Large green and blue diamonds on display in Hong Kong ahead of auction

HONG KONG, China – A 5.03-carat green diamond, believed to be the largest ever to appear on the market, was the highlight of Christie’s Hong Kong 30th anniversary celebrations on Thursday (March 31).

Called the ‘Aurora Green’ the natural fancy vivid green diamond is expected to fetch between USD 16-20 million when it goes on the block in Kong Kong on May 31.

Christie’s Asia Pacific Chairman, Francois Curiel said green diamonds were the rarest coloured diamonds and this was the biggest he had come across in his career.

“Another great diamond we are going to sell is a 5-carat green diamond. Green diamonds are probably the rarest of all coloured diamonds. And there’s never been such a big stone like this sold on the market, there’s never been such a big green diamond on the market that I know of, and I’ve been in the business for about 46 years. And it is estimated about three million dollar (USD) per carat, so about 15 million US dollars,15 to 16 million US dollars. Just by comparison, a 5-carat white diamond would be worth 80,000 dollars per carat. So 80,000 dollars per carat, three million dollars per carat, it shows you the difference between green, very, very rare green and white,” said Curiel.

Highlights of their upcoming Hong Kong, Geneva and New York auctions were also previewed at their new gallery in the heart of the financial district, including a 14.62-carat blue diamond ring called the ‘Oppenheimer Blue’.

Christie’s said it is the largest fancy vivid blue diamond ever to be offered at auction and is expected to fetch between US38-45 million in Geneva on May 18.

Global financial turmoil and a softening of the Chinese economy, which in previous years helped bouy the art market, has led some to ask if the auction industry will suffer.

Curiel said that in the past few years Asia made up 30 percent of all of Christie’s global sales and judging from recent auctions in the region, he had no reason to believe this year would be different.

“Well at the moment we’ve had a few sales here in Asia, two sales in Hong Kong, which had very high percentage sold. More than 80 percent, the key indicator for us, and purchased by Asian customers. So so far, the market, what I read in the paper, what I read in magazine, hasn’t affected the art market in Asia. I have no doubt to say that this 30 percent (Asian sales at Christie’s) will be the same in 2016 or even higher,” said Curiel.

Highlights of the New York impressionist and modern art evening on May 12 also included two works by Claude Monet, ‘La Bassin aux nympheas’ and ‘Au Petit-Gennevilliers’ estimated to fetch up to USD 35 million and USD 18 million respectively.

A painting by Pablo Picasso, ‘Homme Assis’, estimated to make USD 12 million and ‘Madame de Galea a la meridienne’ by Pierre-Auguste Renoir for USD 12 million.