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Heart-shaped diamond fetches about $13.3 million at auction

Associated Press

GENEVA -- A heart-shaped diamond billed as the largest of its kind to be auctioned off sold for less than the pre-sale estimate Wednesday, fetching a hammer price of about $13.3 million.

The 92-carat "La Legende" was the standout piece among some 250 jewels put on the block during the day at Christie's in Geneva. It had been expected to go for $14 million to $20 million.

The diamond dangles from a pearl necklace in a piece designed by Paris' centuries-old Boehmer & Bassenge jewelers.

Christie's said that including the buyer's premium, the Legende sold for $15 million -- a new high for a heart-shaped diamond sold at auction. The previous record had been set six years ago at Christie's, with a 56-carat stone that sold for $10.9 million.

Francois Curiel, the Asia-Pacific chairman for Christie's, said the sale overall reaped $93 million.

He declined to identify the buyer of the standout stone. But he said those who made purchases in the auction came from all around.

"There were quite a few Chinese buyers, but maybe a little bit less then we've had normally," he said. "America and Europe dominated."

The sale capped two days of high-profile jewelry auctions in Geneva.

A 14.54-carat flawless Fancy Vivid Blue diamond earring that was the headline offering Tuesday at rival Sotheby's also fell short of its pre-sale estimate. It was paired with a pear-shaped pink diamond earring. Together, the pair went for more than $57 million.

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