An orange diamond, the largest known to exist, has been sold for $36 million at Christie’s International in Geneva, Switzerland.
The pear-shaped 14.82-carat diamond was auctioned at a record price, worth $2.4 million per carat on Tuesday – beating the price of the Vivid Pink Diamond sold in Hong Kong for $10.8 million.
“Time and again, a stone will appear on the market that is truly a miracle of nature,” François Curiel, International head of Christie’s Jewelry Department told Forbes. “The 14.82-carat orange diamond is one such a stone, a rare gem, which will perhaps only be seen once in a lifetime.”
The bidding opened at 10 million Swiss francs, reached $20 million francs before the winning bid of 29 million francs was called. "At the back of the hall, 29 million francs ($31.5 million, 23 million euros). Sold!" the Christie’s auctioneer said to a crowd of 200 people in a luxury Geneva hotel. Bidders also participated on the phone and on Christie’s live Internet feed.
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The man who made the purchase has yet to be identified. The gem, which was discovered in South Africa, is extremely rare and few have ever been auctioned. Known as “The Orange” the gem is "the largest recorded vivid orange diamond in the world".
The Gemological Institute of America that graded the diamond said it’s an exceptionally rare find. “Strongly colored diamonds in the orange hue range rarely exceed three or four carats in size when polished. (This diamond) is almost four times larger than that size range,” the organization said in its report.
In the past, two orange diamonds were sold at auction. In 2011 when a 4.16 carat diamond was sold for $2.95 million. In 1997, “The Pumpkin Diamond” weighed 5.54 carats and sold for $1.3 million to Ronald Winston, the son of Harry Winston.
“The Orange” isn’t the only rare diamond to be auctioned in Geneva. Sotheby’s plans to sell a plum-sized diamond known as the “Pink Star” for $60 million on Wednesday, Agence France-Presse reports. The diamond, found in Africa weighs 132.5 carats.
"Sixty million dollars, that is really a lot of money, and the expenses come on top of that," an unnamed gem expert told AFP. "To buy this stone, you really have to fall in love -- and also think about a possible sale in a couple of years, preferably at a profit."