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August 4, 2009

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Christie's to auction pink stone

A RARE, 5-carat pink diamond will be sold in Hong Kong in December by Christie's, which expects the stone to hover near world record prices, thanks in part to the buying prowess of top Asian jewelry collectors.

The stone, set in a so-called "cushion-cut" ring by famed jewellers Graff Diamonds, is expected to fetch between US$5-US$7 million, in reach of the current world auction record for a pink diamond - a 19.66-carat stone that sold in Geneva for US$7.4 million in 1994.

While just a quarter the size of the record-holding pink gem and not quite flawless, the stone's "vivid pink" is viewed as near perfect and Christie's has touted it as one of the best colored stones to appear in recent years.

"There are pink diamonds and then there are pink diamonds," said Francois Curiel, the international head of Christie's jewelry department. "It is extremely rare for a stone of such top quality to appear on the market with top notes in color, cut, clarity and carat weight. This 5-carat vivid pink gem combines the best of all criteria," Curiel added.

While the South African-mined diamond isn't quite rated flawless given minor blemishes, Christie's said these could be removed by minor repolishing.

Christie's has a track record of putting rare polished stones up for sale in Asia, given its confidence in the depth of the Asian market for the world's top gemstones and artwork.

Last May, before the financial crisis began to bite the global auction market, Christie's sold a squash ball-sized, 101.27-carat diamond in Hong Kong for US$6.2 million.

"Asian collectors rank among our most important group of buyers," said Kate Malin, a spokeswoman for Christie's in Asia.


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