An exceptionally large blue diamond sold Wednesday for 48.6 million Swiss francs ($48.5 million) – a record price for any jewel at auction, Sotheby’s said, culminating two Geneva auctions in which a convicted Hong Kong tycoon, Joseph Lau, bought rare coloured diamonds for his daughter.
The 12.03-carat ‘Blue Moon’ diamond, set in a ring, was said to be among the largest known fancy vivid blue diamonds and was the showpiece gem at the Sotheby’s jewelry auction.
A packed room broke into applause after the hammer came down at a price of 43.2 million Swiss francs, excluding fees – within the pre-auction estimate range of about 34 to 54 million francs.
The Blue Moon – so-called in reference to its rarity, playing off the expression “once in a blue moon” – topped the previous record of $46.2 million set five years ago by the Graff Pink, Sotheby’s said.
The diamond also set a new record of more than $4 million per carat, capping the daylong high-end jewelry sale that reaped roughly $140 million.
Blue diamonds are formed when boron is mixed with carbon when the gem is created.