'Pink legacy' diamond sells world record $50 million

A Christie's staff holds a 18.96 carat Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond during a preview in Geneva

The rare gem, which is set in a platinum ring surrounded by smaller diamonds, hit the auction block today (Nov. 14) at Christie's in Geneva.

Christie's did not identify the jewel's latest owners but it once belonged to the Oppenheimer family, who ran the De Beers diamond mining company for three generations until selling their stake in 2011.

The price of around $2.6m per carat marked a world record for a pink diamond, according to the Europe head of auction house Christie's. The sale of Pink Legacy has surpassed that, at $2.637 million per carat.

"This stone is for me the Leonardo da Vinci of diamonds", he added.

It was graded as "fancy vivid" - the highest level of colour intensity.

Christie's worldwide head of jewellery, Rahul Kadakia, described The Pink Legacy as "one of the world's greatest diamonds".

The stone was immediately rechristened the "Winston Pink Legacy" by its buyers.

"Imagine a domino that you have cut the corners off of", Jean-Marc Lunel, an global jewellery specialist at Christie's, recently told AFP, pointing out that the cut is a "classical so-called emerald cut", which stands out from the typical, more rounded, multi-faceted cuts used today.

He pointed out that the cut is a "classical so-called emerald cut", which stands out from the typical, more rounded, multi-facetted cuts used today.

Rahul Kadakia, Christie's head of worldwide jewellery, said that auction house has only sold four diamonds weighing more than 10 carats of the same colour in its 251 years of history. The auction house had expected to fetch $30 million to $50 million for the almost 19-carat, rectangular-cut stone, the largest fancy vivid pink diamond that it has ever put under the hammer.

"It is probably the most lovely (specimen) ever presented at public auction", Lunel said.

In November of a year ago, the Pink Promise diamond, at nearly 15 carats, sold for $32.5 million at Christie's in Hong Kong.

In addition to diamonds, a painting by British artist David Hockney is scheduled to be sold at Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale at New York's Rockefeller Center on November 15 for around $80 million.

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