Jeweler Harry Winston, which was acquired earlier this year by Swatch Group, has bought a colourless, flawless 101.73-carat diamond for a record $26.7 million at an auction in Geneva, auction house Christie’s said.
Christie’s representative Raul Kadakia told reporters after the sale Harry Winston was the buyer of the diamond that on Wednesday evening smashed the previous auction-price record for a diamond in its category by more than $10 million.
“Twenty-three million (Swiss) francs! Your last chance! Twenty-three million, sold!” shouted Francois Curiel, the head of Christie’s jewellery division shouted, referring to the $23.5 million price before tax and commission, and clinching the deal in front of some 150 people gathered for the auction at a luxury Geneva hotel.
As the first ever buyer of the diamond, Harry Winston had the privilege of naming it and decided to call it “Winston Legacy”, Kadakia said, pointing out this was the diamond dealer’s first major purchase since it was snapped up by the world’s leading watchmaker for $1 billion in March.
The American Institute of Gemology has handed the Harry Legacy the top colourless grade “D” and the best clarity grade, “flawless”, which is characterised by its “absolute symmetry”, according to Christie’s.
The diamond, sold by a diamond merchant, was 236 carats in the rough when extracted from the Jwaneng mine in Botswana, before it was meticulously sculpted for 21 months, Christie’s said.
The previous auction-price record-holder in the category was the 84.37-carat Chloe round diamond, snapped up at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva in 2007 by Guess Jeans founder Georges Marciano for $16.2 million.