Rare Blue Diamond for Record $48.5 Million

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A Hong Kong billionaire tycoon who has been convicted of corruption paid a total of $77 million at auctions in Geneva for two large and rare colored diamonds for his daughter, his office said Thursday, November 12.

Joseph Lau was the top bidder for the 12.03-carat “Blue Moon” diamond that sold Wednesday night for a record-setting $48.5 million, said a spokeswoman for Lau, who declined to give her name.

Sotheby’s said the buyer promptly renamed the pricier gem “The Blue Moon of Josephine.”

Lau was also the buyer of a 16.08-carat vivid pink diamond that sold for $28.5 million auctioned by Christie’s the night before, she said.

The buyer renamed that diamond “Sweet Josephine,” Christie’s said.

“Yes, the two diamonds are bought by Joseph Lau,” said the spokeswoman, who added that they were named after Lau’s 7-year-old daughter.

The blue diamond, set in a ring, was said to be among the largest known fancy vivid blue diamonds and was the showpiece gem at the Sotheby’s jewelry auction.

The Blue Moon — named in reference to its rarity, playing off the expression “once in a blue moon” — topped the previous record of $46.2 million set five years ago by the Graff Pink, Sotheby’s said. The diamond also set a new record of more than $4 million per carat, capping the daylong high-end jewelry sale that reaped roughly $140 million.