Christie’s expects the world-famous 76.02 ct. D-IF Archduke Joseph Diamond to fetch $15 million at its Nov. 13 auction in Geneva.
While the auction house provided the $15 million figure, an official estimate will only be provided upon request.
While Christie’s did not reveal the stone’s current owner, it was once offered for sale by Phoenix jeweler Al Molina.
A Christie’s release calls the gem “one of rarest and most famous diamonds in the world.” The stone was discovered in the Golconda mine in India, the source of such legendary gems as the Koh-i-noor, the Hope, and the Regent. According to the auction house, “Golconda diamonds have a special whiteness often described as soft, watery, and pure, so that light appears to pass through the stone completely unimpeded.” The Archduke Joseph is the largest and most perfect Golconda stone to ever appear at auction.
The stone received its name from one of its owners, Archduke Joseph August of Austria, who passed it on to his son, Archduke Joseph Francis. The son is believed to have deposited the stone in a bank where it remained through World War II, escaping the attention of the Nazis. After decades of mystery, the diamond reappeared in 1962, and was then sold again at Christie’s in 1993, where it realized $6.5 million (the company says that figure is equivalent to $10.5 million today).
“The magic of auction sometimes brings back great gems to our salerooms more than once,” François Curiel, international head of Christie’s jewelry department, said in a statement said. “In November, we have the privilege to give both new and established collectors the opportunity to own a piece of history once again.”