A rare pink diamond fetched 45.44 million Swiss francs ($45.75 million) on Tuesday, virtually doubling the previous record to become the most expensive stone ever sold at auction, Sotheby’s said.
The rectangular pink diamond, which weighs 24.78 carats and is about the size of a pinball, was the star lot among 550 on the block at semi-annual jewelry sales in Geneva.
Top diamond trader Laurence Graff was the buyer, bidding by telephone, a Sotheby’s official told reporters.
“It is a world record price for a jewel at auction,” said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry department in Europe and the Middle East, as he brought down the hammer.
“It’s like pink champagne,” he told Reuters before the sale.
The stone, purchased from American jeweler Harry Winston 60 years ago by the anonymous owner who consigned it for auction in the Swiss city, had a pre-sale estimate of $27-38 million.
Previously, the world’s most expensive jewel sold at auction was the “Wittelsbach” blue diamond, a 17th-century stone of 35.56 carats that fetched $24.3 million in December 2008 at rival Christie’s.
That was also purchased by Graff of Graff Diamonds, who later had it repolished, making it smaller at 31.06 carats, and renaming it the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond.