Archduke Joseph Diamond

Archduke Joseph Diamond



I will never understand why diamond cost as much as they do. I understand that they are beautiful and somewhat rare, but are they really worth the cost especially with all the synthetic diamond options out there for much less.

Someone out there, however, disagrees with my thinking which is why Archduke Joseph’s colorless diamond got a record $21.5 million bid at Christie’s Tuesday auction in Geneva. The diamond was estimated to only go for $15 million, but ended with about $6 million more. This $21.5 million grab was more than triple what this same diamond received almost two decades ago.

The seller of the diamond was Alfred J. Molina, chairman of California jeweler Black, Starr & Frost. Apparently there were two main bidders, the winner, who wished to remain anonymous, donated the diamond for display at a museum. While I think it is a nice gesture to donate the diamond for display, it’s a shame that so much money be wasted on a diamond that will just be sitting there for people to look at.

Archduke DiamondWhat I find most fascinating about this diamond though is it’s history. The diamond is named after the great-grandson of both a Holy Roman Emperor and a French king, Archduke Joseph August of Austria. He then passed it on to his son Archduke Joseph Francis, who kept it in a bank vault. Eventually it was sold to an anonymous buyer who kept it in a safe during WWII. It then resurfaced at a 1961 auction in London, and then in 1993 at a Genevea auction, where Chritie’s sold it for $6.5 million. Now about 20 years later it sold again. What a shame that such a beautiful diamond has spent most of it’s existence sitting in a vault and safe, and now sitting in a display.