Flawless 13.22-carat blue diamond sells for $29m at auction

This photo taken on April 29, 2014, shows a Christie's auction house employee holding "The Blue", the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world, during a photocall at the auction house in London. The world's largest blue diamond known as "The
This photo taken on April 29, 2014, shows a Christie's auction house employee holding "The Blue", the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world, during a photocall at the auction house in London. The world's largest blue diamond known as "The Blue" was sold at a Christie's auction for US$23 million in Geneva on May 14, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

GENEVA (AFP) - A spectacular blue diamond, the largest in its category, fetched a total of US$23.79 million (S$29.7 4 million) at a Christie's auction in Geneva on Wednesday.

The sale of the 13.22 carat rock, known simply as "The Blue", came a day after Sotheby's sold a 100-carat flawless yellow diamond for US$16.3 million - with both sales including commission.

When the world's largest orange diamond went under the hammer last November at Christie's in Geneva, it raked in US$35.5 million.

Such marquee sales underline the growing popularity of coloured diamonds.

Once considered a curiosity, they are rarer than white diamonds and now attract higher prices per carat than even the most flawless, translucent stone.

The US jeweller Harry Winston bought the blue diamond, described by Christie's as the largest fancy vivid blue diamond in the world, from an anonymous seller.

"Fancy vivid" is the top rating for coloured diamonds. The company plans to rename the 13.22-carat pear-shaped rock the "Winston Blue".

Harry Winston was bought by watch group Swatch last year.