A diamond known as the "Pink Star" has sold for a record 68 million Swiss francs (roughly 61 million euros) at an auction in Geneva. It was the highest price ever paid for a gemstone at auction, Sotherby's reported.
The oval-shaped "Pink Star" diamond fetched a record $83 million after an intense five-minute bidding race at an auction in Geneva on Wednesday night, Sotherby's said.
The flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond far exceeded expectations, having been given a pre-sale estimate of $60 million.
"It surpassed our estimate. It's a large amount of money in itself but I don't think this stone has a price," said David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East.
The bidding in the Geneva hotel, which was conducted in Swiss francs, started at 48 million francs ($52 million) and worked its way upwards million-by-million. The final sale price was 76.325 million Swiss francs, or $83.425 million, including commission fees.
Up to 150 people in the auction room broke into applause when Bennett brought down the hammer and the theme tune from the movie the "Pink Panther" was played as a tongue-in-cheek gesture.
The man who made the winning bid told reporters that he was buying it on behalf of an anonymous person whom he represented.
The diamond was the star lot at the Sotherby's semi-annual jewellery sale in Geneva.
It took Steinmetz Diamonds two years to facet the jewel from a 132.5-carat rough diamond. It was first shown publicly in May 2003 as the "Steinmetz Pink," then sold privately for the first time in 2007 when it was renamed "The Pink Star."
The previous record was held by the 24.78 carat "Graff Pink" diamond. It sold for $46.2 million, including commission, at a Sotherby's auction in 2010.
"Frankly when I sold the Graff three years ago, I thought it would be a record for a very long time. Tonight's price is really quite extraordinary three years later," Bennett said.
The sale comes a day after the largest orange diamond ever sold at auction went for $35.5 million at a Christie's auction.
ccp/ch (AFP, AP)