05/13/2015 07:17 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 05:59 EDT

A 35-carat prize sapphire from Kashmir sells for $7.3 million at auction

GENEVA - A prize 35-carat sapphire from Kashmir fetched $7.3 million Wednesday, according to the auction house Christie's.

The sale, to a private anonymous Asian buyer, set a world record for a Kashmir sapphire at $209,689 per carat, Christie's said in a statement.

Kashmir sapphires are sought after for their rich cornflower blue or velvety blue colour. Sapphire-bearing rock deep in the northwestern Himalayas was exposed in a rock slide in 1881, prompting a rush of mining activity. The mines were exhausted by the 1930s.

The cushion-shaped sapphire ring that sold Wednesday is set with triangular-cut diamond shoulders and baguette-cut diamonds elsewhere, mounted in gold. The sapphire is of the notable velvety hue often compared to the colour of a peacock's neck feathers.

Among other top pieces sold was a rectangular-cut pink diamond ring of 5.18 carats surrounded by an oval of white diamonds. It sold for $10.7 million. The buyer was anonymous.

There was no buyer for a large brooch dubbed the "Maria Christina Royal devant-de-corsage." It was presented by King Alfonso XII of Spain to his wife, the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria, on their wedding day in November 1879.

In all, the Christie's "Magnificent Jewels" sale totalled $97.5 million.