"Blue Moon Diamond" sells for world record $48.4 million: Sotheby's
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (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).
Christie's said that the stone, named "The Sweet Josephine" by the Hong Kong-based Chinese client who bought it, set a world record for any pink diamond ever offered at auction.
The same buyer was believed to have bought both star lots at the semi-annual sales in the Swiss city.