The Cullinan Dream sold for US$25,365,000 at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction held on June 9 in New York. The exceptional jewel is the largest and most expensive fancy intense blue diamond sold at auction, according to the auction house.
The 24.18-carat fancy intense blue diamond was the top lot at the auction, which realised a total of US$42,230,125.
Christie’s International Head of Jewelry Rahul Kadakia commented, “Christie’s is proud to have achieved yet another record with the Cullinan Dream blue diamond. We now look forward to finishing the spring season in London and staging exciting fall sales beginning in October at Christie’s New York.”
The diamond was part of a 122.52-carat blue diamond recovered in June 2014 by Petra Diamonds Ltd from South Africa’s Cullinan mine.
Mark Cullinan, an international jewellery dealer and the great grandson of Sir Thomas Cullinan, discoverer of Petra’s Cullinan Diamond Mine in 1898, was present at the auction.
“It was a great pleasure to be in New York for this exciting auction and to see the fantastic price achieved for a diamond representing a new generation of discoveries from Petra’s Cullinan Diamond Mine,” noted Cullinan. “My great-grandfather would be delighted to see how one of the newest exceptional blue diamonds from the mine he discovered resonates with top collectors in the market today.”
The rough diamond was meticulously analysed by a master cutter and the best yield was determined, resulting in four polished blue diamonds of notable size. These include a cushion-cut diamond of approximately 7.00 carats, a radiant-cut diamond of approximately 10.30 carats, a pear-shaped diamond of approximately 11.30 carats, and the Cullinan Dream, a cut-cornered rectangular mixed-cut diamond of approximately 24.18 carats.
The Cullinan Dream, named for its captivating and celestial beauty, has been graded by the Gemological Institute of America as a fancy intense blue diamond and classified as Type IIB. Type IIB diamonds are very rare and account for less than a half of one percent of all diamonds found in nature. These diamonds contain a small amount of the element boron trapped in the crystal carbon structure during their formation that can give rise to a blue or grey colouration.
Cullinan is one of the world’s most celebrated mines known for producing rare and famous diamonds – including the world’s largest rough gem ever found, the 3,106-carat Cullinan diamond.
This gem was cut into two highly significant diamonds now found in the Crown Jewels of Her Majesty the Queen of England: The First Star of Africa, which is mounted at the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre and which at 530 carats is the largest flawless cut diamond in the world, and the Second Star of Africa, a 317-carat polished diamond which forms the centrepiece of the Imperial State Crown.
Since Petra Diamonds acquired a majority stake in the mine in 2008, it has produced some of the world’s most significant blue diamonds, including The Blue Moon of Josephine, a 12.03-carat polished stone auctioned at Sotheby’s in November 2015 for US$48.5 million (representing a world record per carat value of over US$4 million). It is the world’s second most expensive cut diamond ever sold at auction.
Petra Diamonds sold the 122.52 rough blue diamond into a cutting and polishing partnership in September 2014 for US$23.5 million. Upon sale of the Cullinan Dream, Petra Diamonds will receive a further 15 percent share in the sales proceeds after expenses.