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Diamond “Blue Moon”: new record sales

A convicted Hong Kong billionaire spent $48.4m (£31.8m) buying a 12.03-carat gemstone dubbed the Blue Moon Diamond for his seven-year-old daughter at an auction in Geneva.

The same property tycoon spent $28.5m (£18.7m) on a spectacular pink diamond known as “The Sweet Josephine” just a day earlier.

Auction house Sotheby’s did not identify the buyer, revealing only that the diamonds were purchased by a private collector from Hong Kong.

However, the businessman’s office confirmed he was behind both purchases.

“Yes, the two diamonds are bought by Joseph Lau,” said a spokeswoman.

The blue gem was reportedly promptly renamed “The Blue Moon of Josephine”, after his seven-year-old daughter, the youngest of his five children.

Mr Lau, who according to Forbes has an estimated fortune of $9.8bn (£6.4bn) was convicted of corruption charges in a Macau court last year and sentenced to more than five years in prison.

He did not attend the trial and has remained free by avoiding travel to the former Portuguese colony which has no extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Both cities are specially administered Chinese regions.

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The sale price for the blue diamond was a record for any gemstone sold at auction and also per carat.

Sotheby’s revealed only that the diamond was purchased by a private collector from Hong Kong.

It was expected that the jewel would fetch between $35m (£23m) and $55m (£36m) and its final price surpasses the $46m (£30.2m) record set by a stone named “The Graff Pink” five years ago.

The 29.62-carat blue diamond was found in the Cullinan Mine in South Africa in January last year.

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