Historic diamond, ‘The Farnese Blue’, will appear on the market for the first time in its history this spring, after having remained in the same family for over three centuries.
Given to Elisabeth Farnese the Queen of Spain, on a diadem that formerly belonged to Marie-Antoinette, the diamond has subsequently passed down through four of the most important royal families in Europe: Spain, France, Italy and Austria.
Witness to 300 years of European history, the diamond has travelled across the continent in a royal casket. Excepting close relatives, and of course the family jewellers, no one knew of its existence.
The 6.16-carat pear shaped blue diamond will be offered in Sotheby’s sale of Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels in Geneva on 15 May 2018 with an estimate of CHF 3.5 – 5 million (£2.6m – £3.7m).
David Bennett, co-chairman of Sotheby’s Switzerland, said: “It is difficult to put into words the excitement of holding between thumb and forefinger a gem discovered centuries ago, knowing it originated in the legendary Golconda diamond mines of India. This stone has witnessed 300 years of European history, and in colour is reminiscent of historic Golconda blue gems such as the Hope diamond.”
Dr Philipp Herzog von Württemberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and managing director of Germany added: “With its incredible pedigree, the Farnese Blue ranks among the most important historic diamonds in the world. From the first minute I saw the stone, I could not resist its magic and as such it is a huge privilege to have been entrusted with this sale.”