White diamond sells for $16.2
million Wed Nov 14,
3:31 PM ET
GENEVA - An
84.37-carat white diamond touted by Sotheby's for its
size and beauty sold at auction Wednesday to Guess clothing
company founder Georges Marciano for just under $16.2
The jewel the largest top-quality, brilliant-cut
white diamond ever to appear at auction had been
valued by Sotheby's at between $13.3 million and $17.8
Marciano's winning bid, made by telephone, came to $16,189,769
including the buyer's premium. It was just short of the
all-time auction record for a stone or piece of jewelry,
a record held by the same Sotheby's branch in Geneva for
a 100.1-carat diamond that fetched $16.5 million in 1995.
"In my 32-year career, this stone ranks among the
most beautiful diamonds I have ever seen," said David
Bennett, the auction house's chairman of jewelry for Europe
and the Middle East. He called it a "magnificent
and unique stone."
The diamond has received the highest possible grading,
Sotheby's said. It is D-color, or finest white, has flawless
clarity, and its cut, polish and symmetry have all been
graded excellent, it said.
The New York-based company is hoping the "Magnificent
Jewels" sale at Geneva's historic Beau Rivage hotel
will help it bounce back from the disheartening results
of its Impressionist and Modern Art auction, which sent
its stock tumbling.
The sale last week fetched $269.7 million, well short
of estimates, and led some analysts to speculate whether
the flight from risk currently gripping financial markets
may be spilling over into the art world. The company announced
that it lost $14.6 million by purchasing paintings that
failed to sell.
A Sotheby's employee holds the largest
brilliant-cut D-color flawless diamond during a preview
at Sotheby's in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Oct. 1,
2007. The 84.37-carat white diamond touted by Sotheby's
for its unprecedented size and beauty could beat the
record for the most expensive jewel ever sold when it
is put up for auction Wednesday evening, Nov 14, 2007.
Sotheby's has estimated the largest top quality, brilliant-cut
white diamond ever to appear in an auction at US$12
million (euro 8.2 million) to US$16 million (euro 11
million). (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)
The white diamond already has been showcased in Hong Kong, Paris,
New York, Rome, Los Angeles, London, Dubai and Bahrain. The
auction Wednesday also featured other diamonds, colored stones
and gems from the world's leading jewelers.