US jeweller sells Archduke Joseph Diamond at Christie’s for £17m.

A mammoth flawless diamond from famous Golconda mine broke a world record yesterday when it sold by auctioneer Christie’s for US$21.5 million (£17.2m) at auction.



In what was described by François Curiel, president of Christie’s Switzerland and international director of Christie’s jewellery department, as “the busiest saleroom witnessed at the Four Seasons hotel des Bergues in Geneva in recent years”, the 76.02ct cushion-cut colourless internally flawless Archduke Joseph Diamond set the world record for the price achieved at auction for a colourless diamond.

The diamond was sold by Alfredo Molina, who is the chief executive of US retail jeweller Black, Starr & Frost. He had owned the diamond for 13 years before selling.

Molina said: “I am thrilled but not surprised that the Archduke Joseph Diamond should have fetched such a high price. It is considered the finest and largest perfect Golconda diamond ever to appear at auction, with a noble lineage and royal provenance which literally fit for a queen.

“I was blessed to be the Archduke’s guardian and champion for the past 13 years, and indeed it has become part of my very identity. I am honored to have worked with Rahul Kadakia and Christie’s on this historic sale. I wish the Archduke Joseph Diamond godspeed, and I know its new owners will delight in its beauty, charisma and mystery as I have for so many happy years.”

The sale of the Archduke Joseph Diamond was just part of a seven-hour jewellery sale held by Christie’s that brought in total revenues of US$85 million (£53.6m), selling 84% by lot and 86% by value.The auction house registered 147 buyers from 28 countries taking part in the sale.

This strong result, matched with a similarly good performance from Christie’s Switzerland’s May jewellery sale, has made 2012 a record year for the branch of the auction house with Christie’s Switzerland’s jewellery division ending the year on revenues of US$195.2 million (£123m).