Blue diamond sells for world record $10.86 million, Sotheby's says

Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:46pm EST
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - A flawless deep-blue diamond sold at auction on Wednesday night for 10.27 million Swiss francs ($10.86 million), a world record for a blue diamond per carat and more than twice its pre-sale estimate, Sotheby's said.

London luxury jeweler Laurence Graff, bidding by telephone, bought the drop-shaped stone which weighs 10.48 carats and is about the size of an almond, it said.

Signed pieces by top designers including Bulgari, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels fetched strong prices, easily exceeding their estimates, at the semi-annual sales in Geneva.

Applause erupted after David Bennett, head of Sotheby's international jewelry department, brought down the hammer after heated and lengthy bidding on the blue diamond which had been estimated to fetch 3.2 million to 4.2 million francs.

"It is certainly a world record price per carat for a deep blue diamond," Bennett told reporters after the sale. "It is an extraordinary stone, a very, very mystical deep blue."

"They only come from one mine, the Cullinan mine in South Africa," he said. The mine is owned by Petra Diamonds.

Mark Emanuel, of American jeweler David Webb, predicted that the blue diamond, the night's top lot, would be recut.

"It is an extremely rare 10-carat deep blue briolette that can be recut to a 7-carat vivid blue," Emanuel told Reuters.   Continued...