

A blue diamond that was reportedly once owned by Marie Antoinette, among other royalty, is being auctioned for the first time in history.

The Farnese Blue, a 6.16-carat pear shaped, fancy dark grey-blue diamond, will be on offer at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels 15 May auction in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Witness to 300 years of European history, the diamond has travelled across the continent for centuries.”
David Bennett, Sotheby’s international jewellery division chairman

Discovered in India in the 1700s, it was originally gifted to Elisabeth Farnese, the queen of Spain in 1715. It is understood to have travelled throughout Spain, Italy, Austria and France, where it reportedly adorned a diamond tiara that belonged to Marie Antoinette.

According to David Bennett, the chairman of Sotheby’s international jewellery division, the diamond has remained in the same family for three centuries.

“It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India,” Bennett said.

“Witness to 300 years of European history, from the aftermath of the Spanish Succession War to the fall of the Habsburg Empire, the diamond has travelled across the continent for centuries. All this time, it was kept secretly in a royal casket. Excepting close relatives and the family jewellers, no one knew of its existence.”

While the diamond’s estimated price is between CHF3.5 – 5 million (AU$4.7 – AU$6.7 m), Bennett noted it might ultimately end up fetching even more.

"Royal and noble collectors have traditionally had access to the finest gemstones available, and so the gems which adorn these pieces often display the very highest quality, size and rarity," Bennett was quoted as saying in a CNN report. "They are fragments of history and there is currently great enthusiasm for jewels of this type.”

The Farnese Blue will be exhibited in London, New York, Singapore, Taipei and Geneva before being auctioned in Switzerland.

More reading
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Pink diamond reclaims auction record

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