Soaring prices at Geneva jewellery and gems sale defy economic gloom.
The 35-carat Beau Sancy diamond has sold at a Geneva auction for $9.7m (£6m); double its reserve price.
The history of the pear-shaped, rose-cut gem can be traced back over 400 years. It was worn by Marie de Medici, consort of King Henry IV and Queen of France, at her coronation in 1610.
The crisis in the Eurozone, which has seen billions wiped off stock market values this week, was forgotten at the Sotheby’s auction in Switzerland as five bidders from around the world battled for the diamond.
Philipp Herzog von Wuerttenberg, chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, said after the sale that it was the Beau Sancy’s heritage that drove up its price. “You are buying an historic work of art, you are not buying a diamond,” he said. "I fell in love with it when I saw it. It’s the cut, it’s the history."
The Sotheby’s auction included other historic gems, including a 7.3-carat fancy yellow diamond that was once owned by Bonnie Prince Charlie who led the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising in 1745 that sought to restore an absolute monarchy to the UK. The diamond sold for almost $1m.
A pearl and diamond tiara created in 1920 by French jeweller Chaumet for the marriage of Prince Alexandre Murat to Yvonne Gillois sold for $3.8 million.