Pink diamond sells for a record R324m at auction

Geneva – A rare pink diamond smashed the world auction record for a

jewel yesterday, selling for more than $46 million (R324 million) to a

well-known gem dealer.


London jeweller Laurence Graff paid $46 158 674 for the 24.78-carat

“fancy intense pink” diamond, which he immediately named “The Graff Pink”.


“It is the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in the history of my

career and I’m delighted to have bought it,” Graff said in a statement released

by auction house Sotheby’s.


The sale price was almost double the $24.3 million achieved by the

blue 35.56-carat Wittelsbach-Graff diamond in 2008.

That was also bought by

Graff.


“This is the highest price ever bid for a jewel at auction,” said

David Bennett, the head of Sotheby’s jewellery division, as the auction room in

Geneva’s luxury Beau Rivage hotel erupted into applause.


Graff raised eyebrows when he had the blue diamond recut after

purchase. Purists considered it an act of vandalism against a unique object.


It wasn’t immediately known whether he planned to alter the pink

diamond, which Sotheby’s says has a flaw unnoticeable to the naked eye but may

be graded as internally flawless after repolishing.


Sotheby’s said it sold jewels worth $105.1 million yesterday, also

a world record for a single sale.


The auction included items once belonging to Christina Onassis, the

daughter of the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and Cristina Ford, the

second wife of Henry Ford’s grandson, Henry Ford II.


“I think this tells you a bit about the health of the market,”

Bennett told reporters after the sale.


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