The blue diamond of Shirley Temple for sale in Geneva
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New York jeweler Windsor Jewelers has chosen to present the famous Diamond Shirley Temple Blue Bird, which belonged to the child star, at the GemGeneva fair held in Geneva from 9 to 11 May. This extremely rare deep blue diamond has been slightly resized to give it more depth and value. An inestimable collector's item. - Isabelle Cerboneschi.
When you are willing to spend tens of millions buying a diamond, it can play on our heart strings. The stone must answer above all the four criteria of paramount evaluation: the size, the weight, the purity and the colour of the stone. Its origin and history also play a role in estimating its value. The diamond Blue Bird checks all these boxes.
It is neither its cushion size nor its weight - 9,30 carats - which gives it its uniqueness, but its colour and its purity: the Blue Bird is a diamond that is "Deep Blue flawless". Its intense colour and purity are rare. "Only 0,02% of the world's diamonds are blue and 5% of these blue diamonds have this Deep Blue deep hue. This means that of all the diamonds in the world, only 0.00001% have this "Deep Blue" hue, says Logan Gough of Windsor Jewellers.
A hue like this is the result of a magic trick of Mother Nature. All the circumstances necessary to create a blue diamond are unique. "For a natural Deep Blue diamond to be created, extremely rare geological conditions are required: a high degree of boron and a very low nitrogen content. The stone that belonged to Shirley Temple being "flawless", its color comes only from the geological conditions that led to its existence and the way the diamond absorbs light, "says Logan Gough.
This blue diamond weighed exactly 9,54 carats and had tiny inclusions (VVS), when in December 1940, George Temple offered it to his daughter, set in an art deco ring, to celebrate the premiere of the movie Blue Bird. Shirley Temple was then twelve years old. She wore it and cherished it until it disappeared, the 10 February 2014. In 2016, the estate put the stone on sale at Sotheby's for an estimated price between 25 and 35 million, but it was not sold.
The New York jeweller, Windsor Jewellers, who had perceived the full potential of this diamond, spoke with the family. "We wanted to buy it both for its history and also because we thought we could improve its colour," says Avi Fattal, director of Windsor Jewellers.
The story of this rare stone is part of the American myth. The beloved child-star of America was young: at age three she entered the Meglin's Dance School in Los Angeles and a year later, she began an acting career. In 1934 she was engaged by the Fox Film Corporation (which will become the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation). Shirley Temple was only twenty years old when she ended her career. The second part of her life was family and politics: in 1969 Richard Nixon named her a delegate of the United States to the United Nations. From 1974 to 1976, she was the US ambassador to Ghana, then Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. She died at the age of 85.
"In the United States, Shirley Temple was an icon," says Avi Fattal. She embodied something charming and positive at a time when the country was going through difficult times. She brought her smile, her light. His name does not represent the same thing today compared to the time
where she was the darling child of America, but every time you have to deal with an important diamond, knowing its history, its provenance increases the interest of potential buyers. For a collector who would like something unique, special, to acquire this diamond is to offer a piece of the story of the one that brought so much happiness to a country. "
The Blue Bird was put on sale by Shirley Temple's son, Charles Alden Black Jr. on behalf of the estate. "It was surprising to see how excited the family was about the provenance of the stone: in general, during such a sale, the relatives are quite discreet and that is understandable," says Avi Fattal. "Charles Black wanted us to know that his mother was wearing this diamond at every important event," says Paul Lubetsky, founder of Windsor Jewelers. It was his favorite jewel, especially since his favorite color was blue. She wore it when she was named ambassador of the United States, and also when she received the Academy Award. It would be a movie actor, a friend of the family, who believed in the mystical value of the stones, and in their investment value, that would have given Shirley Temple the taste of diamonds and which may have blown the idea to his father to offer him the Blue Bird.
"It's the most beautiful blue diamond I've ever seen," says the director, "and when I saw the stone, I did not know the whole story it was carrying. Its color is unique, it has a very saturated color. In general, with colored diamonds, jewelers try to enhance their hue through the frame or other ways. Deep-colored diamonds are the rarest. "
When the New York jewellers bought the Blue Bird, they took a risk in re-cutting it slightly: the stone lost some weight in the operation - it is now 9,30 carats - but it has gained purity. It's a flawless diamond that will be presented at the show GemGenève show . "It was a difficult decision to make because the risk is great and all the more so for a diamond of this size: anything can happen when polishing a diamond," says Avi Fattal. We can lose everything. The decision was not taken lightly: we consulted the American Institute of Gemology (GIA), some of the largest gemologists and tailors. The colour of a blue diamond may change even if minor changes are made to the faceting because it changes the way the light enters the stone and is reflected. But we were delighted with the result because the colour was intensified as well as its purity ".
The origin of this diamond is not exactly known, but it could very well come from the Golconda mines, like the other two most famous blue diamonds, the Hope and the Wittelsbach-Graff. "Indeed, it presents the same phosphorescence reactions as these two other blue diamonds that were extracted from the Golconda mines," says Avi Fattal.
In October 2016, the GIA described the Shirley Temple Blue Bird: "Deep blue diamonds are very rare, especially with pieces above 5 carats. When the quality of the colour is combined with the elegance of the cushion size, the visual experience is truly unique. " A must see.
GemGeneve, Palexpo Hall 7 (hall entrance 5), from 9 to 12 May 2019.