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'Pink Star' diamond sells for world record $83 million - Sotheby's

Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, David Bennett (L) conducts the auction of the 'Pink Star' diamond on November 13.
Fabrice Coffrini | AFP| Getty Images
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, David Bennett (L) conducts the auction of the 'Pink Star' diamond on November 13.

The "Pink Star", a huge flawless pink diamond, sold for 76.3 million Swiss francs ($83.02 million) including commission fees in Geneva on Wednesday, a world record price for a gemstone at auction, Sotheby's said.

The oval-shaped diamond, mounted on a ring, weighed in at 59.60 carats. It was bought by a man bidding in the room, who told reporters that he was buying it on behalf of an anonymous person whom he represented, and would not give his own name.

"Ladies and gentlemen, 68 million (Swiss francs) is the world record bid for a diamond ever bid and it's right here," Sotheby's David Bennett said to applause as he brought down the hammer in the Geneva salesroom.

Sotheby's said the final sale price included the "buyer's premium", or commission fees.

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The Pink Star was the star lot at Sotheby's semi-annual jewelry sale in Geneva, held in a heavily-guarded hotel showroom, which followed strong Hong Kong auctions last month.

Bennett, noting that its pre-sale estimate was $61 million, told reporters: "It surpassed our estimate. It's a large amount of money in itself but I don't think this stone has a price."

The previous record was held by the "Graff Pink", a 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond bought by Laurence Graff, the London-based jeweler known as "The King of Diamonds", in 2010 for 45.44 million Swiss francs ($45.75 million at the time).

"Frankly when I sold the Graff 3 years ago, I thought it would be a record for a very long time. Tonight's price is really quite extraordinary three years later," Bennett said.

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The Pink Star was cut and polished from a 132.5 carat rough diamond mined by De Beers somewhere in Africa in 1999, according to Sotheby's, which said it had no information on the exact geographic origin.

It was first sold in 2007 and the seller wished to remain anonymous, a Sotheby's spokeswoman said.

Signature pieces by top-end European jewelers including Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels fetched strong prices, especially from the Art Deco period of the 1930s.

Few lots were stranded on the block and many that sold soared many times over their pre-sale estimate.

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Sotheby's sale of magnificent jewels also realised the highest jeweler sale total for a single auction in history - $199.5 million, according to the auction house.

($1 = 0.9191 Swiss francs)

—By Reuters