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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A very rare translucent pink diamond fetched a price of $10.8 million (7.6 million euros) at a Sotheby's auction, the third-highest price ever paid for one of the pink stones at auction.

"Last chance: 8.5 million francs. Sold!" auctioneer David Bennett said before a throng of about 300 people gathered at a luxury hotel in Geneva, referring to the price before commission.

"It is the third-highest price for a pink diamond at auction," Bennett told press after the sale on Tuesday.

The 10.99-carat, emerald-cut stone was classed as a type IIa diamond, with the type II category making up less than two percent of gem diamonds, Sotheby's said on its website.

The pure color of the diamond, mounted in a ring, is classified as "Fancy strong Pink" by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).

Stones in this group are the most chemically pure and often have a rare transparency. They have been found in India and in more new times in Brazil and Africa.

Valued earlier at between 8.3 and 14.8 million Swiss francs, the pink diamond had come from a private collection and had not come into view on the market for more than 30 years.

Sotheby's said it was one of the highlights of its "Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels" auction in Geneva on Tuesday.

Another was an emerald and diamond tiara dating from 1900, as well as Kashmir sapphires and Burmese rubies.

The tiara sold for $10 million, not including commission, at the top end of how it had been earlier valued.

"I do not think that the market for colored diamonds has ever been as strong as it is today," Bennett said.

A 24.78-carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond ring was sold for a record $46.16 million at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva in November.


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