Diamond becomes world's most expensive jewel

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A rare pink diamond has smashed the world record for the sale of a jewel at auction.

London jeweller Laurence Graff paid 40.5 million Swiss francs for the 24.78-carat "fancy intense pink" diamond, which, including the buyer's premium, came to a record £29 million. He has immediately named the rare stone "The Graff Pink."

"It is the most fabulous diamond I've seen in the history of my career and I'm delighted to have bought it," Graff said in a statement released by auction house Sotheby's, which offered the diamond at its Geneva sale.

"This is the highest price ever bid for a jewel at auction," said David Bennett, the head of Sotheby's Europe and Middle East jewelry division, as the auction room in Geneva's luxury Beau Rivage Hotel erupted into applause.

Asked if he was surprised at the huge sum, Bennett said "I was very happy that it made so much money and I think it's a wonderful stone, so maybe not surprised; I was satisfied that people valued it the same as I did."

The sale price was almost double the £15 million achieved by the blue 35.56-carat Wittelsbach-Graff diamond in 2008, which was also bought by Graff.

It is not yet known whether he plans to alter the pink diamond, which Sotheby's says has a flaw unnoticeable to the naked eye, but may be graded as internally flawless after re-polishing.

Sotheby's said it sold jewels worth £66 million, also a world record for a single sale.

The auction included items once belonging to Christina Onassis, the daughter of the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and Cristina Ford, the second wife of Henry Ford's grandson Henry Ford II.

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