• Switzerland's news in English

Tycoon spends $48m on 'Blue Moon' for daughter

AFP · 12 Nov 2015, 08:48

Published: 12 Nov 2015 08:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 12.03-carat diamond was bought by Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau who immediately renamed it "The Blue Moon of Josephine" after his seven-year-old daughter.
The sale comes just a day after Property tycoon Lau, who last year was found guilty of bribery in neighbouring Macau, spent $28.5 million buying a rare 16.08-carat pink diamond -- the largest of its kind to ever go under the hammer -- from rival auction house Christie's, which he rebaptised "Sweet Josephine".

A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Lau confirmed the two purchases to AFP.
"The first was the pink one 'Sweet Josephine' and the second one was the 'Blue Moon of Josephine'," she said.
David Bennett, head of Sotheby's international jewellery division, said the "Blue Moon" sale broke several records, making the gemstone "the most expensive diamond, regardless of colour, and the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction".
The jewel, set in a ring, was sold for 48.6 million Swiss francs ($48.4 million, 40 million euros), including fees, with a starting bid of 43.2 million Swiss francs.
It also fetched the highest-ever price per carat, he said, with the buyer shelling out 4.02 million Swiss francs per carat.
The previous world record for a jewel sold at auction was held by the 24.78-carat "Graff Pink" diamond, which was sold by Southeby's for $46.2 million in November 2010.
This is not the first time Lau has bought rare jewels for his daughter. In 2009, he reportedly spent $9.5 million on another blue diamond, which he renamed the "Star of Josephine".
Josephine is his daughter with girlfriend and former aid Chan Hoi-wan, according to local media. The 64-year-old also has two children with long-time partner Yvonne Lui.
In March last year, he was found guilty of bribing a former minister in the gambling enclave of Macau in an attempt to purchase a prime development site.
Lau, who was not in Macau for the sentencing, is unlikely serve time as the two semi-autonomous Chinese cities do not have an extradition agreement.
He was locked in a telephone bidding war for eight minutes for "Blue Moon" before the hammer went down, with the precious jewel staying within its pre-sale estimate of $35-55 million.
The diamond was discovered in South Africa in January last year and was the largest cushion-shaped blue stone in the fancy vivid category to ever appear at auction.
Experts say the market for coloured diamonds has grown increasingly robust and both the blue and pink diamonds garnered a lot of attention in the run up to this week's jewel sales in Geneva.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available