A 76.02 carats white diamond that used to belong to the Archduke Joseph of Austria is the top lot at Christie's semi-annual sale on Tuesday (November 13), where it is expected to fetch between $15 and $25 million.
"The estimate is on request and it is between 15 and 25 million dollars. It's very difficult to predict how much it will fetch, but we are confident it will sell way above its mid-estimate of 20 million dollar," Christie's senior jewellery specialist, Jean-Marc Lunel, told Reuters TV in Geneva.
The flawless white diamond has a cushion shape and is billed as the largest in private hands from India's fabled Gol-conda mines, which are no longer being mined, the auction house said.
"It is of great cushion shape and it is of D colour and internally flawless clarity, meaning the highest grade, colour grade and clarity grade for a diamond," Jean-Marc Lunel explained.
"Well, this fabulous diamond comes form the Habsburg family, because it used to belong to the Archduke Joseph of Austria who was from a noble lineage because, as you may have read, he was the great-grandson of Emperor Leopold II through his father and also the great-grandson of King Louis Philippe of France through his mother," Lunel said.
Archduke Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962) passed the diamond on to his son Archduke Joseph Francis in the 1930's.
The Diamond since reappeared at a public exhibition before a London auction in 1961 and then again at a Christie's auction in London in 1993, where it sold for $6.5 million; a record price at the time.