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HONG KONG (Reuters) - The biggest briolette-style diamond ever to appear at auction set an $11 million record when it sold to an anonymous Asian buyer in Hong Kong on Tuesday, auctioneer Christie's said.
The 75.36-carat briolette - a gem cut into a three-dimensional waterdrop shape - is suspended on a chain of diamonds. Although it fell short of a top pre-sale estimate of $12.5 million, it beat the $10.8 million record set by a 10.48-carat fancy deep blue briolette sold by Sotheby's last year.
The Type IIa diamond - similar to the Koh-i-Noor diamond set into British Queen Elizabeth's crown - is exceptionally rare, according to Christie's jewelry specialist Chiang Shiu-Fung.
"Briolette is so special because we have to find a piece of rough that is big enough to cut (into) a briolette style," Chiang said.
The diamond arrived at American diamond dealership, William Goldberg, as a 160.5-carat rough and was shaped into a 75.51 carat briolette diamond.
This was certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as the largest briolette-shaped, flawless diamond graded at the time, according to William Goldberg's database.
Earlier this month Christie's set a $26.7 million record in Geneva for a pear-shaped colorless diamond that was the largest ever offered at auction.
The 101.73 carat "Winston Legacy" diamond was the centerpiece of the Magnificent Jewels auction and was bought by jewelry and watch firm Harry Winston.
Reporting by Lavinia Mo and Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Lee Chyen Yee and Pravin Char