One of the largest blue diamonds ever found ‒ weighing in at 122.53 carats (cts.) ‒ was unveiled this week by Petra Diamonds, owner of the historic Cullinan Mine in South Africa, a 111-year-old mine that has produced some of the most famous diamonds in history.
Petra said the stone would be sold after it has “analyzed the diamond to assess its potential value…and… its optimal route to market.”
The Cullinan, opened in 1903, produced the largest diamond ever found, the 3,106 ct. Cullinan diamond, which was cut into the 550 ct. Cullinan I that remains the centerpiece of the British Crown jewels. The mine has produced more than 750 diamonds larger than 100 cts. and a number of renowned fancy colored diamonds, including the Heart of Eternity, a 27 ct. Fancy Vivid blue that was part of De Beers’ Millennial collection. Petra acquired the Cullinan Mine from De Beers in 2008.
ROUGH PRICES: De Beers held the line on prices at the June 10-13 sight, which totaled about $650 million. The sight was slightly larger than expected because rough demand has been rising, including for more goods that will polish out to lower quality stones. (See Las Vegas show report below).
Dealers report that premiums for De Beers goods in the rough after-market was a healthy 5-8%, which is enough to make a profit, but did not reach the inflated, speculative levels of last year. Dealers believe this was a good sign that the banks’ tighter credit policies are finally curbing speculative rough buying.
Alrosa, the marketing agency for Russia’s diamond production, raised prices of its rough diamonds 2-3% during its sale the same week. Reports from tender sales also indicate that buyers were purchasing rough for their manufacturing needs and not speculation, which has resulted in prices much closer to the market.