November 16, 2016 / 12:07 AM / a year ago

Pink diamond nets $18 million in 'healthy' market: Christie's

GENEVA (Reuters) - A pear-shaped pink diamond sold for 18.127 million Swiss francs ($18.11 million) on Tuesday to an Asian collector bidding by telephone at an auction marked by “healthy prices”, Christie’s said.

The top lot at its semi-annual Geneva sale, the stone weighs 9.14 carats and is graded fancy vivid pink, the highest possible color grading. Its pre-sale estimate was 16 million Swiss francs to 18 million.

“The pink diamond (went to) an Asian collector, a big mega Asian collector,” Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewelry at Christie‘s, told reporters after conducting the sale.

In May, rival Sotheby’s sold a pear-shaped vivid pink diamond of 15.38 carats for 30.8 million Swiss francs ($31.46 million at the time), setting a world record.

Christie‘s, celebrating its 250th anniversary, netted nearly 97 million Swiss francs with 77 percent of 217 lots sold, against 110 million francs a year ago. Several major gems, including a Colombian emerald and diamond ring by New York jeweller David Webb, stalled on the block.

An assistant poses with Miroir de l'Amour, a pair of flawless diamond pear-shaped earrings and the diamond necklace Le Jardin d'Isabelle, during a sale preview at Christie's auction house in London, Britain October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

A pair of diamond drop earrings, “Miroir de l‘Amour” (Mirror of Love) by a new French boutique jeweller that has revived the illustrious name and “same philosophy” of 18th Century jewellers Boehmer et Bassenge, sold for 17.56 million Swiss francs after more than 5 minutes of bidding. They had no reserve price, the secret minimum set by the owner, which is rare at auctions.

“It made a great price for a really fabulous pair of diamonds. Very healthy prices will give a great boost to the white diamond market,” Kadakia said. “Diamonds are bouncing back.”

An assistant wears the Miroir de l'Amour, a pair of flawless diamond pear-shaped earrings during a sale preview at Christie's auction house in London, Britain October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

The auction house said the flawless white stones, weighing 52.55 and 50.47 carats, respectively, are the “the world’s largest perfect pear-shaped diamond drops ever to be offered at auction”. The pre-sale estimate was 20-30 million Swiss francs for the earrings, whose buyer remained anonymous.

“The buyer is highly likely to be a newly minted Russian or Chinese billionaire oligarch or business tycoon, who does not shy from flaunting their wealth,” Tobias Kormind, managing director of London-based 77 Diamonds, said in a statement earlier this week.

A Boehmer et Bassenge diamond and coloured necklace, offered on the same terms, went for 8.047 million francs.

A white diamond ring by Bulgari, a rectangular stone weighing 32.33 carats, fetched 4.35 million francs, surpassing its estimate of 2-3 million.

Christie’s is owned by French retail magnate Francois Pinault’s holding company Artemis SA. At Sotheby’s sale on Wednesday night, the “Sky Blue Diamond” of 8.01 carats, is estimated at $15-25 million.

Reporting and writing by Stephanie Nebehay; additional reporting by Marina Depetris; Editing by Bernard Orr

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