Q&A: Andrew Coxon, De Beers

De Beers Diamond Institute president Andrew Coxon

De Beers Diamond Institute president reminisces about a unique diamond

As the first De Beers Millennium Blue diamond to go under the hammer since the collection was sold to private investors at the turn of the century sells for an above-estimate £4.1 million, De Beers Diamond Institute president Andrew Coxon talks about the stone that he personally helped to transform from a rough rock into an exceptional diamond.

What is it about the Millennium Blue diamond that made it exceed its pre-auction estimate by £300,000?
“The magic allure of De Beers selected diamonds never ceases to work wonders. Impeccable provenance is worth millions to sophisticated diamond buyers. The timeless beauty of a De Beers selected Millennium Blue diamond will be remembered long after its near record-setting price has been forgotten.”

Would you have liked the diamond to come back to De Beers?
“Personally, I wish I could have bought it back for De Beers, but professionally speaking, I sincerely congratulate the new owners and I am happy that the new owners appreciated this particular De Beers selected diamond. They share our taste in diamonds.”

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You worked with Steinmetz to ensure the stones were cut and polished to perfection – tell us about the process.
“Working closely with the diamond polishing firm of Steinmetz, and after careful study and planning over a six-month period, the rough diamonds were carefully divided and polished to maximise their colour, brilliance and beauty. Each rough diamond was carefully examined to ensure that the ultimate polished gem would exhibit not only the rarest natural vivid blue colour of the diamond, but also the maximum sparkle and brilliance that makes the best diamonds truly exceptional and beautiful. ”

Many models were made before the rough diamonds were eventually cut and polished, why was this?
“This sacrifice was made because the quality of the stone was much poorer than the colour and therefore required delicate laser sawing into six individual stones. The largest being the 27ct Heart of Eternity and the second smallest was indeed this very 5.16ct vivid blue pear-shaped diamond, which has now been placed in the auction.”

As the smallest stone, did the diamond lose a lot of weight during the polishing process?
“It was the only polished stone from the whole six which was awarded the quality grade of internally flawless. The high loss of weight suggested to me that the cutter just kept on polishing until the pear shape was perfect, but I did not complain as the result was simply stunning.”

Why is it that blue diamonds are so rare?
“Exceptional vivid blue diamonds are a wonder of nature and only found very occasionally. No more than two a year.”

Will the diamond hold its value?
“The outlook for prices remains very strong, as once a private collector owns such a treasure he rarely ever wants to part with it. A point which is underlined by the fact that in 10 years this is the first De Beers Millennium Blue ever to be offered at auction.”

What do you look for in the perfect diamond?
“We reject many more diamonds than we select because we highly value visual excitement; the fire, life and brilliance of a well-cut polished diamond is unique. The most important factor is not only how good a diamond looks on its diamond laboratory report, but more the way it excites your eye, brain and heart. Too many diamonds have been cut to obtain the best grading report rather than the greatest possible beauty.”

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