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Farnese blue diamond sells for $6.7 million

CNN logo CNN 5/16/2018 Oscar Holland, CNN
a close up of text on a black background© Courtesy Sotheby's

A rare blue diamond, passed between Europe's royal houses for more than 300 years, has been sold at auction for $6.7 million.

Known as the Farnese Blue, the pear-shaped 6.16-carat jewel surpassed pre-auction estimates after going under the hammer for the first time at Sotheby's Geneva Tuesday evening.

Originating from the Golconda mines in southern India, the fancy dark grey-blue diamond takes its name from the second wife of King Philip V of Spain, Elisabeth Farnese, who received it as a wedding gift in 1715.

a close up of a colorful background© Courtesy Sotheby's Over the next three centuries, the jewel was passed down to through generations of her descendants, which -- due to marriages between European houses -- saw it join the royal families of France, Italy and Austria. At one point in history, the Farnese Blue is thought to have appeared on a diamond tiara belonging to Marie Antoinette.

The historic diamond was exhibited in London, New York, Singapore and Taipei, before arriving in Geneva ahead of yesterday evening's auction. The winning bid, made by an as-yet-unidentified buyer, exceeded pre-sale estimates, which had valued the item at between $3.7 and $5.3 million.

The diamond was one of a number of high-profile jewels featured in yesterday's auction. Among them was a round diamond ring, weighing 51.71 carats, that sold for $9.2 million, and a 50.39-carat oval diamond ring that went for $8.1 million.

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