A Look at the Most Valuable Bulgari Gem Ever Sold

This ultra rare blue diamond is estimated to sell for over $25 million

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Sotheby’s auction house has announced it will auction the Bulgari Laguna Blu, a natural blue diamond mounted in a ring and sold by Bulgari in 1970. It is the most valuable piece ever sold by Bulgari and is considered a rarity three times over. The diamond is an 11.16-carat natural ‘fancy vivid blue,’ the highest and rarest color grade for a blue diamond given by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). While the diamond itself is among the rarest on Earth, being mounted by Bulgari further increases its value. The third significant rarity factor is that the Bulgari Laguna Blu is unseen since its original acquisition in 1970, and its cut has been unmodified. The unveiling of the masterpiece will take place on fashion’s biggest stage, The Met Gala, and will then head to Sotheby’s Geneva, where it will headline the Luxury Week sale in mid-May. 

Olivier Wagner, Head of Jewellery at Sotheby’s Geneva, says, “The Bulgari Laguna Blu is an extraordinary gem in every way. At 11.16 carats, this unmodified pear-shaped blue diamond has received the highest grade for a blue diamond by the Gemological Institute of America, acknowledging its mesmerizing color and hue. This true wonder of nature was selected by Bulgari, the prestigious Roman Jewellery Maison, over fifty years ago to create a ring for a discerning private collector who has kept it ever since. The Bulgari Laguna Blu diamond is bound to become the object of any collector’s dream, and we are delighted that it will be first premiered at the always highly anticipated Met Gala’s red carpet.” The Laguna Blu was worn at the 2023 Met Gala by Bulgari’s global Ambassador, Priyanka Chopra.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Any blue diamond is among the most elusive natural color diamonds on the planet. Blue diamonds are not just created by the forces of nature that form other natural diamonds. Rather, they are born out of an even more fortuitous happenstance – the presence of the trace element boron within the diamond’s carbon structure during its formation deep within the Earth, much deeper than where most other diamonds form. Blue diamonds of any size are incredibly rare, but those that surpass 10 carats are unfathomably rare. A blue diamond that qualifies as Fancy Vivid, the brightest and most sought-after hue a blue diamond can exhibit, and exceeds 10 carats in weight is jaw-dropping. Fewer than ten comparable diamonds have surfaced at auction houses worldwide over the last few decades. ‘The De Beers Blue,’ at 15.10 carats, sold for over $56 million, and the ‘Blue Moon of Josephine,’ at 12.03 carats, sold for over $48 million. 

This exceptional diamond was originally mounted as a ring by Bulgari for a very special commission from the original owner in 1970. At that time, Bulgari was already basking in the glow of its high-profile clientele, which included legendary icons like Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Anita Ekberg, and Sophia Loren, just to name a few. Bulgari was already known for its daring use of color, blending precious and colored stones in bold and unexpected ways. And the Laguna Blu was no exception. The jeweler mounted this unmodified diamond into an elegantly pared-down ring that allowed the stone to shine in all its glory, showcasing the brand’s ability to maximize the natural beauty of an exceptional diamond. Maybe most impressively, the Laguna Blu has remained in the same family since its original commission in 1970, meaning that it has only been seen by a select few since its creation. Also, with diamond-cutting technology much improved in the fifty years since this diamond was cut, this unmodified stone may still have some hidden potential waiting to be unleashed. 

The Bulgari Laguna Blu is estimated to sell for over $25 million and is part of a wider collection by the same consignor, which includes another two white diamonds signed Bulgari, from the same early 1970s period, a pear-shaped diamond weighing 12.08 carats, and a step-cut diamond weighing 18.78 carats. The collection is completed by a fourth piece, signed Pederzani, a pear-shaped white diamond weighing 8.33 carats. They will be exhibited at the Mandarin Oriental in Geneva from May 11, ahead of their sale during Sotheby’s Luxury Week between May 12 to May 16.