Pink Princie Golconda diamond creates record at auction

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) A cushion-cut sparkler of a 34.65 carat pink diamond that originated from the ancient mines of Golconda in south India has been sold for$39,323,750, one of the highest prices for a privately owned diamond.

The Princie Diamond or the Fancy Intense Pink Diamond - as it was named by the British auction house Christie's - was purchased by an anonymous collector who bid on the telephone.

A statement by Christie's said the sale late Tuesday created a new record for a jewel at the auction house, surpassing the previous record of $24.3 million set in December 2008 for a Whittelsbach diamond.

The Princie diamond possesses the most desirable qualities that today's collectors seek in the jewel: large size, desirable shape, polish, exceptional colour, quality, Golconda origins and a noble history.

The provenance of the gemstone says it was first recorded in the holdings of the royal family of Hyderabad, one of the wealthiest provinces of the Mughal empire.

It was first offered in an auction in 1960 as "The Property of a Gentleman" - later revealed to be the Nizam of Hyderabad himself. The diamond was purchased by the London branch of Van Cleef and Arpels for 46,000 pounds that corresponds to $1.3 million today and highlights the tremendous investment opportunities in the world of diamonds.

The diamond's unique name was bestowed at a party at the firm's Paris store, where it was christened the "Princie" in honor of a 14-year-old former prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother, the erstwhile maharani Sita Devi.

The day-long auction of white diamonds and natural pearls witnessed two other price breakthroughs with a large rectangular cut diamond of 30.32 carats going for $4,435,750. A marquise-cut diamond ring mopped up $3,259,750. The sale of over 290 jewels realized $81,358,700.

Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry, Christie's (Americas and Switzerland), said the sale of the Princie diamond was record-breaking.

"Aside from Christie's sale of the legendary collection of Elizabeth Taylor, this was one of the most successful jewelry auctions ever held in the US," Kadakia said.

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