Sotheby's auction house in New York Tuesday sold the late Carlotta Kirkeby's famed diamond ring--which had been valued between $450,000 and $500,000--for $616,000 to a European dealer.
The Los Angeles socialite--heiress to a cigar fortune and wife of hotelier Arnold C. Kirkeby (the Gotham, Sherry Netherland and Beverly Wilshire)--wore the 24-carat marquise-shaped ring almost constantly, according to Sotheby's.
The auction house's John D. Block says what made the diamond unique is not only its fine color but the rarity of marquise diamonds larger than 20 carats.
This week's sale also included a pear-shape diamond, weighing in at 31 carats. Its selling price of $1.76 million (to a private European buyer bidding over the phone) set a record for a diamond sold at auction in North America. A 15-carat Burmese ruby went--also to a private European collector--for $1.54 million, setting a worldwide auction record price both for a ruby and a colored stone.