GENEVA - An extremely rare, purple-pink diamond mined in Russia, which Sotheby's described as "a true wonder of nature," sold for $26.6 million on Wednesday, the auction house said.
Sotheby's had estimated that the flawless oval gem, "The Spirit of the Rose," could fetch from $23 million to $38 million at the Geneva sale.
The hammer price was 21 million Swiss francs. With commission, the final price was 24.4 million Swiss francs, or US $26.6 million. It was bought by a telephone bidder who chose to remain anonymous, Sotheby's said.
Jewelry expert Benoit Repellin, who led the sale, said it set a record for a diamond graded fancy vivid purple-pink sold at auction. The stone weighed 14.83 carats and was the largest pink diamond with that color grading to go on the block.
The diamond was named after a ballet performed by the Ballets Russes and its legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky in 1911.
Mined by Russian diamond producer Alrosa in July 2017, it was cut from the largest pink crystal ever found in the country, Sotheby's said.
The diamond was shown in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei.
Colored stones have been greatly valued as an asset class by the super-rich in recent years, with top-quality pink diamonds especially prized.
The Argyle mine in western Australia, which produced the world's largest supply of pink diamonds, halted production last week because of depletion.
"The lucky buyer could well profit from prices soaring for pink diamonds in the coming years thanks to increased rarity," Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77 Diamonds, Europe's largest online diamond jeweler, said in a statement.
Naturally colored diamonds occur because they possess a particular lattice structure that refracts light to produce colored, rather than white, stones.