Christie’s will be auctioning the legendary Archduke Joseph Diamond in Geneva next month.
Sourced from the ancient Golconda mines in India, the diamond is one the world’s rarest and most famous as it combines an impressive size of 76.02 carats with perfect colour and internally flawless clarity.
According to François Curiel, the international head of Christie’s jewellery department, the diamond presents an unprecedented opportunity for collectors to own “an incomparable item of historical and gemmological significance”.
“The magic of auction sometimes brings back great gems to our salerooms more than once,” he said.
“The Archduke Joseph Diamond created a sensation when Christie’s Geneva offered it for sale the first time in November 1993 where it realised US$6.5 million – the equivalent of US$10.5 million today
“This November we have the privilege to give both new and established collectors the opportunity to own a piece of history once again.”
“While the auction estimate is available only upon request, the Archduke Joseph Diamond is expected to achieve well in excess of US$15 million.”
The Archduke Joseph Diamond was first owned by the Archduke Joseph August of Austria, Palatine of Hungary (1872-1962) and subsequently named after him.
It is believed that the Archduke passed on the diamond to his son, the Archduke Joseph Francis (1895-1957), as records show that he deposited it in the vault of the Hungarian General Credit Bank in June 1933.
Three years later the diamond was sold to an annonymous buyer and then, after decades of mystery, the diamond re-appeared at a London auction in June 1961, and was finally re-offered for sale in November 1993 at Christie’s Geneva.
Rahul Kadakia,head of jewellery, Christie’s Americas and Switzerland, said that the Archduke Joseph Diamond is the finest and largest perfect Golconda diamond ever to appear at auction.
“It is comparable in its noble lineage and superb quality to the legendary Koh-i-Noor diamond that forms part of the crown jewels of Great Britain.”