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'Pink Diamond' Fetches Record $46 Million

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London jeweler and art collector Laurence Graff on Tuesday paid Sotheby’s in Geneva $46,158,674 for a 24.8-carat “fancy intense pink” diamond, the highest price ever paid for a rock at auction.

A pink diamond hasn’t gotten this much fanfare since Ben Affleck paid a reported $1.2 million for the 6.1-carat engagement ring he bought for Jennifer Lopez.

Graff described the quickly renamed “Graff Pink” stone as “the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in my career,” according to AP. The diamond hadn’t been on the market for 60 years.

To put Graff’s purchase in perspective, $46 million is also the amount that:

--the Michigan Department of Corrections overshot its 2010 budget

--The University of Michigan estimates its Center of Excellence in Nano Mechanical Science & Engineering will cost

--Aussie taxpayers will cough up to cover losses from the 2010 Australian Grand Prix

--“The Social Network” made in box office receipts in its first 10 days

--Maryland paid out in unemployment insurance bennies to people who weren’t eligible for them

--Orianne Cevey cleared in her 2008 divorce from Phil Collins -- $2 million more than Heather Mills got from Paul McCartney

--Judge Judy and Taylor Swift each made this year, landing them on Forbes’ list of Hollywood’s 10 Highest-Earning Women

Last time Graff bought a stone, he also set a record. He paid $24.3 million in 2008 for the 3-something-carat blue Wittelsbach-Graff diamond, which was at one time speculated to be a chip off the old block of the Hope Diamond.

Next time Graff feels the itch, he can try his luck on the actual Hope Diamond, ensconced for now in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History where the Wittelsbach-Graff was also on display earlier this year.

The 45.52-carat blue diamond, should it ever make it to market, would fetch an estimated $250 million, complete with white diamond Harry Winston setting and handsome, centuries-old curse.
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