GENEVA, Switzerland - A flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond known as the "Pink Star" is up for grabs at a Sotheby's auction in November with an asking price of US$60 million (S$75 million, 49 million euros), the highest ever sought for a gemstone.
David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, said the diamond belonged in "the ranks of the earth's greatest natural treasures".
"It is difficult to exaggerate the rarity of vivid pink diamonds weighing only five carats, so this 59.60 carat stone is simply off any scale," he said in a statement.
The sparkling oval-cut rock, which has received the highest possible colour and clarity rating from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), was presented to reporters Wednesday and will be part of the auction house's Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on November 13.
Set on a ring, the gem measures 2.69 by 2.06 centimetres (1.06 by 0.81 inches), and weighs 11.92 grammes (0.026 pounds). It would rake in around US$5.0 million per gramme or US$1.0 million per carat if Sotheby's receives its asking price.
At a luxury Geneva hotel, amid tight security, a model gracefully turns her hand to allow the glimmering stone to catch the light.
"It's very flattering, it's very feminin. It's the colour of rose champagne," Bennett told AFP.
Listed as an internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond, the now plum-sized shimmering gem was 132.5 carats in the rough when it was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, Sotheby's said, not specifying which African country it came from.
It was then cut and polished over a period of two years by Steinmetz Diamonds, and was called the "Steinmetz Pink" when it was first unveiled to the public in 2003.
The all-but translucent rock was renamed after it was first sold four years later for an undisclosed sum to an unidentified buyer.