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Pink Diamond Sells For 39.3 Million Dollars At Christie's New York City Auction House

By Staff Writer | April 18, 2013 05:58 PM EDT

NEW YORK -- A rare pink diamond, from the mines of Golconda in South India and once owned by Indian royalty, has sold for $39.3 million at Christie's auction in New York City.

Selling for $39,323,750 with premium means it costs $1,135,000 per carat! 

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The price for the 34.65-carat diamond that sold at Christie's on Tuesday was the second highest ever for a jewel sold at auction. Unfortuantely, the seller and buyer were anonymous.  I would love to know who's carrying around that kind of money.

The buyer purchased the Diamond at Christies, making the bid over the telephone to protect his anonymity.

The gem is "one of the largest and finest pink diamonds in the world" with a "fabulous provenance," Christie's jeweler chief, Francois Curiel said.

Though the people involved aren't known, the diamond certainly is. The gem, nicknamed the Princie Diamond, was discovered 300 years ago in the Golconda mines in India.

It once belonged to the Nizam of Hyderabad, an Indian prince that ruled the wealthiest provinces of the Mughal Empire.  The Nazim had 149 children and was named the richest man in the world ranked by Time magazine in 1937. Around the time of India's independence, the Nizam lost power and needed funds. He sold the Princie through Sotheby's to an unidentified buyer.

The diamond was in then in possession of Italian senator Renato Angiolillo. 

In 1960, the diamond was purchased at auction by the London branch of the jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. The exclusive jewelery firm originally paid 46,000 pounds for it, equivalent to $1.3 million today, Christie's said, indicating a hefty profit after Tuesday's sale.

Its name was given at a party at the firm's Paris store. It was called Princie in honor of the 14-year-old prince of Baroda, who attended the party with his mother, Maharani Sita Devi.

Bidders paid more than $80 million for the jewels at the New York auction, including just under $4.5 million for a 30.32 carat rectangular cut D color diamond and $3.3 million for a Harry Winston diamond ring.

Previously, the most paid at Christie's for a diamond was $24.3 million, for the 31-carat Wittelsbach diamond in 2008.

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