Egg-sized diamond sold to Hong Kong jeweller for a record $35m

A Hong Kong jeweller paid a record price for an uncut diamond yesterday when it bought the egg-sized "Cullinan Heritage" for $35.3m (£23m).

Chow Tai Fook Jewellery emerged as the successful bidder for the 507-carat diamond, the 19th biggest ever found, after a tender held by Petra Diamonds. The Jersey-based group mined the diamond at its Cullinan site in South Africa in September last year.

"We are obviously ecstatic," said Adonis Pouroulis, the chairman and founder of Petra Diamonds. "Of course, in a sealed tender you never know how well it's going to go, but if you consider that the next highest price ever paid for a rough diamond is $18.4m, this is a great result."

The value of a diamond is not determined by its size, but by its clarity. Mr Pouroulis described the Cullinan Heritage as "flawless". The selling price also dwarfed the expectations of analysts, who had predicted a value of between $25m and $28m.

Mr Pouroulis said that the Cullinan Heritage had cost just $250 to produce. The amount paid for the Cullinan Heritage also eclipses the previous record for an uncut diamond. In December 2008 Graff Diamonds paid $18.4m for the 478-carat "Leseli La Letšeng". It was mined in Lesotho by another British listed company, Gem Diamonds.

Petra plans to reinvest the money in its South African operations. The company currently mines 1.2 million carats a year and plans to increase production to 3 million carats a year by 2014. The group will also use the proceeds to develop the nearby Williamson mine.

Petra was part of a consortium that bought the Cullinan mine from the diamond giant De Beers for $148m in 2007. The group recently acquired the 37 per cent of the mine it did not already own. Last year, the company received a record $9.4m for a 7-carat blue diamond produced at the mine.

Cullinan has an enviable history of producing the world's largest diamonds. The biggest ever, the 3,016 carat "Cullinan", was mined there in 1905. It was bought by the Transvaal government and given as a gift to Edward VII. It was eventually cut to form the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa. They were then placed in the Sceptre with the Cross, which forms part of the Crown Jewels.

Yesterday's sale also confirms Chinese and Hong Kong investors as major investors in the precious gem market. China is now the world's second biggest diamond buyer, having overtaken Japan last year. Petra's blue diamond was bought by another Hong Kong investor, Joseph Lau.

Unlike most other commodities, diamonds have continued to rise during the economic downturn. In the first 11 months of 2009, diamond prices increased by 48 per cent, according to the independent valuer WWW International Diamond Consultants.

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Life and Style
It is believed that historically rising rates of alcohol consumption have contributed to the increase
food + drink
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style