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Geneva--World auction records were eclipsed Wednesday when a 12.03-carat fancy vivid blue diamond sold for $48.5 million.

The diamond’s original name, the “Blue Moon,” came after the expression “Once in a blue moon,” Sotheby’s said.Sold at Sotheby’s Geneva auction, the diamond known as the “Blue Moon” set new records for price for any jewel at auction and price-per-carat for any diamond, at $4 million per carat. 

A Hong Kong billionaire bought the diamond and renamed it the “Blue Moon of Josephine,” after his 7-year-old daughter. 

The price paid for the Blue Moon diamond broke the previous record for any diamond or gemstone at auction set by the $46.2 million sale of the “Graff Pink” at Sotheby’s in November 2010. Laurence Graff bought that diamond, a 24.78-carat fancy intense pink. 

The record seemingly had been broken in November 2013, when New York diamond cutter Isaac Wolf bought a 59.60-carat fancy vivid pink diamond for $83.2 million, also at Sotheby’s. Several months later, however, it was revealed that Wolf couldn’t pay, and the auction house took back the stone. 

The Blue Moon was not the only diamond to make headlines this week and, interestingly, not the only one named Josephine. 

A 16.08-carat diamond sold for $28.5 million at Christie’s Geneva on Tuesday, setting a new record for a vivid pink diamond. The buyer, who also is from Asia, named it the “Sweet Josephine” after the sale.

Overall, Sotheby’s Nov. 11 auction totaled $139.1 million, with 83 percent sold by lot. 

An 8.24-carat fancy vivid purple-pink diamond set into a ring was purchased by an anonymous buyer for $13.9 million, and a world auction record was set for a fancy orangey-pink diamond when a 15.20-carat diamond of that hue sold for just more than $4 million. 

Another colored diamond, a 22.43-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond set into a ring, garnered $2.6 million. 

A complete list of results from the sale can be found on the Sotheby’s website.


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