Sourcing

39-Carat Blue Diamond Sells to De Beers, Diacore for $40M

SourcingJul 14, 2021

39-Carat Blue Diamond Sells to De Beers, Diacore for $40M

The “exceptional” stone went for about $1 million per carat and is the second natural color rough diamond purchased by the two companies.

20210714_Petra 39 ct blue diamond.jpg
De Beers and manufacturer Diacore paid $40.2 million for this 39.34-carat blue diamond. It’s expected to yield a 14- or 15-carat polished stone that is cushion- or pear-shaped.
London—The “exceptional” 39.34-carat blue diamond recovered from a mine in South Africa has been sold, Petra Diamonds Ltd. announced Monday. 
 
A partnership between De Beers Group and manufacturer Diacore International, a De Beers sightholder, paid $40.2 million ($1 million per carat) for the stone. 
 
The two companies will appoint “expert artisans” to study and work with the diamond prior to cutting, so that “its beauty can be maximized before it is presented to the wider world,” De Beers said in a statement issued Wednesday morning. 
 
The 39.34-carat diamond is the single most expensive stone Petra has ever sold.
 
It’s also the second rough blue diamond the De Beers/Diacore partnership has recently purchased from Petra, which just underwent a debt-for-equity restructuring after a failed attempt to find a buyer.
 
In November 2020, the two companies bought the five blue diamonds comprising the “Letlapa Tala Collection,” paying $40.36 million.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Like the 39-carat blue diamond, those stones came from the Cullinan Mine, which has yielded a number of famous diamonds, both natural color and colorless. 
 
Among them is the rough that yielded the 12.03-carat blue diamond later named the “Blue Moon of Josephine,” which sold for $48.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction in November 2015. 
 
That is roughly $4 million per carat, which remains the highest price-per-carat ever paid for a gemstone sold at auction.
 
In an interview last month, L.J. West Diamonds gemologist George Togholian, who worked on the cutting of the Blue Moon at a previous job, said this 39-carat blue diamond looks “very similar” to the rough that became the Blue Moon. 
 
Blue diamonds from Cullinan, he said, possess a “special tone of blue” that’s not comparable to any other diamonds.  
Though Togholian declined to share his estimate, others predicted the diamond would sell for upward of $1 million a carat, with one diamantaire telling National Jeweler the stone could go for as much as $65 million.
 
It fell well short of that mark at $40 million. 
 
Larry West, owner of L.J. West Diamonds, said the rough diamond’s sale price is indicative of where the market is right now. 
 
The Blue Moon, sold as rough in 2014 and auctioned as a polished diamond for $4 million per carat the following year, was purchased at a high point. 
 
Today, travel limitations and lingering concerns around COVID-19 are “putting a little damper” on the sale of extremely rare natural color diamonds, West said, holding down prices slightly. 
 
Damper, however, is a relative term when it comes to these sought-after stones. 
 
While more and more large colorless diamonds are being found, the supply of exceptional natural color diamonds is dwindling. West cited both the closure of the Argyle mine and Cullinan, where Petra has to keep going deeper to find diamonds like the 39-carat blue, as examples. 
 
“In general, [the 39-carat diamond’s $40 million sale] still shows how strong [the market for] vivid blues is ... as  a commodity, they generate strong interest,” he said.   
 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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