Graff diamond auction sets new record

By Jennifer Lipman, November 17, 2010
Graff jewellers in Mayfair

Graff jewellers in Mayfair

Forget the 18-carat blue sapphire ring Prince William has given his new fiancée Kate Middleton. Another precious gem has captured attention this week.

British Jewish jeweller Laurence Graff paid more than £29 million for a 24.78-carat “fancy intense pink” diamond at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva.

The price shattered world records for a jewel sold at auction.

The rare gem, which the billionaire labelled the "Graff Pink”, was on the market for the first time since legendary diamond dealer Harry Winston sold it in 1950.

Mr Graff said he was delighted to have beaten the three other bidders competing for the diamond.

He said: “It is the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in the history of my career.”

It is not the first time he has paid such a high price for a jewel. In 2008 he spent £15 million on a blue 35.56-carat “Wittelsbach-Graff” diamond

Mr Graff, the UK’s number one diamond dealer, is the 36th richest man in the country, according to the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List.

In what experts called the biggest jewel heist in British history, last year armed robbers stole £40 million worth of gems from Graff jewellers in Mayfair.

Last updated: 12:00pm, November 17 2010