This post is part of my World’s Most Expensive series, where we look at the most expensive gemstones that have sold at public auction and when you are looking at multi million dollar Sapphires, you know there are going to be some amazing examples in here!
This post was complied after spending many, many hours checking and re-checking the sales history of two of the most prestigious auction houses in the world, Christie’s and Sotheby’s to make sure that this was the most complete and accurate list around!
I hope you enjoy reading through this list and appreciate the Sapphires that are contained within. When it comes to sale prices, Sapphires are only surpassed by Diamonds and Rubies, which just goes to show how magnificent these examples are!
Before we get on to the top 10 list, there is one very important Sapphire that I feel warrants an honorable mention on this page.
Weight: 62.02 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 11th April 2001
Sale Price USD: $3 Million
The Rockefeller Sapphire was one of the first gemstones to set a world record price in the new millennium.
The gemstone is truly exceptional and would have attracted a lot of attention as the 62.02 carat Burmese Sapphire is one of the finest examples ever to be offered at auction but it is the name attached to the stone that makes it even more desirable.
The Sapphire was bought by the son of the legendary American business tycoon John D Rockefeller. Rockefeller Jr is known for buying some of the world’s finest gemstones and the purchase of this stunning stone from an Indian Maharaja is one of his best.
The history of this Sapphire is amazing and has been in the hands of some of the most influential names in the history of jewelry, including Raymond Yard, Raphael and Ralph Esmerian and none other than Pierre Cartier. It also has the rare distinction of setting a world record price on two occasions, the first in 1988 when it sold for $2.8 Million and then again in 2001 when it sold for $3 Million.
If the Sapphire was to be offered at auction again, it is believed that could once again become the world’s most expensive Sapphire.
Weight: 52.72 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 13th December 2011
Sale Price USD: $5.90 Million
Part of one of the most famous jewelry auctions in history is this 52.72 carat, untreated Burmese Sapphire, which would have attracted much more attention if it hadn’t been for the World Record breaking Emerald that sold in the same auction.
Unlike every other entry on this list, this stunning Sapphire is fashioned as a cabochon, which just makes it even more unique.
The auction in question was that of Hollywood superstar Elizabeth Taylor, which attracted attention from people from all around the world as she was known for having one of the best jewelry collections outside of Royalty and the piece being made by famed jewelry house Bvlgari doesn’t hurt either!
Weight: 27.54 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Geneva, 12th November 2014
Sale Price USD: $5.98 Million
Coming in at number 9 is one of the finest examples of a Kashmir Sapphire!
Weighing over 27 carats, this untreated Kashmir Sapphire is truly exceptional and is set in a simple yet elegant mount, that features two stunning pear-cut diamonds by famed British jewelry house Graff.
This beautiful stone was accompanied by two reports that confirmed just how good this stone is, one was by SSEF and the other by Gubelin who included the following statement in the letter accompanying the report:
“…The natural sapphire of 27.54 ct described in the above mentioned Gübelin Gem Lab Report possesses a richly saturated and homogenous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency, and a finely proportioned cut, in addition, this remarkable gemstone has been spared thermal treatment. Such a combination of characteristics is rare in natural Kashmir sapphires of this size.”
Weight: 43.10 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 8th December 2020
Sale Price USD: $6.03 Million
The most extravagant entry on this list is a stunning Sapphire and Diamond bracelet!
The center stone is a 43.10 carat, ‘Royal Blue’, untreated Kashmir Blue Sapphire, which is more than enough to grab anyone’s attention but the 60+ carats of D-E color, top clarity diamonds don’t hurt either.
This bracelet is accompanied by a selection of reports by world-renowned gem labs SSEF, AGL and Gubelin for the Sapphire and GIA reports for the Diamonds. Unfortunately though, no excerpts from any of the reports were included with the listing.
Weight: 30.23 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Geneva, 12th May 2015
Sale Price USD: $6.1 Million
The second most extravagant piece on this list comes from one of the biggest names in the world of jewelry… Cartier.
Cartier is known for using the world’s best gemstones and this 30-carat, untreated Kashmir Sapphire certainly falls into this category and it is a stunner!
The rest of the piece isn’t really a let down either as it is set with over 40 carats of D and E colored pear and marquise cut diamonds, all of which carry their own GIA reports but the most important is the one from SSEF regarding the Sapphire and included with the appendix of the report is the following statement:
‘The few tiny inclusions found by microscopic examination are the hallmarks of sapphires from the reputed historic deposit in Kashmir, located in a remote part of the Himalayan Mountains in India. The velvety and saturated blue colour of this sapphire is due to very fine and subtle inclusions and a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the gemstone, typical and characteristic for the finest sapphires of Kashmir.’
Weight: 27.68 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 7th October 2015
Sale Price USD: $6.7 Million
If a Sapphire is called the Jewel of Kashmir, you know it is going to be something special and this 27.68 carat, untreated Kashmir Sapphire is most definitely special.
