UPDATE 1-"Blue Moon Diamond" sells for world record $48.4 million - Sotheby's

Wed Nov 11, 2015 4:53pm EST
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* 12.03 carat blue diamond renamed "Blue Moon of Josephine"

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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The rare and flawless "Blue Moon Diamond" sold for 48.6 million Swiss francs ($48.4 million) to a Hong Kong buyer on Wednesday, setting a world record for a gemstone at auction, Sotheby's said.

The cushion-shaped diamond, mounted on a ring, has the top grading of fancy vivid blue and weighs 12.03 carats. It had a pre-sale estimate of $35 million to $55 million.

"It is a new record price for any gemstone and per carat," David Bennett, worldwide chairman of Sotheby's international jewellery division, told a packed showroom in Geneva that erupted into applause.

The Hong Kong buyer promptly renamed it "The Blue Moon of Josephine", Bennett told reporters, noting that it had also set a world record for any jewel at more than $4 million per carat.

At rival Christie's on Tuesday, a large diamond of a rare pink hue fetched 28.725 million Swiss francs ($28.55 million).   Continued...