Archduke Joseph Diamond: The Most Famous Golconda Gem To Fetch Over $15 Million In Auction

  on September 21 2012 4:48 AM

An Indian diamond, lauded as the most famous in world for its flawless internal clarity and whopping size, will go under the hammer in Geneva Nov. 13, Christie's said Friday. The Golconda diamond, weighing 76.02 carat, is expected to fetch over $15 million in the precious gems auction.

The unmounted diamond with a rectangular cushion shape is said to be the perfect gem unearthed from the Golconda mines in India.

"The legendary Golconda mines in India produced some of the world's most famous diamonds, including the Dresden green, the blue Hope, and the Koh-i-Noor (in the Royal Collection at the Tower of London)," Rahul Kadakia, head of jewelry for Christie's Americas and Switzerland, told Reuters.

The colorless diamond with the D-color certification is called the Archduke Joseph Diamond after one of its former owners, Archduke Joseph August (1872-1962), a prince from the Hungarian line of the Habsburg dynasty.

The diamond has a high internal clarity with no internal flaws and is horizontally divided into pavilion-shaped facets making it one of the rarest precious stones. The diamond’s location remained a mystery till it came for auction in London in June 1961. It is believed that Archduke Joseph August passed the precious stone to his son, Joseph Francis (1895-1957), in the early 1930s and the diamond was later sold to a European banker.

The colossal diamond was withdrawn from auction in 1961 and later came back on sale at Christie's, Geneva, in November 1993 and was sold for $6,487,945. 

"The Archduke Joseph Diamond created a sensation when Christie's Geneva offered it for sale the first time in November 1993, where it realized 9.7 million Swiss francs - the equivalent of $10.5 million today," noted François Curiel, the international head of Christie's jewelry department, Reuters reported.

The current owner of the diamond wants to remain anonymous according to the Christie's.

The auction house believes that the diamond can top $15 million, considering the recent price trends in precious and rare diamond auctions.

A 17th century cushion-shaped Wittelsbach Diamond was sold for $24.3 million in 2008 at Christie's in London and a 25-carat pink diamond was quoted $46 million at Sotheby's in Geneva, two years back, according to Reuters.

Archduke Joseph Diamond-a Golconda diamond lauded as the most famous in world for its flawless internal clarity .

Handout shows Archduke Joseph Diamond, an unmounted cushion-shaped Golconda diamond weighing 76.02 carats with a D colour and internally flawless clarity Reuters

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