New York- An eye-popping, 100-carat diamond, the highlight of a magnificent jewels sale in New York on Tuesday, sold for US$22.1 million, Sotheby's auction house said.
The perfect classic emerald-cut D colour diamond, which is about the size of a walnut and was mined by De Beers in southern Africa, was purchased by an anonymous buyer via a telephone bid. It had a pre-sale estimate of US$19 million to US$25 million.
Gary Schuler, the head of Sotheby's jewellery department in New York, said that the gem is the definition of perfection. "The colour is whiter than white . . . and so transparent that I can only compare it to a pool of water," he explained.
The US$22.1 million price, which includes the buyer's premium, fell short of the US$30.6 million world record price paid for a 118.28 carat white diamond in Hong Kong in 2013.
Sotheby's said that only six perfect diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have been sold at auction in the last 25 years.
A flawless pink diamond, dubbed the "Pink Star", set a world record price for a gemstone at auction when it sold for US$83.02 million in Geneva in 2013.
Mr Schuler said that the distinguishing characteristic of the huge diamond sold on Tuesday is its size and beautiful shape.
Originally weighing over 200 carats, its owner spent more than a year perfecting its cut and polish.
Sotheby's said that from 1990 to 2013 the price per carat for a 100-carat perfect diamond had risen from US$125,000 to US$260,000.
The diamond was the top selling item in a sale of more than 350 jewels that were expected to sell for a total of more than US$50 million.
Other highlights include a pear-shaped purplish pink diamond weighing 6.24 carats that has a pre-sale estimate of up to US$3.5 million as well as a blue diamond and coloured diamond ring weighing 6.06 carats that could bring in as much as US$4.5 million.
Two Cartier Art Deco jewels, a rare platinum, emerald, sapphire, lapis lazuli and diamond pendant necklace as well as a ruby, emerald and diamond bracelet, will also be auctioned.
The Baron de Rothschild necklace is expected to sell for up to US$2.2 million and the bracelet has a pre-sale estimate of up to US$1.8 million. Two Kashmir sapphire and diamond rings could each bring in US$1 million or more, according to Sotheby's.