HK tycoon names blue diamond "Star of Josephine"

Wed May 20, 2009 9:33am EDT
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GENEVA (Reuters) - A Hong Kong property tycoon and collector who bought a flawless blue diamond for a record $9.5 million, has named it the "Star of Josephine," auction house Sotheby's said on Wednesday.

Joseph Lau Luen-Hung made the winning bid last week by telephone for the diamond, which fetched the highest price per carat for any gemstone at the auction and a world record price for a fancy vivid blue diamond at auction.

"Mr. Lau has already exercised his right to name the diamond, which is now known as 'Star of Josephine'," it said.

The rectangular-shaped blue stone weighs 7.03 carats, about the size of a small coin, and was the rarest to enter the international market this year.

David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewelry department in Europe and the Middle East, told reporters after conducting the May 12 sale in Geneva: "I hope it will be worn, it is such a beautiful stone."

Lau is chairman of Chinese Estates, a major Hong Kong property developer.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Farah Master)