A record-setting blue diamond went under the hammer at a Geneva auction on Wednesday. The exceptionally large jewel sold for a budget-busting CHF48.6 million ($48.5 million).
The sale of the ‘Blue Moon’ diamond set a new record for any jewel sold at auction according to Sotheby’s, which arranged the sale. The 12.03-carat gem was so named because of its rarity, with reference to the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’. The previous top price for a rare diamond sold at auction was CHF46.4 million when the so-called Graff Pink was sold five years ago.
The estimated auction price range pre-sale was CHF34-54 million. Sotheby’s announced that the gem had been bought by a private collector in Hong Kong, and had been renamed to ‘The Blue Moon of Josephine’. The name was similar to one given to a pink diamond ring that sold a day earlier at a Christie’s auction in Geneva for CHF28.6 million, ‘Sweet Josephine’.
Though Sotheby’s did not identify the buyer, the office of Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau confirmed to the AP news agency that Lau had made the purchases, reportedly naming the jewels after one of his daughters.
Lau was sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges by a court in Macau last year. However, he has avoided the jail term as Hong Kong does not have an extradition deal with the autonomous territory and former Portuguese colony.
swissinfo.ch and agencies