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Friday, November 9, 2012

Archduke Joseph diamond to go under hammer at Christie..

On 13th Nov 2012, historic jewelry will add glitter to auctions in Geneva next week as diamonds, rubies and pearls from Europe's nobility go under the hammer.

The auction house is - Christie's, a fine arts auction house, and currently the world's largest with sales for the first half of 2012 some $3.5 billion representing the highest total for a corresponding period in company and art market history. Christie's has its main headquarters in London King Street and in Rockefeller Plaza New York.

The diamond that is attracting World attention is ‘Archduke Joseph Diamond’  a 76.02 carat cushion shaped diamond, of perfect D colour and Internally Flawless clarity said to possess a charm like no other diamond. Its impressive size and superb quality, combined with its Golconda origin and Historical Habsburg provenance make it one of the world's most famous and desirable diamonds to appear at auction. This stone enjoys the distinction of being the twelfth largest “perfect” diamond in the world. Named for a military man of royal blood, this diamond followed a long history of courting danger, yet, like its longest tenured owner, was lucky enough to survive two world wars and a revolution. In the same vein as many of its contemporaries, this diamond shared the common experience of being locked away for many years depriving the public of its beauty. However, within the last few years millions have seen it adorning the neck of a renowned singer on stage and sparkling on the red carpet worn by an actress thanks to the power of the modern media.

There is more news available about the diamond’s most famous owner than the diamond itself.  The Archduke Joseph is the largest historically recorded perfect Golconda diamond, according to Rahul Kadakia, Christie's head of jewelry for the Americas and Switzerland.  According to  the auctioneers, this diamond would certainly to be one of the most important and precious diamonds ever presented at the auction.  This  diamond has been officially recorded as the property of the Archduke Joseph August of Austria, Palatine of Hungary (1872-1962), and was subsequently named after him.

The colourless gem, which is about the size of a domino and more than half an inch thick,  reportedly was  exhibited from October 13 in New York, Hong Kong and Geneva before the auction in Switzerland on November 13.

The jewel, which belonged to Archduke Joseph of Austria was put in a vault of the Hungarian General Credit Bank in 1933 by his son, the Archduke Joseph Francis. The diamond was sold three years later to an anonymous buyer who left it in a safe during World War II, escaping the attention of the Nazis. It finally resurfaced in 1961 at auction in London and was offered for sale in November 1993 at Christie's Geneva where it fetched $6.5 million. Since then the diamond has changed hands privately, but Christie's declined to comment on the identity of the current owner.

Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia (1872 – 1962) was for a short period head of state of Hungary.  He began his eminent military career in 1902 when he enlisted in the Hungarian territorial reserve, simultaneously studying law at Budapest University.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
9th Nov. 2012

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