76-Carat Diamond Sells For Nearly $21.5 Million

By Buck Casteel  |  11/14/2012

76.03 Carat Diamond

Beverly Hills auction house, Christie's, recently auctioned off the Archduke Joseph Diamond for nearly $21.5 million, setting a world auction record price per carat for a colorless diamond.

The diamond was named after Archduke Joseph August of Austria, the great-grandson of both a Holy Roman emperor and a French king. The stone was was then passed onto his son, Archduke Joseph Francis, who put it in a bank vault.

It was sold to an anonymous buyer, who kept it in a safe during World War II, before later surfacing in 1961 at a London auction. It would later sell at a Geneva auction in 1993 by Christie's. Now, nearly 10 years later, it fetches over $21 million, despite expectations of around $15 million.

The seller was Alfredo J. Molina, chairman of California-based jeweler Black, Starr & Frost was delighted by the outcome. The winning bidder wished to remain anonymous, but says he will be donating the diamond for display at a museum.

The 76.03 carat diamond, with perfect color and internally flawless clarity, originally came from the ancient Golconda mines in India.