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The Precious Stone

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Sotheby's failed to sell three of the top diamonds offered in a Geneva auction of jewels following a five-week decline in prices for such gems.

Sotheby's had put stones up for sale such as a 10.48 carat flawless deep blue diamond valued at $6 million to $9 million. The top price for an item at the sale was $1.3 million for an 8 carat pink diamond ring, said an e-mailed statement sent late yesterday.
Three contemporary-art sales in New York last week disappointed art dealers by failing to reach their estimated revenue, raising concern among auction houses that demand for high-price goods may be wavering. The Rapaport Diamond Trade Index dropped 9.4 percent in the five weeks through Nov. 18.

``The diamond market is currently in a phase of transition and it will probably not be clear where it is headed until the end of the year,'' David Bennett, Sotheby's chairman for its European and Middle Eastern jewelry business, said in the statement.

About 39 percent of the lots offered in the Sotheby's auction went unsold. Sotheby's said the sale totaled $14.8 million.

London-based Christie's is holding a rival jewelry auction today in Geneva.