Flawless 163-carat diamond sells at auction
An emerald diamond necklace named "Creation 1" sells at Christie's in Geneva for $44.5 million.
A flawless 163-carat clear diamond fetched about $US34 million ($44.5 million) at Christie's in Geneva on Tuesday evening.
The diamond, the centrepiece of an asymmetric gem-studded necklace designed by Fawaz Gruosi, founder of Geneva jeweller De Grisogono, exceeded the auction house's expectation of $US25 million.
The stone was the largest of its kind ever auctioned.
A team of 10 specialists in New York cut the jewel from a rough 404-carat stone discovered in the African nation of Angola last year.
Australian diamond company Lucapa, which mined the stone, originally measuring more than seven centimetres in length, says it was the largest diamond ever discovered in Angola.
The necklace is made of 18 diamonds on one side and two rows of pear-shaped emeralds on the other. It took more than 1700 hours to create.
The buyer was not immediately identified.
Also on the block was "Le Grand Mazarin", a 19-carat pink diamond that once belonged to King Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte and other French rulers.
It sold for a hammer price of 12.5 million Swiss francs ($16.7 million) to an unknown buyer, obliterating the pre-sale estimate.
Le Grand Mazarin was up for auction for the first time in 130 years, during a sell-off of French crown jewels.
Originally from the Golconda mines in India, the stone was set in the crowns of almost all kings and emperors of France since the early 18th century, Christie's said.
The Geneva autumn auction season concludes on Wednesday, when Sotheby's will auction a pink diamond worth as much as $US30 million.
Sotheby's holds the record for the most expensive diamond ever auctioned, having sold the 59.6-carat Pink Star for $US71 million to Hong Kong-based jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook.