Dazzling 76-carat Archduke Joseph diamond sells for $21.5m at auction, setting a new world record price
14:57 GMT, 14 November 2012
The dazzling Archduke Joseph diamond sold for just under $21.5million last night, setting a new world auction record price per carat for a colorless diamond.
It went for well above the expected $15million and more than triple the price paid for it at a sale almost two decades ago.
The four-hundred-year-old gem, that came from the ancient Golconda mines in India, fits snugly into the palm of an adult's hand and weighs a staggering 76.02 carats.
Top dollar:The dazzling Archduke Joseph Diamond set a new world auction record last night, as it went under the hammer for just under $21.5million
The Archduke Joseph Diamond, with perfect color and internally flawless clarity, went for $21,474,525 including commission at Christie's' Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva.
The seller, Alfredo J. Molina, chairman
of California-based jeweler Black, Starr & Frost, said immediately
afterward that there were two main bidders and that he was delighted
with the result.
Mr Molina said the winning bidder, who wished to remain
anonymous, is going to donate the diamond for display at a museum.
'It's a great price for a stone
of this quality,' Molina told The Associated Press.
'It's one of a kind,
so it's like saying “Are you pleased when you sell the Mona Lisa” Or
“Are you pleased when you sell the Hope Diamond” It's all what the
market will bear, and the stone sold for a very serious price.”
Battle of the bidders: Collectors from around the world competed for the one-of-a-kind diamond
What a sparkler! The four-hundred-year-old Archduke Joseph diamond weighs a staggering 76.02 carats
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
Collection and the Regent, which is the centerpiece of the French Crown Jewels.
Joseph August's death, it passed to his son, Archduke Joseph Francis, who put it in a bank vault, then to an anonymous buyer who kept it in a safe during World War II.
From there it surfaced at a London auction in 1961, then at a Geneva auction in 1993, when Christie's sold it for $6.5 million.
Since then the diamond has changed hands privately.
Hot property: Last nights auction was the second time Christie's has sold the gem after it fetched $6.5 million at a Geneva sale in 1993
It wasn't the only mega-diamond to go under the hammer at Tuesday's auction in the hotel room packed with well-heeled bidders.
Beneath a row of three enormous
chandeliers that cast panther-like shadows on the ceiling, the
participants eagerly pounced at the jewels while competing with bidders
from around the world calling in to Christie's employees seated in rows
on both sides of the room.
But perhaps the buyers weren't entirely immune to the harsh financial climate in Europe – or at least some Geneva version of it.
Two plus-sized diamonds did not sell Tuesday night. A yellow diamond with 70.19 carats failed to sell because the final bid was 2.8 million Swiss francs, just slightly below the reserve price. A 12.16 carat pink diamond didn't sell because the final bid was 1.8 million francs, well under the reserve price.
Today, in addition to the blue briolette diamond, Sotheby's also is putting on the block a conch pearl, enamel and diamond Cartier bracelet that formerly belonged to Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain that's expected to sell for up to $1.4 million.
A LOOK AT SOME OF THE MOST EYE-POPPING DIAMONDS PUT UP FOR AUCTION IN GENEVA OVER RECENT YEARS
Star lot: In 2011, the Sun-Drop Diamond sold for more than $10.9million at auction
ROYAL CONNECTIONS: In May 2012, Sotheby's sold the 34.98 carat Beau Sancy diamond to an
anonymous bidder for $9.7 million. Marie de Medici had worn it at her
coronation as Queen Consort of Henry IV in France in 1610. Then the
diamond passed among the royal families in France, England, the
Netherlands and Prussia. It was sold by the Royal House of Prussia.
Sotheby's also sold for $3.87 million the Murat Tiara, a
pearl-and-diamond tiara created for the marriage of a prince whose
ancestors included the husband of Caroline Bonaparte, Napoleon's sister.
Christie's auctioned off a 32.08-carat Burmese ruby and diamond ring
that sold for $6.7 million, a world record price for a ruby sold at
PEAR-SHAPED: In November 2011, the Sun-Drop Diamond of South Africa, a giant
pear-shaped yellow gem weighing 110.3 carats, sold for more than $10.9
million at auction, beating previous records for a jewel of its type.
Including commission, the unidentified telephone bidder paid almost
$12.4 million for the gem. Other lots at the $70 million sale included a
white cushion-shaped diamond weighing 38.88 carats that sold for almost
$7 million, including commission.
HEART-SHAPED: In May 2011, Christie's fetched $10.9 million for a 56-carat
heart-shaped diamond that was internally flawless and $7.1 million for a
130-carat Burmese sapphire. Sotheby's got $12.7 million for a rare
emerald-and-diamond tiara that a fabulously wealthy German prince, Guido
Henckel von Donnersmarck, commissioned for his second, Russian-born
wife around 1900. An intensely pink 11-carat diamond from the mines of
India sold for $10.8 million.
INTENSELY PINK: In November 2010, a rare pink diamond smashed the world record for a
jewel at auction, selling for more than $46 million to well-known London
jeweler Laurence Graff. Four bidders competed for the pink diamond,
which was last sold 60 years earlier by New York jeweler Harry Winston.
The seller chose to remain anonymous. The 24.78-carat “fancy intense
pink” diamond immediately became known as “The Graff Pink.”
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