Archduke Joseph diamond: Historic 76-carat diamond set to make more than $15million at auction

Eat your heart out, Jennifer Aniston! Historic 76-carat diamond set to make more than $15million at auction

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UPDATED:

13:11 GMT, 13 October 2012

Jennifer Aniston's engagement ring boasts a giant diamond, but one dazzling rock puts hers to shame.

The four-hundred-year-old Archduke Joseph diamond, which fits snugly into the palm of an adult's hand, weighs a staggering 76.02 carats.

And, when the half-inch thick sparkler goes under the hammer at Christie's, in Geneva, on November 13, it is set to fetch more than $15million.

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What a sparkler! The four-hundred-year-old Archduke Joseph diamond weighs a staggering 76.02 carats

What a sparkler! The four-hundred-year-old Archduke Joseph diamond weighs a staggering 76.02 carats

The colourless stone is almost ten times heavier than Miss Aniston's new rock, which is believed to weigh eight carats.

Describing the star lot Christie's head of jewellery, Rahul Kadakia, told Today: 'It can be hard to visualize exactly how big a 76.02 carat diamond is.

'It's about the size of a quail's egg,
and completely pure and clear in color.'

The gem will go on display in New York tomorrow ahead of next month's Magnificent Jewels sale in Switzerland.

Archduke Joseph diamond

Archduke Joseph diamond

Bling factor: Christies's Rahul Kadakia said the half-inch thick gem 'is about the size of a quail's egg'

Although it has an estimate of $15million, experts believe the diamond will fetch a lot more, attracting buyers from the Middle East, Asia and Russia.

Diamond envy Jennifer Aniston wearing the engagement ring that Justin Theroux gave her

Diamond envy Jennifer Aniston wearing the engagement ring that Justin Theroux gave her

Mr Kadakia added: '$15 million is a very fair estimate and
we do hope that we will achieve a new record price.'

The gem is named after its original owner Archduke
Joseph August, who was the highest ranking official in the Kingdom of Hungary during the 19th century.

It originated from India’s now defunct Golconda mine, sharing its origins with some of the world's most impressive diamonds including the Kohinoor, part of the British Royal
Collection and the Regent, which is the centerpiece of the French Crown Jewels.

It is believed that Archduke Joseph August passed the
diamond on to his son Archduke Joseph Francis in 1933 when records show
him depositing it into the vault of a Hungarian bank.

An
anonymous buyer purchased the stone three years later and left it in a
safe during World War II, where it fortunately escaped the attention of
the Nazis.

After disappearing for decades, it reappeared at a London auction in 1961.

Next month's auction will be the second time Christie's has sold the gem after it fetched $6.5 million at a Geneva sale in 1993.

Since then the diamond has changed hands privately, but the company declined to comment on the identity of the current owner.

Hot property: Next month's auction will be the second time Christie's has sold the gem after it fetched $6.5 million at a Geneva sale in 1993

Hot property: Next month's auction will be the second time Christie's has sold the gem after it fetched $6.5 million at a Geneva sale in 1993

Mr Kadaki added: 'If it does go on to make more than $15
million, that is quite a return on investment. In what other type of asset could you expect that kind of return over
19 years'

The auction house holds eight major jewelry sales a year, including two in Geneva.

More than 350 items will be featured in the upcoming jewellery
sale, including a watch owned by Eric Clapton and a 100-carat pair of
yellow and white diamond earrings.

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