A stunning 59.6 carat diamond known as the "Pink Star" sold for $71.2 million at a Sotheby's auction Tuesday in Hong Kong, setting a new world record for any diamond or jewel, according to the auction house. The oval mixed-cut diamond smashed the $60 million pre-sale estimate set by Sotheby's when it went on the block, reports the AP. The sale comes three years after the gem was sold for a record $83 million at another Sotheby's auction in Geneva; the buyer later defaulted. The gem is the largest flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. Three telephone bidders competed for the stone before it was sold for a hammer price of $63 million, not including the buyer's premium.
"We're very happy," says Sotheby's Asia Chairwoman Patti Wong, who identifies the winning bidder as Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook. Wong adds the company is not worried about another default because the bidders were vetted and have longstanding relationships with Sotheby's. Until now, the most expensive diamond ever sold at auction was the "Oppenheimer Blue," which fetched $57.6 million last May. The previous world auction record for a pink diamond was $46.2 million for the 24.78 carat "Graff Pink" in 2010. The "Pink Star" was mined in Africa by De Beers in 1999 as a raw 132.5 carat gem and cut over a two-year period. (A man found Sierra Leone's second-largest diamond ever, then gave it away.)