Next month’s Magnificent Jewels and Nobel Jewels sale by Sotheby’s in Geneva has incredible jewels for sale, including three spectacular diamonds that are on view in London as of Friday, April 6. Two extraordinary white diamonds, each over 50 carats, worth $15 million together, and the Farnese Blue, one of the most important historic diamonds left in private hands, and estimated to take in between $3.69-5.27 million at auction.
The Farnese Blue is a 6.16 carat pear-shaped grey-blue royal diamond that is on the market for the first time, after centuries of ownership through four of Europe’s most important royal families. David Bennett, Chairman of Sotheby’s International Jewelry Division and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland, said: “It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India. This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history, and in color is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope diamond.”
Originally given to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain (1692-1766), as a wedding present following her marriage to King Philip V of Spain, grandson of Louis XIV, King of France. A descendant of Pope Paul III, Elisabeth Farnese’s wedding was celebrated immediately following the War of the Spanish Succession.
“To assemble a suitable dowry for the new queen, the Spanish government sent word to the governors of its colonies from Mexico to the East Indies, ordering them to send wedding presents to Madrid. A year later, in August 1715, the Golden Fleet sailed from Cuba; 12 ships carrying a fortune in gold bullion and casket of enormous emeralds. Unfortunately, after 10 days of sailing, a hurricane destroyed most of the fleet in the Gulf of Florida. Only one ship managed to escape. The story goes that the emeralds were lost in one of the sunken ships. But one diamond found its way to Spain: a pear-shaped blue diamond, gifted to the new Spanish queen by the governor of the Philippine Islands.”
Since then, the diamond has been with the royal families of Spain, France, Italy, and Austria in its 300-year history and traveled across the continent. The existence of the Farnese Blue has been a remarkably well-kept secret, held securely in a royal casket and known about only by the families and the royal jewelers.
According to Dr. Philipp Herzog von Württemberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and managing director of Germany, “With its incredible pedigree, the Farnese Blue ranks among the most important historic diamonds in the world. From the first minute I saw the stone, I could not resist its magic, and as such, it is a huge privilege to have been entrusted with this sale.” The blue shade of the diamond represents the color of royalty in the 17th and 18th centuries and was viewed as the ultimate royal gift.
Members of the public can view the stones on their world tour which began in Hong Kong in March. Upcoming locations include London, New York, Singapore, Taipei, and finally, Geneva, where it will be auctioned off at the inaugural Noble Jewels sale.
For more information on the Farnese Blue and the upcoming Noble Jewels auction, visit the Sotheby’s, website.
Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.