The largest Vivid Blue diamond ever to appear at auction has sold for $57.5 million. The 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue easily outstripped the last record-holder for ‘most expensive blue diamond;’ the esteemed position was last held by the 12.03-carat ‘Blue Moon’ diamond which sold last November for $48.4 million. The rectangular-cut ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ went to auction on May 18th with an estimated worth of $46.1 million. The bidding began at 30 million Swiss francs and continued at an agonizing pace punctuated by long pauses and nervous laughter. Obviously the bidders were conscious of the importance of the moment and the significance of the precious gem up for grabs. The ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ was named after its previous owner, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, a famous diamond dealer and racehorse owner.

The Oppenheimer Blue is just the latest in a line of historic blue diamonds that have been auctioned off at Christie’s. In 1983 the auction house sold a blue diamond ring that had been worn by Marie-Antoinette. The popularity of these gems continues to grow, in part due to their historical significance and beauty, but mainly due to their scarcity. According to François Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Asia Pacific and China, “Blue diamonds have gained a wider following, not only because they are stunning, but because there are so few of them available in the world.”