The Martian Pink diamond fetched $17.4 million, more than double the estimated price, at an auction in Hong Kong this week as it went on sale for the first time in 36 years.
The diamond — the biggest of its kind ever to be sold — was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder. It had been expected to sell for between $8 million and $12 million.
“The bids were very competitive. There was a lot of excitement. When it finally did come up for sale, the buzz in the room was sensational,” said Christie’s auctioneer Rahul Kadakia.
The 12-carat gem got its name in 1976 when it was sold by US jeweller Harry Winston. It was the same year the US sent a satellite to Mars, and the gem got its name from the colour of the planet."It comes from Harry Winston, who was so impressed that the Americans had landed on Mars in 1976 that he looked at his inventory and he found a rough diamond which probably could come out as pink," the BBC quoted Francois Curiel, from Christie’s jewellery department, as saying.
“So he cut it, and he cut it in such a way that the intensity of the thing was larger than any of the other things that he had ever cut before,” Curiel said.
“Having appeared on the market for the first time in 36 years, the Martian Pink sold by Harry Winston in 1976 created a sensation during its worldwide exhibition tour and achieved a staggering $17.4m after a 10-minute bidding war,” said Vickie Sek of Christie’s Asia.
Tuesday’s auction raised $80 million. “The $80m auction was highlighted with top prices across the board, culminating in a world record price of $551,000 per carat for a perfect Burmese ruby of 6.04 carats.”