Legendary Sapphires: The Blue Belle of Asia April 27 2017
The Blue Belle of Asia is one of the world’s most legendary sapphires and it earned the title of the most expensive blue sapphire once it was sold in Christie’s Geneva in November 2014. The initial bid price of 6,650,00 Swiss Francs (approximately $6.9 million) was elevated to the final realized price of 16,965,000 Swiss Francs ($17,564,156) as it was sold to a private collector who remains unidentified to this day.
The Blue Belle of Asia features a 392.52-carat untreated cushion cut sapphire from Ceylon. Its suspended on a brilliant cut diamond tassel pendant and mounted on a diamond and white gold necklace. Gemstones of over 100 carats are often featured in many articles but the quality and size of this sapphire make comparisons very difficult to find. The depths of its captivating deep blue prism are enough to capture any gaze and was highly coveted during the auction filled with enthusiastic private collectors and professional traders mainly from the Middle East.
This natural gemstone was first discovered in 1926 in Ratnapura, “The City of Gems” situated in Sri Lanka. It was owned by a well-known gem and jewelry dealer in Colombo by the name of Macan Markar who established the famous firm, O.L.M. Macan Markar in 1860. With clientele ranging from members of the British Royal family such as HM King George V, Markar described this gemstones as one of his most cherished as it possessed the ‘highly prized peacock blue color and excellent clarity’. After its original cut and polish, the Blue Belle of Asia held approximately 400 carats and was sold to the Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motors Limited in 1937.
The reasons behind the purchase of the Blue Belle of Asia by Lord Nuffield were quite mysterious. The reported intent was to present it to HM Queen Elizabeth during her coronation on the 12th of May in 1937 but it subsequently ‘disappeared’ into private hands for the next 35 years. It had been reported to be examined by the Swiss-based gem dealer, Theodore Horovitz in the 1970s but it continued to change hands behind closed curtains and reappeared for sale under a large estate collection of a Saudi collector in 2014.
Sapphire to the extent of this size, color and clarity are incredibly rare and rank as one of the most prestigious gemstones to ever become available in the market. Rahul Kadakia, the International Head of Christie’s Jewelry Department, stated that they are ‘extremely proud that the Blue Belle of Asia established a new world record for any sapphire sold at an auction’ and added that ‘the private collector, seated in this room, is now the new owner of the most valuable sapphire in the world’ without identifying the buyer. The beauty and mystery surrounding this sapphire is captivating and we are patiently awaiting its next reappearance in the public eye.