Rare pink diamond sells for record-breaking £29m

The last moments of bidding at the auction

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One of the world's rarest diamonds has sold for a record-breaking $46 million (£29m), the highest price ever paid for a jewel.

The 24.78-carat "fancy intense pink" diamond was sold to a well-known British dealer at an auction in Geneva.

Bidding at the Sotheby's auction was said to be fierce, and the sale surpassed expectations.

Last sold by a New York jeweller 60 years ago, the gem has been kept in a private collection ever since.

The diamond had been expected to command at least £625,000 per carat.

The previous record for a jewel at auction was set by a blue 35.56 carat diamond which sold for £15.2m at auction in 2008.

"This is the highest price ever bid for a jewel at auction," said David Bennett, the head of Sotheby's jewellery division, as the auction room in Geneva's luxury Beau Rivage hotel broke into applause.

It was bought by top diamond trader Laurence Graff, who bid by telephone, Sotheby's said.

'Alluring sparkle'

The auction house said it sold jewels worth a total of £66m - a world record for a single sale.

Start Quote

I think this tells you a bit about the health of the market”

End Quote David Bennett Sotheby's

Five hundred lots were on sale, including jewellery that belonged to Christina Onassis and Cristina Ford - who was married to Henry Ford II, grandson of the founder of the Ford Motor Company.

"I think this tells you a bit about the health of the market," Mr Bennett told reporters afterwards.

He said the pink stone - which is described as having an emerald cut with gently rounded corners - had a "soft sensual feel".

Pink diamonds of such a size are extremely rare.

"There's only one or two other stones I've seen like this in the 35 years I've been doing this job," said Mr Bennett. "I just love it."

BBC Geneva correspondent Imogen Foulkes said it was a "beautiful, rosy pink with an alluring sparkle".

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