GENEVA: The Fortune Pink diamond, an exceptionally rare giant gemstone, sold for more than $28.5 million at auction in Geneva on Tuesday to a private Asian customer.
At 18.18 carats, the jewel is the largest pear-shaped 'fancy vivid pink' diamond ever sold under the hammer, Christie's auction house said.
The dazzling diamond fetched a hammer price of 24.5 million Swiss francs ($24,615,150), rising to 28,436,500 Swiss francs ($28,570,150) with the buyer's premium added on.
The bidding, which lasted for a tense four minutes, started at 17 million Swiss francs and was a three-way battle between telephone bidders, with the winner eventually claiming the gem by upping the bid by half a million.
"The buyer is happy. It's a dream come true," the Christie's employee taking the winning telephone bid told AFP, while maintaining the buyer's anonymity.
The Fortune Pink, mined in Brazil, had been estimated to fetch between $25 million and $35 million.
Christie's noted that the carat weight, 18.18, was considered a lucky number in Asia, where it signifies "definite prosperity", and gave the diamond its name.
"Very aptly it was purchased by an Asian private customer," Rahul Kadakia, Christie's international head of jewellery, told reporters after conducting the sale.
"It's a very select group of customers who are buying at this level.
"I'm very happy that it's gone to a new family who will enjoy it, who will wear it, and I hope it brings them good fortune."
Pink diamonds are only found in a few places and fewer than 10 percent weigh more than one fifth of a carat.
Big jewels like the Fortune Pink are therefore among the rarest diamonds and are some of the most in-demand on the global market.
On Friday, the 11.15-carat Williamson Pink Star pink diamond sold in Hong Kong for HK$453.2 million ($57.7 million), setting a record for price per carat paid at auction for any diamond or gemstone, according to Sotheby's.
It was fetched the second-highest price paid at auction for any jewel.
Tobias Kormind, managing director of online diamond jeweller 77 Diamonds, said the Fortune Pink price was disappointing in comparison.
"Hong Kong has trumped Geneva and whether we like it or not, the centre of gravity of wealth creation is moving towards Asia," he said.
The world record for a pink diamond was set in 2017, when a stone known as the CTF Pink Star was sold in Hong Kong for $71.2 million.
Standing room only
The Fortune Pink was auctioned in the Magnificent Jewels sale at the Hotel des Bergues, part of Christie's Luxury Week of sales in Geneva.
The jewels sale of 71 lots fetched nearly 56.6 million Swiss francs. Five other diamond lots went for more than a million Swiss francs.
"It was an exciting night," said Kadakia.
"There is appetite, people want to pay the prices.
"I have not, since Covid, seen the room packed all the way to the end of the ballroom where there was standing room only.
"It gives you a sense of how the market is feeling so much more buoyant."
Sotheby's Geneva Luxury Week is also under way, with a fancy vivid blue cushion-shaped diamond weighing 5.53 carats estimated to fetch 11 to 15 million Swiss francs on Wednesday.
It is part of the De Beers Exceptional Blue Collection -- a group of eight rare fancy blue diamonds with a total value of more than $70 million, being sold in Geneva, New York and Hong Kong.