Rare Farnese blue diamond from India's Golconda mines sold for $6.7 million

LONDON: A rare pear-shaped blue diamond, originating from the Golconda mines in India, passed between Europe’s royal houses for more than 300 years, has been sold at auction for a whopping $6.7 million.

Known as the Farnese Blue, the 6.16-carat jewel surpassed pre-auction estimates after going under the hammer yesterday for the first time at Sotheby’s Geneva.

The fancy dark grey-blue diamond takes its name from the second wife of King Philip V of Spain, Elisabeth Farnese, who received it as a wedding gift in 1715.

Over the next three centuries, the jewel was passed down to through generations of her descendants, which — due to marriages between European houses — saw it join the royal families of France, Italy and Austria.

The historic diamond was exhibited in London, New York, Singapore and Taipei, before arriving in Geneva ahead of yesterday’s auction, CNN reported.

The winning bid, made by an as-yet-unidentified buyer, exceeded pre-sale estimates, which had valued the item at between $3.7 and $5.3 million, it said.

Speaking after the sale, Daniela Mascetti, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Jewellery Europe and Senior International Specialist, said: “The Farnese Blue is quite simply an unforgettable diamond, and everyone who set their eyes on it was mesmerised by its extraordinary colour: the rich blue of the deepest ocean.

“As was evidenced by the competition between bidders, the response from collectors has matched our own excitement for this diamond,” Mascetti said.

At one point in history, the Farnese Blue is thought to have appeared on a diamond tiara belonging to Marie Antoinette.

The diamond was one of a number of high-profile jewels featured in yesterday’s auction. Among them was a round diamond ring, weighing 51.71 carats, that sold for $9.2 million, and a 50.39-carat oval diamond ring that went for $8.1 million.

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