Geneva - A flawless 163-carat clear diamond fetched about $34m at Christie's in Geneva on Tuesday evening.
Nonetheless, Rahul Kadakia, auctioneer and head of Christie's global jewels division, said that it was a record price for a D-colour diamond at an auction. Lucapa, the Australian diamond company which mined the stone, says that the diamond originally measured over seven centimetres in length, which makes it the largest diamond ever discovered in Angola. D, according to gemologists, is the highest colour grade given to diamonds and indicates that the precious stone is absolutely colourless and therefore rare. It has been set in a necklace which has been called The Art of de Grisogono.
The diamond, the centrepiece of an asymmetric gem-studded necklace designed by Fawaz Gruosi, founder of Geneva jeweller De Grisogono, exceeded the auction house's expectation of US$25 million.
However, even after such a satisfying sale, Tobias Kormind, head of 77 Diamonds, a leading independent online diamond jeweler both into the United Kingdom and Europe, was disappointed as he expected the necklace to be sold at a much higher value.
The stone was 404.20 carats when it was a rough diamond mined in eastern Angola on 4 February a year ago. While the left side of the necklace is made of 18 emerald-cut diamonds, the right side comprises of two rows of pear-shaped emeralds. It is also the 27th largest rough diamond ever discovered.
It went under the hammer, again to an unidentified telephone bidder, for 12.5 million francs, with the final price tag after taxes and commissions ticking in at 14.4 million francs ($14.5 million, 12.3 million euros).
A further highlight of the sale was Le Grand Mazarin, a light pink diamond of 19.07 carats, and one of the most famous and important Golconda diamonds in history. The identity of the buyer, however, has not been revealed.
Its sale Tuesday marked the first time that the diamond has appeared at auction in 130 years.
It has been auctioned off once before: It was among the French Crown Jewels sold off in 1887 - 17 years after France´s Second Empire collapsed and Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugenie sought exile in England, leaving their jewels behind.