Pink diamond auctioned for record £57.2m in Hong Kong
A 59.6 carat diamond known as the Pink Star has sold for 71.2 million US dollars (£57.2 million) at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, setting a world record for any diamond or jewel, according to the auction house.
The oval mixed-cut diamond smashed the 60 million US dollars (£48.2 million) pre-sale estimate set by Sotheby's when it went on the block on Tuesday evening.
The sale comes three years after the gem was sold at an even higher price at another Sotheby's auction in Geneva. That deal later fell apart.
Sotheby's said the gem is the largest flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America.
It was sold for a hammer price of 63 million dollars (£50.6 million), not including fees and the buyer's premium.
Sotheby's said the buyer is Hong Kong jewellery company Chow Tai Fook, which beat two other telephone bidders.
Until now, the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction was the Oppenheimer Blue, which fetched 56.8 million Swiss francs (then 57.6 million US dollars) last May.
The previous world auction record for a pink diamond was 46.2 million US dollars for the 24.78 carat Graff Pink in 2010.
Sotheby's decided the time was right to bring the diamond back to the market because of rising demand from wealthy Asian buyers.
"The Asian element in the jewellery market is extremely important and from what I've been hearing from members of the trade I've been talking to, in the last six months they have become more and more important," said David Bennett, chairman of the auction house's jewellery division.
The Pink Star was mined in Africa by De Beers in 1999 as a raw 132.5 carat gem and cut over a two-year period.