'Martian Pink' diamond fetches $17m in Hong Kong

The "Martian Pink" diamond fetched $17.4 million at auction in Hong Kong this week when it went on sale for the first time in 36 years, more than double the estimated price.

Billed as the "largest round fancy intense pink diamond" ever to come up for auction, the stunning gem was the highlight of a Christies' jewellery auction that raised $80 million on Tuesday, the auction house said.

"Having appeared on the market for the first time in 36 years, The Martian Pink sold by Harry Winston in 1976 created a sensation during its worldwide exhibition tour and achieved a staggering US$17.4m after a 10-minute bidding war," said Vickie Sek of Christie's Asia.

The diamond was bought by an anonymous buyer, the auction house said.

"The US$80m auction was highlighted with top prices across the board, culminating in a world record price of US$551,000 per carat for a perfect Burmese ruby of 6.04 carats," Sek said.

Hong Kong has emerged as the world's third biggest auction centre after New York and London, thanks largely to the growing luxury market in mainland China.

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