HONG KONG - An internally flawless, vivid blue 10.10 carat oval diamond smashed auction records on Tuesday when it sold for $31.8 million at Sotheby's, the highest price paid for a gemstone at auction in Asia.
An anonymous telephone bidder purchased the jewel at Sotheby's spring sales in the auction that lasted just minutes.
"Very few gemstones have ever been sold for more than that, and it's setting the record price here in Asia for a gemstone in auction,” said David Bennett, Sotheby's worldwide chairman of the international jewelry division.
He added that the economic downturn in China has not had any immediate impact on the Asian jewelry market.
The diamond, known as the De Beers Millennium Jewel 4, was mined in South Africa. It is the largest diamond of its kind to appear at auction. It was one of 12 in De Beers Millennium Jewels collection that was unveiled in 2000 in London.
The world auction record for a diamond or gemstone was set in Geneva last November when a 12.03-carat cushion-shaped internally flawless vivid blue diamond fetched $48.5 million.