NATIONAL JEWELER, October 22, 2009 — New York–In an event Christie’s is terming “an auction to remember,” an anonymous buyer paid $7.7 million for the 32.01-carat D-flawless Annenberg Diamond on Wednesday, well surpassing the stone’s estimated sale price of $3 million to $5 million.

The diamond, owned by philanthropist Leonore “Lee” Annenberg, who died in March at the age of 91, was mounted in a ring by Manhattan jeweler David Webb.

The Annenberg Diamond - Asscher Cut

The Annenberg Diamond - Asscher Cut

Its sale set a new, world-record auction price of $240,000 per carat for a colorless diamond, according to Christie’s.

Overall, Christie’s “Jewels: The New York Sale and the Annenberg Diamond” and “Rare Jewels and Objets d’Art: A Superb Collection” held on Wednesday in New York City, totaled $46.5 million and achieved a combined sell-through rate of 85 percent by lot and 94 percent by value.

In a press release, Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry at Christie’s New York, said the activity at the auction defied these recessionary times.

“For three-and-a-half hours, between 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 21 at Christie’s, it was as if the recession never happened,” he said. “Virtually every lot exceeded its estimate, and the $7.7 million Annenberg Diamond astonished even the most seasoned diamond dealer. It was an auction to remember. And if this were not enough, the sale started again at 2:30 p.m. and continued until 7:00 p.m., giving collectors opportunity to acquire exceptional masterpieces from the superb collection of Rare Jewels and Objets d’Art.”

Also sold on Wednesday was a 16.33-carat circular-cut diamond with E color and flawless clarity, purchased by a private Asian dealer for $1.6 million, or $97,000 per carat.

Among the pieces exceeding estimates were a belle epoque diamond and rock crystal bow brooch by Cartier, which was expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000, but was purchased by a member of the U.S. trade for $1.1 million, and a Harry Winston emerald and diamond necklace, circa 1956, expected to fetch between $500,000 to $700,000 that sold for $950,500.

(Article courtesy of National Jeweler.)