The diamond went unsold at first, with the bids too low, before the Sotheby's auctioneer unexpectedly announced that the gem was going back under the hammer, explaining that there had earlier been some confusion over the currency displayed.
The sole bidder was a woman in the auction room who bought it for 14.5 million francs, which the auctioneer described as "a very good price".
The pre-sale estimate had been $15-25 million.
The Graff Vivid Yellow is one of the largest yellow diamonds in the world, it's colour given as "daffodil yellow."
It was one of dozens of items sold at Sotheby's "Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels" auction, which brought in a total of 125.5 million francs, the auctioneer said.
Another highlight of the Geneva spring auction season will be Wednesday's sale by Christie's of "The Blue", a spectacular 13.22-carat diamond estimated to go for $21-25 million.
Sotheby's David Bennett discusses the Graff diamond, along with three of the others sold on Tuesday: