A lobe affair worth $1.8m

By Michael Dickison

Don't be fooled by the replicas in a Queen St jeweller's window display.

The real pieces sit in a safe bigger than the average fridge, inside a wooden box wrapped in felt - two pea-sized diamond earrings handled only with gloves, never to be worn, and worth $1.8 million.

If the two stones were to touch each other, scratching their flawless surfaces, their value would instantly halve.

Michael Hill in Auckland has stocked the two 3.4-carat Helios diamonds this Christmas with the hope of luring one deep-pocketed buyer.

It was an investment more than jewellery, said regional director Greg Nel.

The precious stones were meant to be kept in a safe. "It's a bargain - it'll increase in value," he said.

The Queen St store has had the diamonds for about three weeks, giving after-hours private viewings to interested parties about once a week.

But there is no trying them on: "You get to look at them in a box."

The Helios diamonds were three times more expensive that anything the store had previously sold, Mr Nel said. They had spent time in a Brisbane store without selling.

- The Aucklander

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