TWO GIANT diamonds were sold for more than 6million (R60m) to a Middle Eastern buyer at an auction last week, bucking a wave of gloom that has taken the shine off luxury sales.
The Ponahalo diamonds, mined in South Africa and named after a tribal word meaning “vision”, sold at Christie’s in New York at the end of an auction overshadowed by massive losses on world stock markets.
The Ponahalo weighed 316 carats when discovered in its rough form in 2005. Two separate diamonds were cut, weighing 70.87 and 102.11 carats, about the size and shape of chocolates.
The first sold for R21.5m, including commission, and the second for a total of R41.1m after a bidding war.
Although the winning bid came in anonymously to a telephone operator , the buyer was apparently so proud that he wanted to be revealed.
“The buyer of the diamond was Mr Amer Radwan of Dubai and he has asked us to relate to you that he purchased this diamond,” auctioneer Rahul Kadakia announced, prompting surprised laughter and a few gasps.
The diamond industry now fears a painful end to the year. “The now inevitable economic slowdown will impact the entire diamond pipeline,” the industry website idexonline.com said. — Sapa-AFP
Dispatch Online - South Africa