This Sapphire was also accompanied by three reports from three of the world’s most respected gem labs SSEF, Gubelin and AGL, who included the following statement in a letter accompanying the report:
‘this sapphire is ‘described as having a “cornflower blue” hue. The beautiful colour of this sapphire is further enhanced by a square emerald cut fashioning which resulting in deep, internal colour reflections and brilliance that complement the overall visual appearance of the stone, as well as a high clarity that results in a heightened degree of transparency. The soft texturing evident in this lovely gem is just enough to instill a pleasant velvetiness to the colour, without being too strong as to compromise the gem’s transparency…The sapphire received the highest and most prestigious Total Quality Integration RatingTM of Exceptional.’
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 18th May 2011
Sale Price USD: $7.1 Million
The first record breaking Sapphire on this list. In May 2011, the stunning 130.50 carat Burmese Sapphire set a new world record price for a blue sapphire, breaking the previous record by over $3.5 Million.
The antique style of the brooch also adds a certain charm to the piece as unlike many other diamond set pieces on this list, they opted for Rose Cuts, which is not commonly used in modern jewelry styles.
Accompanied by reports from respected gem labs Gubelin and SSEF, both stating that there is no indication of any type of treatment in the stone, SSEF also accompanied their report with a letter that includes the following statement:
‘Its saturated blue colour, poetically referred to as ‘royal blue’, is due to a combination of well balanced trace elements in the stone, typical and characteristic for the finest sapphires of the Mogok gemstone tract’ and that ‘The described sapphire (..) exhibits (..) an outstanding purity’
Weight: 114.73 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Geneva, 13th November 2013
Sale Price USD: $7.1 Million
Unlike the other stones on this list, it was not mounted in any kind of jewelry.
But this fine example of a ‘Royal Blue’ Sapphire exceeded all expectations when it sold for over 2.5 times the highest estimate. and briefly held the world record for the highest price ever paid for a single Sapphire at auction but would be topped later in the same auction by the Richelieu Sapphires.
To this day it remains the most expensive Burmese Sapphire ever sold at auction. Accompanying this stunning Sapphire were reports from Gubelin and SSEF, who both state that the stone is of Burmese origin and shows no indication of heat treatment. The appendix on the SSEF report also contains the following statement:
“Its saturated blue colour, poetically also referred to as ‘royal blue’, is due to a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the gemstone, typical and characteristic for the finest sapphires of Mogok, Burma. This sapphire has been perfectly cut from the rough crystal to show its colour at its best… A natural sapphire from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and exceptional and thus can be considered a true treasure of nature”
Weight: 35.09 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 13th May 2015
Sale Price USD: $7.5 Million
This fine quality Kashmir Sapphire unfortunately has not been named, which is a shame because it deserves to be remembered alongside the Jewel of Kashmir and the Star of Kashmir Sapphires.
Possessing the ever desirable ‘Royal Blue’ or ‘Cornflower Blue’, this 35 carat untreated stone is one of the finest Kashmir Sapphires and while not a record breaker, it is the most expensive single Kashmir Sapphire ever sold at auction.
Accompanied by reports by respected gem labs AGL, SSEF and Gubelin, all of whom confirm that this stunning Sapphire shows no signs of heat treatment. Gubelin also included the following statement on the appendix with their report:
‘this sapphire possesses a richly saturated and homogeneous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency, and finely proportioned cut.’
Weight: 26.66 and 20.88 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Geneva, 13th November 2013
Sale Price USD: $8.3 Million
Matching Sapphires is rare in fine gem quality Sapphires but having matching 20+ carat, untreated Kashmir Sapphires is not far off impossible but that is part of the reason why they set a world record price in 2013.
The $8.3 million sale price beat the previous Sapphire record that was set earlier in the same sale by the Exceptional Oval Blue Sapphire mentioned above.
The Sapphires themselves are truly amazing with them being a combination of Kashmir origin, matching cut, size and rich blue color means they are among the best pairs of Sapphires to ever go to auction. As of the time of writing this post, they are also the most expensive colored gemstone earrings ever to have been sold.
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 11th November 2014
Sale Price USD: $17.5 Million
Sale Price GBP: £11.5 Million
And finally we get to the top spot, held by The Blue Belle of Asia and this gorgeous 392.52 carat smashed the world record price for a Sapphire in November 2014 when it sold for over twice what the previous record holder achieved a year earlier.
At 392 carats, it is one of the largest blue Sapphires in the world and is believed to be the fourth largest in the world. It also boasts excellent color and clarity which makes it one of the finest Ceylon Sapphires in the world.
The report for the Gubelin gem lab also includes and appendix stating that the sapphire ‘..is one of the largest faceted sapphires the Gübelin Gem lab has seen to date and possesses a combination of outstanding characteristics’.
I hope that you enjoyed reading through list of the most expensive Sapphires and it will be interesting to see the Sapphire that manages to take the record away from the Blue Belle.
We would like to thank Christie’s and Sotheby’s for the images that were used in this post. All exchange rates were calculated using the historical charts on xe.com.
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