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Pink Star diamond auctioned for record $104 million

An unidentified Sotheby's employee displaying "The Pink Star" diamond weighing 59.6 carat, during a preview at Sotheby's, in Geneva, Switzerland on Sept 25, 2013. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a
An unidentified Sotheby's employee displaying "The Pink Star" diamond weighing 59.6 carat, during a preview at Sotheby's, in Geneva, Switzerland on Sept 25, 2013. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone. -- FILE PHOTO: AP
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, Mr David Bennett (centre), conducts the auction of the "Pink Star" diamond on Nov 13, 2012 in Geneva. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 mill
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, Mr David Bennett (centre), conducts the auction of the "Pink Star" diamond on Nov 13, 2012 in Geneva. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone. -- PHOTO: AFP
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, Mr David Bennett (second right), conducts the auction of the "Pink Star" diamond on Nov 13, 2012 in Geneva. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$8
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, Mr David Bennett (second right), conducts the auction of the "Pink Star" diamond on Nov 13, 2012 in Geneva. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone. -- PHOTO: AFP
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, Mr David Bennett (centre), conducts the auction of the "Pink Star" diamond on Nov 13, 2012 in Geneva. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 mill
Chairman of auctioneers Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, Mr David Bennett (centre), conducts the auction of the "Pink Star" diamond on Nov 13, 2012 in Geneva. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone. -- PHOTO: AFP
Model Annabeth Murphy-Thomas poses with The Pink Star diamond at Sotheby's auction house in central London in this Oct 24, 2013 file photo. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gems
Model Annabeth Murphy-Thomas poses with The Pink Star diamond at Sotheby's auction house in central London in this Oct 24, 2013 file photo. The "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Nov 13 for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS
A Wednesday, Sept 25, 2013 photo from files showing an unidentified Sotheby's employee displaying "The Pink Star" diamond weighing 59.6 carat, during a preview at Sotheby's, in Geneva, Switzerland. A plum-sized diamond known as the "Pink Star" w
A Wednesday, Sept 25, 2013 photo from files showing an unidentified Sotheby's employee displaying "The Pink Star" diamond weighing 59.6 carat, during a preview at Sotheby's, in Geneva, Switzerland. A plum-sized diamond known as the "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Wednesday for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

GENEVA (AFP) - A plum-sized diamond known as the "Pink Star" was auctioned in Geneva on Wednesday for US$83 million (S$104 million), a world record for a gemstone.

Mr David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby's jewellery division in Europe and the Middle East, brought down the hammer in a Geneva hotel after an intense, five-minute bidding race.

The winning bidder, a bearded man apparently in his 60s sporting a Jewish skullcap, was pitted in a one-on-race against a telephone competitor.

The bidding in Geneva was conducted in Swiss francs, starting at 48 million (S$65 million) and working its way upwards million-by-million.

There was a long silence as the price reached 67 million Swiss francs, before the in-room bidder came back with the winning 68 million.

Commission included, the final price was 76 million francs - the equivalent of $83 million.

There were up to 150 people in the auction room who erupted into applause as the theme tune from the "Pink Panther" was played as a tongue-in-cheek gesture.

The winning bidder declined to identify himself to Agence France-Presse but confirmed that he had been representing another individual, whose name and location he refused to reveal.

The diamond had been estimated at US$60 million.

Three years ago, Sotheby's set an auction record of US$46.2 million - commission included - for a diamond when it sold the "Graff Pink" gemstone.