Pink diamond that was a French crown jewel to be auctioned

Markets Associated Press

A 19-carat pink diamond that once belonged to King Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte and other French rulers is going up for auction for the first time in 130 years, Christie's announced Wednesday.

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The legendary "Le Grand Mazarin" diamond has been sold at auction once before, at a famous 1887 sale of French crown jewels. Originally from the Golconda mines in India, the stone was set in the crowns of almost all kings and emperors of France since the early 18th century, Christie's said.

The diamond is set to go on the block Nov. 14 in Geneva. The auction house put the pre-sale estimate at $6 million to $9 million. It said the current owner selling the gem is remaining anonymous.

In a statement, Christie's Europe and Asia Chairman Francois Curiel called Le Grand Mazarin "the diamond with the most prestigious and historic provenance still to be in private hands."

Rival Sotheby's is hosting its own jewelry auction in Geneva the day after Christie's "Magnificent Jewels" sale.

Sotheby's has trumpeted the 37.30-carat "Raj Pink" — billed as the world's largest fancy intense pink diamond — as a standout piece of its auction. The diamond is expected to fetch $20 million to $30 million.

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The auctions come six months after the top offerings from the two houses each fell short of their pre-sale estimates during the last high-profile round of Geneva jewelry sales.