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The Archduke Joseph Diamond

Updated on April 13, 2012
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Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

The Archduke Joseph Diamond is an ancient stone that has an unbelievable history. It can be traced back to the Indian Golconda diamond mines. These mines first became active in the fourth century of India and has produced other diamonds such as the Hope Diamond. The Archduke Joseph Diamond has a history longer than any civilization and still shines bright.


This diamond is considered flawless with little to know inclusions. It is an amazing 74.65 carats. Of all the diamonds of the world, it is considered the twelfth largest diamond that is rated as perfect. It is a cushion cut in the shape of a rectangle. It’s sheer size and perfection has made it a very valuable and sought after gem. It is a miracle that such a perfect stone could survive all these centuries and the many wars that would have destroyed it forever.

Archduke Joseph
Archduke Joseph


The Golconda diamond mines began serious production of diamonds in the sixteenth century. Who first mined this incredible diamond? When and where? No one knows. The best guess from historians is that the diamond was discovered during the mines’ heyday of the sixteenth century, but there really is no proof of it.

So, why did such a valuable gem leave India? It could have been smuggled out to find a buyer who would pay more. But the most likely scenario is war.

Many times nations would invade other nations and plunder all including jewels. These were easily transported and hidden and, of course, always in desire. A number of nations invaded India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Any of them could have taken the diamond. One lone officer could have and kept it a secret for many years.

When it comes to large and valuable gems, it is more common to keep it hidden than it is to showcase it. This creates problems in tracing its history and its path around the globe. The Archduke Joseph Diamond is no exception to this.

The first history really knows of the diamond is when it became part of the Hapsburg family. Before Archduke Joseph, the history of the diamond is relatively non-existent. It is only known that the Archduke gave his son the diamond right before World War II erupted. His son then took the diamond from the Hungarian vault and moved it to a French vault.

If you recall your history of World War II, France was not the ideal place to hide anything. The Nazis were notorious for searching everywhere to find all the hidden gems of Europe. By gems, it is meant anything of value including paintings, books, art, and jewels. At one time, Hitler might have been the richest man in the world if all the plunder was taken into account. By putting the diamond in a French vault, it was close to a hundred percent chance of being lost forever. But fate stepped in.

Somehow, the Archduke Joseph Diamond made its way out of France and the hands of the Nazis. It stayed in hiding until 1961 when it was brought forth to be sold. The London sale did not go through but in 1993 it was sold at a Christie’s auction for almost $6.5 million dollars. When sold in 1993, the diamond was actually larger than it is now and was cut down to 76.45 carats before being taken down to its present day size.

Who owns the beautiful diamond now? Molina Fine Jewelers out of Phoenix, Arizona now own the diamond has loaned out the gem to famous entertainers. No longer is this gem kept hidden away from the world.


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    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Very cool storyof this diamond. Unbelievably big sucker, isn't it??? Amazing. I can't imagaine borrowing it--what if something happened to it? You'd be in debt forever to the diamond's owners. People have killed for this thing; that alone sort of both enhances its value and makes its beauty more disturbing.