Dlawless 163-carat diamond fetches $49.4 million in Geneva auction

Dlawless 163-carat diamond fetches $49.4 million in Geneva auction

Called The Art of Grisogono, the 163.41-carat diamond - attached to an emerald and diamond necklace - was sold to an unnamed telephone bidder at the Christie's autumn jewel auction in Geneva, Switzerland. The rough stone, the largest ever discovered in the African country, originally weighed 404 carats and measured over 7 centimetres in length.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) found the stone was a D-colour, Type IIA diamond - a variety highly valued for its transparency and colour. It was the final lot of the auction and sold for $14,463,393.

Mounted in a diamond and emerald necklace, the white, matchbox-size rock from Swiss jeweler de Grisogono was acquired by an unidentified buyer.

The rough was analysed in Antwerp and cut in NY, where a team of 10 diamond-cutting specialists were involved in mapping, plotting, cleaving, laser-cutting and polishing the giant rough rock into a polished, flawless diamond.

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"The Art of de Grisogono is one fabulous Christmas present and wallflowers need not apply", Tobias Kormind, head of the 77 Diamonds firm that tracks the global diamond market, said in a statement. Experts, however, are bitterly disappointed as they had expected the diamond to be sold for at least £12 million more. Originally from the Golconda mines in India, the stone was set in the crowns of nearly all kings and emperors of France since the early 18th century, Christie's said.

And it graced the crown of Napoleon I, Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, among others.

Christie´s said the seller was a private collector but did not reveal their identity. This is the first time that the spectacular diamond has been sold at public auction since the famous sale of the French Crown Jewels in 1887.

The Geneva fall auction season concludes Wednesday, when Sotheby's will auction a pink diamond estimated to be worth as much as $30m.

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