Fans of magnificent gemstones will be talking about 2015 for a long time. It was the year that produced a cavalcade of record-breakers, including the world's most expensive gemstone and an amazing rough diamond that weighed a staggering 1,111 carats.
Here's our review of the gemstones that lit up 2015...
• In November, the much-ballyhooed Blue Moon diamond set an all-time record for the highest price ever paid at auction for a gemstone when Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau captured the coveted 12.03-carat gem for a jaw-dropping $48.5 million at Sotheby’s Geneva. He renamed the stone “The Blue Moon of Josephine” in honor of his young daughter.
• Only one day earlier, Lau was at rival Christie’s Geneva bidding on a rare cushion-shaped 16.08-carat pink diamond. He eventually purchased the gem for $28.5 million ($1.7 million per carat), setting an auction record for any vivid pink diamond. Lau named the stone, you guessed it, "Josephine."
• Also in November, Lucara announced the discovery of a 1,111-carat rough diamond — the largest gem-quality diamond recovered in more than 100 years. Second in size only to the Cullinan diamond, which was unearthed in 1905 and weighed 3,106.75 carats, the 1,111-carat Type IIa diamond extracted from Lucara’s Karowe Mine in Botswana is about the size of a tennis ball and weighs nearly a half pound.
• In December, the Crimson Flame, a 15-carat pigeon’s blood Burmese ruby, set a new record when it sold for $18 million at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Hong Kong. The gem established a new per-carat price record for a ruby at $1.2 million. The gem was billed as "the most important pigeon’s-blood ruby to come to auction in Asia.”
• In May, the Sunrise Ruby obliterated two auction records at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in Geneva. With a hammer price of $30.4 million, the 25.59-carat, pigeon’s-blood Sunrise Ruby set a new auction mark for the highest price ever paid for a ruby. It also had established a new high water mark for the highest price-per-carat ever paid at auction for a ruby, a record that was broken seven months later by the Crimson Flame.
• Also in May, a 35.09-carat Kashmir sapphire set a new record at Christie’s Geneva when it fetched $7.4 million — crushing the pre-sale high estimate of $4.3 million. Displaying the velvety blue hue of a peacock’s neck feathers, the gem’s per-carat selling price of $209,689 established a new record for a Kashmir sapphire.
Credits: Sotheby's; Christie's; Lucara.