Record $83 million paid for pink diamond at auction

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 12:00 am

A 59.60-carat pink diamond sold Wednesday for $83 million, a record for any gemstone at auction.

The oval-cut stone’s price exceeded the previous record by 82 percent at an auction in Geneva held by Sotheby’s, which called the gem one of the earth’s greatest natural treasures. Those prices include the buyer’s premium.

“It elicits almost a visceral response,” auctioneer David Bennett said of the gem. “This stone checks every single box in terms of rarity, quality, size and everything. The crown jewels of England, which is one of the greatest jewel cases, does not have a diamond this size or this color.”

The five-minute battle for the gem opened at 48 million Swiss francs ($52.5 million) with a bid from the room. The price rose quickly in increments of 1 million francs. While there were several bidders on the telephone, the winning bid came from the crowded auction room. The auction concluded to the tune of Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther Theme.”

The stone is fancy vivid pink, the highest grade for the color of diamonds, and the purity of its crystals ranks among the top 2 percent in the world.

Bennett had set the previous record for any stone sold in auction in 2010 with the $45.6 million “Graff Pink” diamond. The “Pink Star” is more than twice the size of the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink.”

The sale crowns the Geneva fall auction season, highlights of which included the $36 million sale of the largest orange diamond known to exist.

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