Flawless rare diamond sells for £13.5m

Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

A diamond the size of a strawberry sold at Chritie's auction house in Geneva last night for a record 20.35m Swiss francs (£13.5m).

The flawless, colourless stone, which once belonged to the Archduke Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962), fetched more than double the price paid for it at auction almost two decades ago.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

Known as the Archduke Joseph Diamond, the stone is a 76.02 carat cushion shaped diamond with internally flawless clarity. It's impressive size, quality and historical significance make it one of the world's most famous and desirable diamonds to appear at auction.

"It is a world record price per carat for a colourless diamond," François Curiel, director of the international jewellery department at Christie's, said.

Vague history
According to Christie's, little is known about the exact history of the diamond but it is believed that Archduke Joseph August passed the diamond on to his son, Archduke Joseph Francis (1895-1957). Records show that the diamond was deposited in the vault of the Hungarian General Credit Bank on 1st June 1933 in the presence of a State Counselor.

Three years later it was sold to an anonymous buyer who deposited it in a safe during the Second World War. The diamond re-appeared on 22 June 1961 at auction in London, and subsequently in November 1993 at Christie's Geneva where it sold for $6,480,000.

Fit for a Queen
Alfredo J. Molina, the diamond's former owner and CEO of America's Black, Starr & Frost jewellers 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 is 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 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."

Diamond sales
Christie's reports that fine diamonds have experienced a surge in demand at auction in recent years.

Recent notable sales include the spectacular D-color, 33.19 carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond ring, which fetched US$8.8 million (£5.54 million) at Christie's New York in December 2011. The star wore virtually every day since receiving it as a gift from Richard Burton in 1968. The sale set a new record price-per-carat of $240,000.

In May 2011, Christie's Hong Kong sold a spectacular pair of cushion-shaped Golconda diamond ear pendants for HK$72.3 million (£5.86 million).

In 2008, Christie's London sold The Wittelsbach Diamond, an historic 17th Century cushion-shaped deep grayish blue, VS2 diamond for £16.4 million.

10 PHOTOS
10 of the weirdest celebrity products
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Flawless rare diamond sells for £13.5m

When it comes to bizarre celebrity products, they don't come much weirder than the Bill Wyman Signature Metal Detector, designed and marketed by the former Rolling Stones bass guitarist.

Apparently, Wyman, who is now in his mid-70s, loves archaeology and has used his own metal detector to find relics in the English countryside dating back to the Roman Empire.

Fans of US president Barack Obama can show their appreciation for the politician by buying a Barack Obama Chia - shaped like the president's head - and growing grass out of the top of it.

And for those who prefer a more historical theme to their garden ornaments, Chias shaped like the heads of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are also available.

Action star Sylvester Stallone put out a protein-infused pudding designed to appeal to fans keen to build muscles like the big man's.

Unfortunately for them, however, the pudding has now been taken off the market.

Heiress Paris Hilton endorses numerous products, ranging from outfits for your dog to hair extensions.

But the most random Paris Hilton product on the market has to be her line of craft supplies, the Creativity Collection, which features items such as stickers and transfers.

Rapper Snoop Dogg's latest business venture is a "smokeable" lyric book.

"Rolling Words: A Smokable Songbook" contains the words to some of Snoop's biggest hits, including "Ain't Nothing But A G'Thang" and "Gin and Juice" - all on cigarette rolling papers.

Hollywood film director David Lynch loves coffee so, of course, he decided to make his own.

Embarrassingly, the tagline on the David Lynch Signature Cup is "It's all in the beans ... and I'm just full of beans."

Former boxer George Foreman's grill is undoubtedly the most successful, random celebrity product of recent years.

The "machine", which claims to reduce the fat content of your meal by 42%, has earned Foreman more than $200 million over the last decade or so.

Supermodel Heidi Klum has her own line of low-fat sweets, which includes Heidi's Yogurt Dessert Cremes and Heidi's Yogurt Fruit Cremes.

Apparently, the design of the sweets is influenced by icons that Klum uses in her text messages to friends. Strange.

Actor Danny DeVito is such a big fan of Italian liquer Limoncello, he decided to launch one of his own.

Called Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello, the diminutive star claims that it's "like pouring yourself a glass of liquid sunshine straight from Italy's Sorrentine Peninsula".

Steven Seagal made his name leaping around in action films that allowed him to show off his martial arts prowess. But he is also behind an energy drink called Lightning Bolt.

Advertised as being "packed with vitamins and exotic botanicals", it sounds like just the tipple if you are planning to take on 10 armed men with your bare hands.

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