The Bulgari Blue Diamond, the largest triangular Fancy Vivid Blue diamond ever offered at auction, sold for $15.7 million on Wednesday at Christie's New York, setting a new world record for the price paid per carat for such a stone in open bidding.
The price exceeded by a hair the predictions of Christie's Americas Head of Jewelry Rahul Kadakia, who expected the ring to fetch $15 million.
The 10.95 carat blue diamond is set opposite a matching 9.87 carat colorless diamond in a ring purchased in 1972 for $1 million. The record price amounts to $1.5 million per carat.
Kadakia noted in a press release that $1 million in 1972 is "the equivalent of about $5 million today" meaning that the stone "tripled its value in that time, demonstrating the incredible resilience of diamonds in today's volatile economic environment."
Bidding started at $8 million and quickly became a contest between a client in the room and two on the phone, before the gavel fell to a private Asian collector.
The original owner, who bought the ring at the Bulgari flagship store in Rome as a gift for his wife on the birth of their first son, kept it in the family for four decades until yesterday's sale.