Graff pays $4 million for white Graff

Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:58am EST
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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - London-based jeweler Laurence Graff paid nearly $4 million to buy back a white diamond ring of his own creation at a sale where wealthy investors seeking alternative assets snapped up top-quality gems, Christie's said on Thursday.

Graff, whom close associates said was in China this week, made the winning bid by telephone to the semi-annual jewelry sales in Geneva on Wednesday night, the auction house said.

"He bought it back and he will sell it a second time," Jean-Marc Lunel, head of Christie's jewelry department in Geneva who conducted the sale, told Reuters.

"He is the King of Diamonds and recognizes his babies. The stone is fabulous and in great shape in terms of cut, color and clarity," he added.

The oval-shaped diamond, weighing 24.30 carats, is graded 'D' color and potentially internally flawless if repolished slightly on the surface, according to Lunel.

It was put on the block by an unidentified woman and had a pre-sale estimate of $2.9 million-$3.5 million, according to the catalog.

Christie's, owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault, netted 56.26 million Swiss francs ($61.37 million) from the event, with 77 percent of the 361 lots on offer sold, it said in a statement.

A gray diamond weighing 10.67 carats, which had been estimated at $120,000-200,000, soared to $1.19 million, a world record price for a gray diamond, according to Lunel. Earrings made of pear-shaped Colombian emeralds and diamonds fetched $3.078 million, also a record price at auction, he said.   Continued...