A “flawless” white diamond which is the size of a small egg has been sold at auction for a record $30.6m (£19m).

The 118-carat oval gem is the largest and most significant such diamond graded by the Gemological Institute of America.

It weighed 299 carats when it was mined in southern Africa in 2011 but Sotheby’s will not name the country because the seller wishes to remain anonymous.

Two phone bidders competed for the diamond in six minutes of bidding until one dropped out.

It was bought for $27.3m at the jewellery auction in Hong Kong, but the total price including commission came to $30.6m.

That was more than the previous record of $26.7m (£16.6m) for a white diamond set in May at Christie’s in Geneva, Switzerland.

The world record for a jewel at auction was set in 2010, when London jeweller Laurence Graff paid $46m (£28.5m) for a “fancy intense pink” diamond weighing 24.8 carats.

That figure could be beaten in November, when Sotheby’s puts a pink 59.60-carat diamond on sale which is expected to fetch more than $60m (£37.3m) in Geneva.

source: skynews