Tibetan statue fetches top bids at Swiss auction

A golden figurine of a Buddhist deity dating back as many as 700 years has sold for more than 3.24 million francs ($3.4 million) at auction in Zurich, far surpassing its estimate.

Tibetan statue fetches top bids at Swiss auction
Photo: Koller (Detail)

The fire-gilt copper statuette of the many-armed Pancaraksha goddess was bagged over the telephone by a Chinese bidder for 19 times its estimate, auction house Koller said on Thursday.

The auctioneer said the sale price was among the highest ever for a Tibetan statue.

The statuette, described as being from the Nepalese school, was crafted in the 14th or 15th century.

Koller said the 32-centimetre (almost 13-inch) figurine had attracted the attention of no fewer than nine Chinese buyers and one Briton when it was auctioned off along with other Asian art last month.

The Swiss collector who offered the Tibetan statue for sale also made a tidy sum on a 14th-century bronze from Nepal that raked in more than 600,000 francs, far more than its 90,000 franc reserve.

 At the same auction, where sales totalled 7.5 million francs, an 18th century Indian miniature shot past its 5,000-franc estimate to fetch more than 200,000 francs.

Once a backwater of the international market, Asian art has boomed in popularity.

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Rare pink diamond to go under hammer in Geneva

An extremely rare pink diamond will be auctioned in Geneva on November 11 by Sotheby's, which says it is worth between $23 and $38 million.

Rare pink diamond to go under hammer in Geneva
A model poses with the “The Spirit of the Rose” diamond during a press preview on Friday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Named “The Spirit of the Rose” after a famous Russian ballet, the 14.83-carat diamond mined in Russia is the biggest ever to go under the hammer in its category — “fancy vivid purple-pink”.
The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size,” Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby's jewellery division, said in a statement. “Only one per cent of all pink diamonds are larger than 10-carats.”
Speaking to AFP, Benoit Repellin, head of fine jewellery auctions at Sotheby's Geneva, said the oval-shaped diamond was “completely pure.”
The rough diamond was unearthed by Russia's Alrosa — one of the world's leading diamond producers — in the Republic of Sakha in the northeast of the country in July 2017.
Repellin said it took a painstaking year for cutting masters to turn the diamond into its polished form.
Sotheby's said the world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel was the “CTF Pink Star”, a 59.60-carat oval pink diamond that sold for $71.2 million in Hong Kong in 2017.
According to Repellin, five out of the 10 most valuable diamonds ever sold at auction were pink.
The sale of this gem coincides with the closure of the world's largest pink diamond mine in Australia after it exhausted its reserves of the precious stones.
The Argyle mine, in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, churned out more than 90 percent of the world's pink diamonds.