NEW YORK

AGENCIES

 A 34.64-carat pink diamond has sold at auction in New York for nearly $40 million, setting a new record for Christie’s auction house. Dubbed the “Princie Diamond,” named after a 14-year-old prince of Baroda, the gem is “one of the largest and finest pink diamonds in the world,” with a “fabulous provenance,” Christie’s jewelry chief Francois Curiel said ahead of the sale.

An anonymous telephone bidder paid $39,323,750, or more than $1 million per carat, for the stone from ancient diamond mines in southern India, the auction house said in a statement.

The pink gem was once owned by the royal family of Hyderabad and, since 1960, by the London branch of Van Cleef & Arpels.

The exclusive jewelry firm originally paid 46,000 pounds for it, equivalent to $1.3 million today, Christie’s said, indicating a hefty profit after Tuesday’s sale.

All told, bidders paid more than $80 million for the jewels at the New York auction, including just under $4.5 million for a 30.32 carat rectangular cut D color diamond and $3.3 million for a Harry Winston diamond ring. Previously, the most paid at Christie’s for a diamond was $24.3 million, for the 31-carat Wittelsbach diamond in 2008.

Christie’s said, “The diamond that originated from the ancient Golconda mines in South Central India - was purchased by an anonymous collector bidding by phone.”

It was first recorded in the holdings of the Royal family of Hyderabad, rulers of one of the wealthiest provinces of the Mughal Empire. The stone was passed down from Nizam-ul-Mulk Asif Jah, the first Nizam, to his successors. Nizams were among the richest people in history with the most spectacular collection of diamonds and precious jewels. Their collection included the Jacob diamond, which was valued at £100m in 2008. He used it as a paperweight. Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie’s jewelry department, commented, “One of the largest and finest pink diamonds in the world - the Princie diamond - carries a fabulous provenance, which brings together the legendary names of Golconda, Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharani Sita Devi of Baroda.”