On Tuesday evening, May 15, the hammer fell at a staggering $6.7 million at Sotheby’s auction house in Geneva for the extraordinary and magnificent Farnese Blue diamond. The sparkling pear-shaped diamond weighs 6.16 carats and is encircled by a crown of cushion-shaped diamonds. The Fancy Dark Grey-Blue gemstone had been in private hands for over three hundred years, hidden away inside the jewelry boxes of European kings and queens alike.
The exquisite diamond symbolizes the history and legacy of the European nobility, as the Farnese Blue is named after Elisabeth Farnese, wife of King Philip V and Queen of Spain. The first historical record of this illustrious diamond is dated approximately 1714, the year French prince Philip V married Italian princess Elisabeth and bestowed this one-of-a-kind stone on her as a wedding present.
Elisabeth, whose father was the Duke of Parma, had a small estate, and, as Spain’s finances were in a strapped at the time, the government ordered the individual Spanish colonies to send wedding gifts to Madrid in order to provide a dowry for the new queen. Twelve ships from Cuba filled with gold bullion and emeralds were sailing back to Spain, but were tragically intercepted by a hurricane that destroyed the entire fleet, save one ship. Unfortunately, all the emeralds in cargo were lost with the sunken ships. Fortunately, one soon-to-be legendary blue diamond made its way back to the new Spanish Queen.
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