LONDON: The historically important Farnese Blue diamond, which was passed down through European royal families for some 300 years, is to go on sale for the first time next month, auctioneers Sotheby’s said.
Expected to fetch between $3.7 and 5.3 million, the 6.1 carat, dark grey-blue stone from the Golconda diamond mines of India was first given to Elisabeth Farnese, daughter of the Duke of Parma, in 1715 when she married Philip V of Spain.
It was passed down through more than seven generations and, as their descendants married into other European families, it traveled from Spain to France, Italy and Austria.
“All this time, it was hidden away in a royal jewelry box. Except for close relatives, and of course the family jewelers, no one knew about its existence,” Sotheby’s said.
Apart from that, two flawless white diamonds each weighing in at more than 50 carats are expected to fetch more than $15 million at the same auction.
The diamonds, a 51.71 carat round brilliant-cut gemstone and a 50.39 carat oval, are the second-largest of their respective kinds ever to come to auction, Sotheby’s said.
The sale of the gemstones, discovered and purchased at tender in Botswana, comes after a 102 carat white diamond sold to an undisclosed buyer in February far exceeded the price paid per carat for any colourless diamond at auction, according to auctioneers, who did not reveal the price paid.
The record price previously paid was for a 118 carat diamond sold in Hong Kong in 2013, which fetched $260,000 a carat.
All three of the diamonds are scheduled to be auctioned in Geneva in May.