Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

  • Kerry, Ban announce 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

Culture

Rare blue diamond fetches almost seven million euros at auction

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Latest update : 2009-05-17

A flawless vivid blue diamond went under the hammer for almost seven million euros at an auction organised by Sotheby's in Geneva. The stone set a new record for the price paid per carat for any gemstone at auction.

REUTERS - A flawless vivid blue diamond weighing 7.03 carats sold on Tuesday for a record 10.5 million Swiss francs ($9.49 million), the highest price paid per carat for any gemstone at auction, Sotheby's said.

The rectangular-shaped blue stone, the rarest to enter the international market this year, went to an anonymous buyer bidding by telephone after hectic bidding see-sawed between two callers for 15 minutes.

It was the centrepiece of its semi-annual sale in Geneva, conducted by David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewellery department in Europe and the Middle East, who said the results showed the market's resilience despite the economic downturn.

"This is already a new world record price for a fancy vivid blue diamond and a new world record per carat for any gemstone (at auction)," Bennett told reporters.

"It is fantastic in this market and shows that these rare things are very much in demand," he said.

The final price includes a commission paid by the buyer to the auction house. The stone sets a record price per carat for any gemstone sold at auction of $1,349,752, Sotheby's said.

The previous record price for a fancy vivid blue diamond was $7.9 million, including commission, for a stone weighing 6.04 carats at sale in Hong Kong in October 2007, also by Sotheby's.

The new owner will have the right to name the stone, which is mounted in a platinum ring. The pre-sale catalogue estimate was 6.8 million to 10 million francs, excluding commission. The hammer price excluding commission was 9.3 million francs.

It was put up for sale by London-listed Petra Diamonds, which extracted it last year from the historic Cullinan mine in South Africa, the world's most regular supplier of blue diamonds of size and quality. Blue are the rarest of the diamond family after reds.

"To have a stone mined last year and cut the early part of this year so it is absolutely virgin coming straight from the mine has never happened before," Bennett said. "This is one of the extremely rare substances in our universe."

The sale fetched a total of 39.5 million swiss francs ($35.7 million) for 266 lots which found new owners, while another 80 pieces were stranded on the block.

"In this general economic environment to see $35 million worth sold in a session shows a lot about the resilience of fine jewels no matter what the climate," Bennett said.

Fresh stones to the market, including coloured diamonds, fetched good prices, the Briton said.

Date created : 2009-05-13

COMMENT(S)