Famed Archduke Joseph Diamond up 6.5% pa in Geneva

The Archduke Joseph Diamond has sold for $21.5m at Christie's in Geneva.

In doing so the 76.02 carat stone has achieved a 6.5% pa increase on its $6.5m sale price in 1993 - the last time it changed hands.

Archduke Joseph Diamond
$21.5m worth of Golconda diamond

Its internally flawless clarity and perfect colour can explain part of its appeal, yet its fascinating history was its main draw.

Originating from India's revered Golconda mines, it is named after Archduke Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962), the Palatine of Hungary - its first documented owner.

Passed to his son Archduke Joseph Francis (1895-1957), it was sold to an anonymous buyer in 1936, who left it in a French safe during the second world war, where it remained undetected by the Nazis.

"It is a world record for a Golconda diamond and a world record price per carat for a colourless diamond," said Francois Curiel, the director of Christie's international jewellery department.

The previous record holder from the mine was the 34.98 carat Beau Sancy, which achieved $9.7m in May at Sotheby's.

The mine has also produced the Hope Diamond, valued at $250m, which resides at Washington, DC's Smithsonian Institute, and Koh i Noor, which forms part of the British crown jewels.

Although the winning bidder has chosen to remain anonymous, the consignor is known: Black, Starr & Frost, a California-based jeweller founded in 1810.

The November 13 auction also featured a Wartski diamond and diamond brooch, which achieved $2.5m.

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