Shirley Temple’s Big Blue Diamond Fails to Sell

AuctionsApr 20, 2016

Shirley Temple’s Big Blue Diamond Fails to Sell

The 9.54-carat fancy deep blue stone that once belonged to “America’s Little Darling” didn’t find a buyer at Sotheby’s New York Tuesday.

At its sale held Tuesday in New York, Sotheby’s did not find a buyer for Shirley Temple’s 9.54-carat fancy deep blue diamond set on a platinum Art Deco-inspired band.

New York--Though big blue diamonds have been setting records in the auction world as of late, it looks like there’s one that will have to wait a little longer to find a buyer.

The 9.54-carat fancy deep blue, potentially internally flawless, VVS2 clarity diamond ring long owned by American child actress-turned-ambassador Shirley Temple failed to find a buyer when it hit the auction block Tuesday night at Sotheby’s New York.

The cushion-modified brilliant-cut diamond was estimated to garner between $25 million to $35 million.

The failed sale of Shirley Temple blue follows the sales of the 10.10-carat oval-shaped fancy vivid blue De Beers Millennium Jewel 4 ($31.8 million) and the record-breaking 12.03-carat fancy vivid Blue Moon diamond ($48.5 million) and precedes the offer of another astounding blue stone, the 14.62-carat fancy vivid Oppenheimer Blue, which some believe could eclipse the $48.5 million sale of the Blue Moon.

After the stone failed to find a buyer, Sotheby’s issued a statement about the sale: “The Shirley Temple Blue Diamond is an exceptional stone in quality, rarity and provenance. It has been an honor to share its story with collectors, connoisseurs and Temple’s loyal fans over the past few months. Unfortunately, tonight wasn’t its night in the salesroom, but we remain fully confident that it will find a buyer.”

Temple’s father bought the ring for her for $7,210 in early 1940 (the equivalent of about $125,000 today), around the time of her 12th birthday and the premiere of her film The Blue Bird.

When it announced the sale of the Shirley Temple diamond in March Sotheby’s said that the movie might have inspired his purchase of a blue diamond more than the stone’s perceived rarity or value, as colored diamonds were not as coveted at that time as they are in today’s market.

The ring stayed in Temple’s possession until her death in 2014 and was offered in its original Art Deco-inspired setting, flanked by four rows of baguette diamonds.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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