A new world auction record for any diamond of any colour or any gemstone was set yesterday (Nov 11) when the Blue Moon diamond sold for $48.4m (£32m) at Sotheby’s in Geneva.

The fancy vivid blue 12.03ct stone was purchased by a private collector from Hong Kong, who has renamed the record-breaking jewel The Blue Moon of Josephine, causing speculation that the it is the same buyer who bought the largest vivid pink diamond to be offered at auction for 28.7m Swiss frances (£19m) at Christie’s the day before (Nov 10). This stone was renamed by the buyer The Sweet Josephine.

The prior auction record for any diamond had been held by The Graff Pink (24.78 carats), which sold for $46.2 (£30.4) at Sotheby’s Geneva in 2010.


The exceptional result for The Blue Moon of Josephine importantly marks a new auction record price-per-carat for any diamond or gemstone – surpassing the benchmark established just last year at Sotheby’s New York by The Zoe Diamond, as well as a new auction record price for any jewel.

This is the first time any diamond or gemstone has reached over $4 million per carat. The Blue Moon of Josephine was the star lot in yesterday’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels.

David Bennett, Sotheby’s worldwide chairman jewellery, says:“I am absolutely delighted with this evening’s record result – this show-stopping blue diamond surely is a once-in-a-lifetime stone. I’m also pleased to say that tonight’s sale takes our total in Geneva for this year to an unprecedented 300 million dollars, following our record-breaking sale in May.

“The Blue Moon of Josephine was discovered at the Cullinan Mine, which is owned by Petra Diamonds, and was polished to perfection by Cora International. It now takes its place among the world’s greatest diamonds.”

Seller of the stone, global diamond expert Ehud Laniado, chairman of Cora International LLC, adds: “The Blue Moon diamond, a fancy vivid blue stone, is a true gift of nature. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has graded 400 blue diamonds and only four have been graded vivid blue. So even amongst this extremely rare class of blue diamonds, to find one Vivid Blue diamond which is over 12 carats and internally flawless, really only happens once in a blue moon.

“It took Cora experts five months to assess the rough stone originally unearthed from the Cullinan mine in South Africa. They then created 30 models of the diamond and cut each one differently until they achieved the perfect result. It took three more months to bring the Blue Moon diamond to its ultimate spectacular shape using advanced technology and sophisticated tools. A jeweller has the chance to handle a unique diamond like this only once in a lifetime if they’re lucky and we are thrilled at Cora to have had this opportunity.”