Lareef A. Samad B.Sc. (Hons) - Date modified :- December 27, 2011
The Archduke Joseph diamond gets its name from its first known owner Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria (1872-1962) of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia, a prince of the Hungarian line of the Hapsburg dynasty, who distinguished himself in the battle field as a commander of the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I, on the side of the Central Powers, and was promoted as Field Marshal at the end of the war. Archduke Joseph was a great-grandson of Emperor Leopold II, son of Empress Maria Theresa.
Archduke Joseph Diamond - Reputed to be the 12th largest perfect white diamond in the world
At the time the Archduke Joseph diamond was sold at a Christie's auction in Geneva in 1993, the characteristics of the stone as given in the GIA report, was a rectangular cushion-cut, D-color, SI-1 clarity diamond weighing 78.54 carats. The clarity grade of the diamond was Slightly Included (SI) category and grade SI-1. From the 5th-category, Slightly Included (SI), the diamond had the potential of attaining the 2nd-category, Internally Flawless (IF), by a slight recutting. In other words the diamond was potentially flawless. The cut of the diamond was a rectangular cushion-cut, with horizontally divided pavilion main facets, a style of cutting that was distinctly Indian. Hence, it was quite possible that the Archduke Joseph diamond, like the 17th-century pear-shaped Ahmedabad diamond was initially cut in Ahmedabad, India, the main cutting center of diamonds in India during this period. The Archduke Joseph diamond is described as having a limpid transparency and soft luminescent quality, features that entitle a diamond to be described as "Golconda."
Field Marshall Archduke Joseph August of Austria from whom the Archduke Joseph diamond gets its name
After the Archduke Joseph diamond was purchased by Alfredo J. Molina, owner of Molina Fine Jewelers, located in Phoenix, Arizona, in October, 1999, he got the diamond slightly recut, enhancing its clarity from Slightly Included (SI-1) to Internally Flawless (IF). The new weight of the diamond was 76.02 carats, equivalent to a reduction in weight of 2.52 carats. Hence, the increase in clarity of the diamond was well worth the sacrifice of 2.52 carats of the stone. The present characteristics of the diamond, as given by a new GIA report are :- A rectangular cushion-cut, D-color, internally flawless (IF) diamond, with a weight of 76.02 carats. The diamond now has all the distinguishing features of the best Golconda diamonds, flawless, with a high internal clarity, and perfectly colorless, giving it a D-color or "Top color" ranking.
Being a D-color diamond, the Archduke Joseph is a Type IIa diamond, which are said to be chemically pure and structurally perfect diamonds. They are also known as the "purest of the pure" of all diamonds, Other phrases used to characterize these diamonds are, "diamonds of the purest water." "top color diamonds." "whiter than white" etc. However they constitute only about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. These diamonds do not have any features that can impart color to diamonds, such as :- 1) Presence of impurities such as nitrogen, boron and hydrogen. 2) Structural deformities in the crystal which can change it's absorption spectrum. 3) Exposure to natural irradiation that cause a green color in diamonds. Only a few diamonds in nature can escape all these factors. Hence, the low percentage of their occurrence in nature. In fact almost 98 % of all naturally occurring diamonds contain nitrogen as impurity, and are known as Type I diamonds.
The diamond no doubt is a Golconda diamond of Indian origin. However, nothing is known about the early history of the diamond, such as the period of discovery, how the diamond reached the west, and how it came to be owned by the rulers of the Hapsburg dynasty of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The Golconda mines near Hyderabad in southern India, was in active production during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was in the 18th-century that production in these mines rapidly declined and almost ceased in the mid-18th century. Thus the Archduke Joseph diamond most probably originated in the Golconda mines either during the 16th or 17th centuries.
Some of the ways in which diamonds from India reached the west can be listed as follows :-
1) Through legitimate means through the medium of private individual travellers/adventurers cum merchants such as Tavernier.
Tavernier visited Golconda on four occasions in the 17th-century, during his six voyages to the East. His first visit was in 1642 during his 2nd voyage, and the second visit in 1645 during his 3rd voyage. His 3rd and 4th visits to Golconda came in 1653 and 1660, during his 4th and 5th voyages respectively. During all these visits he purchased diamonds, to be resold to monarchs and emperors back in Europe, or to emperors of the Mughal, Persian or the Ottoman Empires, through whose territory he had to pass during his return journeys.
