Pink Star diamond fetches record $83m at auction
A diamond known as the Pink Star has sold for $83m (£52m) at auction in Geneva - a record price for a gemstone.
The diamond measures 2.69cm by 2.06cm (1.06 inches by 0.81 inches) and is set on a ring.
The Pink Star was sold to Isaac Wolf, a well known New York diamond cutter who has renamed it the Pink Dream.
The winning bid surpasses the $46.2m paid for the Graff Pink diamond three years ago, which was half the size of the Pink Star.
The Geneva jewellery season is always a glamorous affair.
Classic pieces once owned by Gina Lollobrigida or Wallis Simpson have been sold here.
Whatever the economic climate there never seems to be a shortage of cash for beautiful gemstones.
Tonight was no exception; but the build up to the sale of the Pink Star was especially dramatic.
This is not just any old big expensive diamond, but one of the rarest stones in the world.
Most pink diamonds are less than five carats, the Pink Star is almost 60.
After just five minutes it was sold, for $83m.
The previous record for a diamond sold at auction was $46m - the Pink Star didn't just break the world record, it smashed it.
The $83m includes Sotheby's commission.
The winning bid was for 68m Swiss francs ($74m) and reports say there was a long silence between that offer and the previous telephone bid of 67m Swiss francs.
"Ladies and gentlemen, 68 million is the world record bid for a diamond ever bid and it's right here," Sotheby's David Bennett said as he brought down the hammer.
Sotheby's played the theme tune from the "Pink Panther" movie after the winning bid was confirmed.Origins
According to the auctioneer, the Pink Star was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, but it did not say which country.
"It's really extraordinarily rare," said Mr Bennett.
"Very, very few of these stones have ever appeared at auction."
It took two years to cut and polish the diamond, which was 132.5 carat in its rough state.
In its finished condition the Pink Star is 59.60 carat, more than double the size of the next biggest diamond in its class.
A carat is a weight measurement used for gemstones and is 0.2g (0.00705 ounces).
Sotheby's has sold almost $200m worth of jewellery in its current auction, a record for a single auction according to the company.