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‘World’s largest’ pink diamond sold in Geneva

A rare pink diamond derived from the biggest raw stone of the colour ever found in Russia was sold for $26.6 million on Wednesday at Sotheby's in Geneva.

'World's largest' pink diamond sold in Geneva
A picture taken on November 6, 2020 in Geneva shows the “The Spirit of the Rose” a rare 14.83 carats vivid purple pink diamond. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Dubbed “The Spirit of the Rose”, the 14.83-carat stone's final sale price including commission set a world record for a purple-pink diamond. 

It took just a few minutes for the bids to reach 21 million Swiss francs after the marble-sized stone came up in an online auction, with the final buyer remaining anonymous.

Sotheby's auctioneer Benoit Repellin called the diamond a “wonder of nature” and added that prices for the pink gems are going up as they become increasingly rare.

The “Spirit of the Rose” was faceted from a 27.85-carat stone found in 2017 by diamond mining firm Alrosa in Russia's Sakha republic in northeast Siberia.

It took around a year of painstaking work to cut the finished diamond to shape while preserving its pink colour. Pink diamonds are the rarest of the precious gems and the most in demand on the global market.

The world record for a pink diamond dates back to 2017, when a stone known as the CTF Star Pink was sold in Hong Kong for $71.2 million.

Five of the 10 most expensive diamonds ever sold have been pink, Sotheby's said, with all sold within the past decade.

Just this month, the biggest pink diamond mine in the world stopped production, as Australia's Argyle deposit that accounted for more than 90 percent of global supply was exhausted.

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COST OF LIVING

Can I have a fire in my backyard or courtyard in Switzerland?

The winter months are on their way and the weather is getting colder. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, can you light a fire?

White marshmallows toast over a fire
If you want to toast marshmallows in your backyard in Switzerland this winter, first make sure it's OK. Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Even if you own a property, the rules for what you can and cannot do in Switzerland can be relatively restrictive. 

As we covered in the following article, laws or tenancy rules can prevent you from doing several types of activities in your own backyard, including felling trees or washing your car. 

You can also be prevented from certain activities on particular days. For instance, rules, bylaws and tenancy arrangements may prevent you from mowing your lawn or hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. 

READ MORE: What am I allowed to do in my backyard or apartment courtyard in Switzerland?

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to stock up the fire pit, fire basket or fire bowl with wood and set it alight. 

The rules for lighting fires are also relatively complex. What you are allowed to do will depend on your canton, your tenancy arrangement and the type of fire. 

Can I light a fire on my own property in Switzerland? 

If you’re living in one of the few Swiss houses to have a fireplace, then you are presumably allowed to use it, unless tenancy regulations prevent it at certain times. 

You are also usually allowed to have a barbecue or grill either on your balcony or in your backyard, provided the noise and smoke is not excessive. 

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Switzerland?

Whether or not you are allowed to have a fire in your backyard however will depend on the rules in your canton. 

You are generally prohibited from burning any waste in Switzerland, other than typical forest or garden waste (i.e. wood, grass, twigs, sticks and leaves). 

That however can also be restricted at certain times of the year.

In Zurich, for instance, fires in backyards are only permitted from March to October, meaning that you will need to find other ways to stay warm in the winter months in Switzerland’s most populous canton. 

Even if lighting fires is permitted, you may want to check with the rules of your rental contract to see if you are technically allowed a fire. 

What about fires in the forest or open parks? 

A campfire might also sound like a nice way to spend a winter evening, but this may be restricted or completely prohibited depending on the circumstance. 

There is no federal ban on fires in forests and other outdoor areas, provided you are not burning waste (other than garden waste etc) and you are not producing excessive emissions. 

The rules are the same on August 1st, Swiss National Day, where special bonfires usually require a permit. 

Note that there are special rules for burning old Christmas trees, which is prevented by law. 

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