Rare diamond of Indian-origin to fetch over USD 15 million

Archduke Joseph

One of the world's most historic diamonds, the 76.02 carats Archduke Joseph, from India's Golconda mines, is expected to fetch much over USD 15 million when it goes up for auction.

"It's a 76.02 carat cushion-shaped D-colour diamond (considered to be the most flawless), from the famous Golconda mines in India," Christie's senior international specialist Jean-Marc Lunel said.

The diamond is of the size of a domino and more than half an inch thick.

It will be auctioned in Switzerland on November 13.

The diamond has the same provenance as other illustrious jewels including the Koh-i-noor, part of the crown jewels held in the Tower of London, and the Regent, believed by many to be the finest diamond in the French crown jewels and now in the Louvre museum in Paris.

All three jewels come from the now closed Golconda mines, which produced the purest gems, Lunel said.

The jewel belonged to Archduke Joseph of Austria (1872-1962).

Little is known about the exact history of the diamond but it is believed that Archduke Joseph August passed the diamond on to his son, Archduke Joseph Francis (1895-1957), and records show that the diamond was deposited in the vault of the Hungarian General Credit Bank on June 1, 1933, in the presence of a State Counselor.

Three years later it was sold to an anonymous buyer who deposited it in a safe during the Second World War.

The diamond re-appeared on June 22, 1961, at auction in London, and subsequently in November 1993 at Christie's Geneva where it sold for USD 6,480,000.

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