On April 5, Sotheby’s Hong Kong garnered $31.8 million for the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 (pictured, right), a world record price for a diamond in Asia.
The oval-shape 10.1 ct. internally flawless fancy vivid blue diamond’s price came out to $3.1 million per ct. The final price, while still substantial, was toward the lower end of its $30 million–$35 million estimate.
It is just one of a number of blue diamonds to hit the auction block recently:
- In November 2015, the 12.03 ct. internally flawless fancy vivid Blue Moon sold for $48.5 million, a world record for any diamond.
- The Shirley Temple Blue, a 9.54 ct. fancy deep blue worn by the actress, will be auctioned at the Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels sale on April 19 in New York.
- On May 18, Christie’s will auction the 14.62 ct. fancy vivid Oppenheimer Blue. Its estimate is $38 million– $45 million.
The De Beers Millennum Jewel 4 is known for nearly being snatched while on display in London’s Millennium Dome in a famed failed heist. On Nov. 7, 2000, a gang of theives drove a bulldozer past a security guard, donned gas masks, and set off smoke bombs, intending to bash through the display cases with hammers, snatch the jewels, and escape on speedboats waiting on the nearby Thames River. It would have been the largest jewel heist in history.
According to histories of the event, the gang was already under surveillance by police because of two attempted heists. Thanks to a tip, police noted gang members repeatedly visiting the Dome during high tide on the Thames. From that point forward, police flooded the Dome with policemen on days of high tide. The day of the robbery, the Dome replaced the jewels with fakes and police were waiting. The men ended up trapped in the Dome vault and were easily overpowered without any shots being fired.