Christie's to sell the Archduke Joseph Diamond

Christie's Geneva is to sell the legendary Archduke Joseph Diamond at auction.

September 24, 2012

On November 13th Christie's will auction the legendary Archduke Joseph Diamond in Geneva.  An impressive 76.02 carat D, IF Golconda diamond, this is not only a famous diamonds, but also one of the rarest. Golconda diamonds are highly sought after as the now depleted Indian mine in Golconda has yielded the well known Koh-i-noor that is part of the British crown jewels and Harry Winston's blue Hope diamond now at the Smithsonian in Washington. Light seems to burst through this diamond and it his the  purity and clarity that marks Golconda diamonds.

The Archduke Joseph diamond is expected to sell in excess of $15 million as this a stone that combines both beauty and an intriguing provenance. Named after Archduke Joseph August of Austria, it is not known when the diamond was acquired by the House of Hapsburg. Palatine of Hungary, Joseph lived from 1872 to 1962 and was the great grandson of Emperor Leopold II through his father and the great grandson of King Louis Philippe of France through his mother. After a distinguished military career as Field Marshal of the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1918, he emigrated briefly to America when Hungary was occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II.

The diamond is believed to have been passed down to his son and left in the Hungarian General Credit Bank in 1933. Unlike so many historical treasures of the period, the diamond escaped the attention of the Nazis and after decades of mystery, the diamond appeared at auction in 1961 in London. Slightly recut to 76.02 carats, the diamond is now graded as Internally Flawless  and exhibits the characteristic limpid transparency for which Golconda diamonds are so celebrated.

Rahul Kadakia, Head of Jewellery, Christie's Americas and Switzerland, commented: "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. It is particularly fortuitous to bring this historic gem back to market in the year of Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee."

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