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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A vivid yellow diamond weighing 32.7 carats is expected to fetch up to $8 million when it is sold at auction in October, Christie's said on Wednesday.
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which grades, identifies and evaluates important diamonds, ranked the rare, deeply saturated gem as among the rarest in its class.
"The Vivid Yellow literally blazes with color unlike any yellow diamond I've ever seen," said Rahul Kadakia, Christie's Americas' head of jewelry.
He added that a stone of such depth of color and size was "a freak occurrence," and a "once in a lifetime opportunity" for collectors.
Yellow diamonds get their color from nitrogen replacing carbon atoms in the diamond's structure. The more nitrogen absorbed, the deeper the color.
GIA classified the unmounted pear-shaped gem as fancy vivid, which is used only for the most highly saturated colored diamonds, or roughly one in 10 million.
Christie's said the stone could surpass the per-carat price of $203,000 achieved by the 18.49-carat Golden Drop yellow diamond sold in London in 1990.
Experts agree that prices for colored diamonds are on the rise, and Christie's said it has seen strong gains in per-carat prices for high-quality colored and colorless diamonds in recent years, perhaps owing to stock market volatility.
"Jewels have long been regarded as a very stable and highly portable store of wealth over the long term, so an upward trend in tangible, portable assets like diamonds is not wholly unexpected during times of economic turmoil," Kadakia said.
The yellow diamond will be the star lot at Christie's October 18 jewelry sale in New York. It will go on a global tour before the auction, with stops in London, Geneva and Hong Kong.
In December Christie's will auction jewelry owned by the late actress Elizabeth Taylor which is reportedly worth more than $100 million.
Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Patricia Reaney; For the latest Reuters lifestyle news see: www.reuters.com/news/lifestyle