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In early December, the Pantone Color Institute named “Classic Blue” as its color of the year for 2020. It was the second time that a bluish hue had been chosen, following the selection of Cerulean in 2000. 

For those who cannot differentiate between the two, Pantone explained that Cerulean is the color of the sky during the day, while Classic Blue is the color of the sky just as the day ends.

The event is not without significance. Members of a range of business sectors, with the fashion industry being the most prominent among them, await the Pantone announcement with anticipation, for it will set trends for consumers over the course of the coming year.

For the jewelry industry, while subject is hardly insignificant, the declaration of a color of the year is more problematic, because those who deal in gemstones of a different hue are unlikely to close up shop. But for those who are lucky enough to have their gem color of choice selected, the Pantone announcement comes as good news.


Serendipitously, auction houses are putting a number of large fancy blue diamonds on the block. Already in November, the top lot at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale was 7.03-carat fancy deep blue diamond mounted on a platinum ring by london high jewelry house, Moussaieff. The blue rectangular-cut gem with VVS2 clarity had an estimated sales price of million to million. It sold for more than $11.6 million, which was in excess of $1.6 million per carat.

In December, Phillips’ New York Jewels auction will be headlined by a Tiffany & Co. fancy intense diamond and platinum ring, with its centerpiece being a 3.02-carat fancy intense blue, cut-cornered square modified brilliant-cut. Its price estimate is $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

Also in December, Sotheby’s New York Magnificent Jewels sale will be headlined by the “The Indian Blue,” a Type IIb, 7.55-carat SI2 cushion-cut fancy deep grayish fancy blue diamond ring with shield diamond side stones. It is expected to sell for between $6 and $8 million.

The 7.03-carat fancy deep blue diamond mounted on a platinum ring by Moussaieff, which sold for $11.6 million at Christie’s in Geneva in November 2019.

The Indian Blue displays red phosphorescence, similar to the Hope Diamond, which is also from India, and the Blue Moon, mined in South Africa, which set a world auction record price-per-carat for a diamond or gemstone when it sold for $48.5 million in 2015.

The 20.08-carat blue rough diamond discovered by Petra at the Cullinan mine in South Africa, which was sold in December for $14.9 million.


It’s not only polished blue diamonds that are vying for attention. So are rough blue stones.

South Africa’s Petra Diamonds has just announced that it has sold a 20.08-carat blue precious rock which was discovered in September at its Cullinan mine near Pretoria. The stone went for $14.9 million, or about $741,000 per carat.

Petra said that the “exceptional” blue gem quality diamond, was purchased by a “leading diamond company” that wishes to remain anonymous.

“We are very pleased with this result which is in line with our expectations and confirms the resilience in the value of very high-quality blue diamonds, undoubtedly one of nature’s rarest treasures,” CEO Richard Duffy said. “We look forward to following this exceptional stone’s journey to its polished form.”

Located at the foothills of the Magaliesberg mountain range, the Cullinan mine earned its place in history in 1905 – when it was known as the Premier mine and operated by De Beers – with the discovery of the Cullinan diamond, which at 3,106 carats is the largest rough gem diamond ever found. It was cut into the two most important diamonds in the British Crown Jewels in the Tower of london – the First Star of Africa, which is mounted at the top of the Sovereign’s Scepter and weighs 530 carats, and the Second Star of Africa, the 317-carat centerpiece of the Imperial State Crown.

Cullinan has also produced a number of other large fancy blue diamonds. In 2014, Petra discovered a 29.6-carat blue diamond, which it sold a year later as the 12.03-carat “Blue Moon” diamond for $48.5 million. It then set world record price per carat for any diamond at the time.