A 118.28-carat white diamond, the size of a small egg, has sold last week for a record US$31.8 million at auction in Hong Kong.
The diamond was sold to an unnamed phone bidder at the Sotheby’s auction following bidding that lasted for more than six minutes.
“We are extremely thrilled,” deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, Quek Chin Yeow, told reporters following the sale.
The buyer has been described as a “private collector”.
The biannual sale in the southern Chinese city draws collectors from across mainland China and Asia, helping to make the city one of the world’s busiest auction hubs.
“Hong Kong has in the last few years pulled itself up alongside Geneva and New York as one of the three major selling centres at auction for diamonds”, continued Yeow.
The flawless white oval diamond, mined and cut two years ago, came in just under the minimum value as estimated by Sotheby’s. It was more than the previous record of $26.7m for a white diamond set in May at Christie’s in Geneva.
The stone, which weighed 299 carats when it was found in the rough in 2011, is the largest diamond graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Sotheby’s says it was discovered in southern Africa but won’t name the country because the seller wishes to remain anonymous.
The world record price for a jewel at auction was set in 2010 when the London jeweller Laurence Graff paid $46m for a “fancy intense pink” diamond weighing 24.8 carats. That record could be blown away in November when Sotheby’s puts a pink 59.6-carat diamond on the block that is expected to fetch more than $60m in Geneva.
For more information on upcoming auction see the Sotheby’s website.