June 16th, 2014
An extremely rare — and awesomely beautiful — 122.52-carat blue diamond discovered at Petra Diamonds’ famed Cullinan mine in South Africa could sell for more than $35 million and set a new record, according to gem industry analysts.
Rough blue diamonds larger than 100 carats are some of the most rare and valuable items on the planet. In fact, only three or four have ever been recovered, according to Cathy Mallins, corporate communications manager at Petra Diamonds Ltd.
“The rarity of a blue diamond of this magnitude sets it apart as a truly significant find,” the company said in a statement.
The highest price ever paid for a rough diamond is $35.3 million. That record was accomplished in February 2010 with the sale of a 507-carat white diamond unearthed at the same Cullinan mine. Analyst Martin Potts believes Petra’s newest find can rival or surpass the $35 million mark.
Petra officials have sent the diamond to a lab for analysis. If the color rating comes back “fancy vivid,” the gem could "blow the roof off" the previous record, Potts told the BBC.
The Cullinan mine, which Petra has owned since 2008, has a long and storied history of producing the largest and finest-quality diamonds the world has ever known. The 3,103-carat Cullinan Diamond was discovered there in 1905.
Blue diamonds get their color from small traces of boron trapped in their carbon structure during formation.