Russia's Alrosa earns over $17 mln from diamond auction

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MOSCOW, June 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest diamond producer Alrosa [RTS: ALRS] sold diamonds worth over $17 million at a special international auction on Thursday, the diamond firm said in a joint statement with the auction's organizers.

The 29th special international auction for the sale of large diamonds, organized by Alrosa and the Diamond Chamber of Russia, offered 334 gems with a total weight of 5,200 carats. The largest diamond on offer weighed in at 39.36 carats.

More than 30 companies from Russia, Israel, Belgium, India, and the UAE took part in the auction.

The combined overall starting price for all lots at the auction was exceeded by over 82%. One of the lots was sold at a record price of about $48,000 per carat, the auction's organizers said.

Alrosa, which accounts for 97% of Russian and 25% of global diamond output, produced diamonds worth $2.37 billion in 2007.

On Wednesday, the Russian government finalized a deal to increase its stake in Alrosa to 50% plus one share. The Republic of Yakutia, where Alrosa's diamonds are mined, and eight of the republic's districts retain 32% and 8% of the company's shares respectively.

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