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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

World Record for a Colorless Diamond: 76-Carat Archduke Joseph Diamond Sells For $21.5 Million

The 76-carat diamond is considered is the largest D-color, Internally Flawless diamond from the historic Golconda region. It was the property of the Archduke Joseph August of Austria, Palatine of Hungary (1872-1962). Photo credit: Tony Falcone

A large, D-color, Internally Flawless diamond with outstanding pedigree in origin and ownership sold for $21.5 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction on Tuesday, setting a world record for the sale of a colorless diamond.

The 76-carat Archduke Joseph Diamond was sold to a phone bidder during the auction held at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, Geneva. The unmounted, cushion-shaped gem is from the historic Golconda region of India, one of the oldest diamond mining regions in the world and where some of the most storied diamonds on earth were discovered. The Gemological Institute of America said it is the largest D-color, IF diamond it ever graded from the historic region. It was the property of the Archduke Joseph August of Austria, Palatine of Hungary (1872-1962), a member of the House of Habsburg. 

“I am thrilled but not surprised that the Archduke Joseph Diamond should have fetched such a high price,” said the former owner of the diamond, Alfredo J. Molina, CEO of America’s Black, Starr & Frost jewelers. “I was blessed to be the Archduke’s guardian and champion for the past 13 years, and indeed it has become part of my very identity.”

The auction took in more than $85 million, selling 84 percent by lot and 86 percent by value. This result, combined with the total achieved for the category in May, concludes the most successful year for Christie’s jewelry department in Switzerland, with annual sales exceeding $195.2 million.  

Highlights of the sale include: 

A Pair of Unmounted Brilliant-Cut Diamonds. The twin gems sold in separate lots each for $2.1 million. The diamonds were each 25.28 carats and have identical G color, VVS1 clarity characteristics. Each gem also has the same estimate of $2.3 million to $2.5 million.

Photo Credit: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2012

Colored Diamond and Diamond Brooch by Wartski. The shield shaped fancy intense blue diamond center, SI1clarity, weighing approximately 3.33 carats, flanked on either side by single old-cut pear-shaped diamonds with a suspended diamond. Wartski, the London antique jeweler, is a “royal warrant of appointment” for the British Royal Family. Estimate: $1 million - $1.4 million. Sold for $2.4 million.

Photo Credit: CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2012

Sapphire and Diamond ‘Transcendence’ Butterfly Brooch by Cindy Chao. The body of the pavĂ©-set diamond butterfly is a pentagonal-cut diamond, weighing approximately 3.01 carats, the wings are enhanced by briolette diamonds, sapphire beads and vari-cut sapphires. It is mounted in titanium and gold and signed by artist.

Photo credit: Denis Hayoun - Diode SA

Bulgari Art Deco Sapphire and Diamond Sautoir. The circa 1930s baguette and circular-cut diamond geometric pendant is centered upon a star sapphire, suspended from a sautoir composed of cabochon sapphire and diamond cluster panels with diamond collet connecting links. Estimate: $320,000 - $530,000. Sold for $662,483.

A 70-carat unmounted rectangular-cut fancy vivid yellow diamond failed to sell. It had an estimate of $3.1 million to $5 million. 

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