2) Throug the creation of colonial outposts in the coastal regions of India during the 16th and 17th centuries, that engaged in legitimate trade with the Mughal empire in the north and other kingdoms in southern India.
Diamonds from Golconda reached the west through these trading outposts both by legitimate and sometimes illegal means. the British outpost of Fort St. George in Madras and the French outpost of Pondicherry, which were among the closest to the diamond mines in Golconda, are documented as transit points for some of the famous diamonds in the world, that originated in Golconda.
Portuguese Outposts - The Portuguese established a chain of outposts along the west coast of India and the island of Ceylon in the early 16th century, with their headqurters at Goa, the seat of the Portugal's Viceroy or Governor. The Florentine diamond is reputed to have been acquired as war booty, by the Governor of Goa, Ludovico Castro, after his troops attacked and defeated the King of Vijayanagar in Southern India in the late 16th-century. Likewise other diamonds may have been acquired legally by way of trade or other means when the Portuguese were maintaining their outposts in India.
Dutch Outposts - The Dutch East India Company established many trading outposts on both the west and east coasts of India, such as Cochin, Santa Cruz, Quilon, Cannanore, Kundapura, Ponnani on the southwest Malabar coast; Golkonda, Bimilipatnam, Pulicat, Nagapatnam on the southeastern Coromandel coast; Surat in the northwest; Travancore and Madras in Tamilnadu; Rajshahi, Hugli, Murshidabad in Bengal. Among the items traded and sought by the Dutch East India Company, included spices, pearls, diamonds and colored stones, ivory and a host of other Indian produce.
British Outposts - The British East India Company was established in the year 1600 to challenge the monopoly of the Portuguese and the Dutch, in the spice trade with the East. In 1608, the British were able to establish a trading post in Surat, after a commercial treaty was signed with Mughal Emperor Jahangir Shah, enabling their ships to dock in the port of Surat. The company built its first factory in Surat in 1612. In the face of tough competition from the Dutch East India Company, and the Portuguese, that sometimes led to naval confrontation in the high seas, the British were able to set up a second trading outpost in Madras in 1639. The third trading outpost was set up in Bombay in 1668 after the territory was ceded to the British by the Portuguese, following a marriage contracted between King Charles II of England and Princess Catherine of Portugal in 1661, in which the City of Bombay was given as dowry to the King. Their trading activities were extended to Bengal in 1690 when a trading outpost was set up in Calcutta. The major trading outposts were Fort St. George in Madras, Fort William in Bengal and the Bombay Castle. The British East India Company that was set up mainly for business purposes, was granted political and administrative powers in 1670 by a series of acts of parliament during the reign of King Charles II, with rights to command fortresses and troops, to make war and peace, to form alliances, to acquire and administer territories, to exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction in the acquired territories. Apart from spices, the company traded in cotton, silk, indigo dye, saltpetre, tea, opium and also pearls, diamonds, and colored gemstones.
French Outposts - The French East India Company set up their first trading post in India, in Pondicherry in 1674, which subsequently became their main settlement in India. Subsequently, they acquired other outposts, such as Mahe in the 1720s, Yanam in 1731 and Karaikal in 1738, and Chandenagar, which remained part of French India until 1954.
3) Through conquests that led to the looting of treasures by the victorious army
One such conquest took place in 1739, when the mighty Persian conqueror Nadir Shah invaded Delhi and Agra, the seat of Mughal power, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. Nadir Shah's forces ransacked the Mughal treasuries of Delhi and Agra, and when their forces eventually left India, carried with them an enormous booty worth 700 million Indian Rupees, that included several chests full of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pearls, and other colored gemstones, and also included the renowned Koh-i-Noor diamond, Darya-i-Noor diamond, Noor-ul-Ain diamond etc. as well as the renowned peacock throne of Shah Jahan. After the assassination of Nadir Shah by his own bodyguard, most of these treasures were looted and dispersed, the Koh-i-Noor diamond reaching Afghanistan, and some reaching the west through Istanbul in Turkey.
Again in 1857 after the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, and the fall of Delhi to British soldiers, Bahadur Zafar Shah II, the last Mughal emperor was arrested and exiled to Burma. British forces then went on the rampage, and like Nadir Shah's forces plundered all the treasurers in the Mughal treasury of Delhi. The treasures included several famous diamonds, such as the Agra diamond, which were looted by soldiers and eventually appeared in the jewelry markets of London.
The Archduke Joseph diamond most probably reached the west, either through the medium of private individual traveller-cum-merchants like Tavernier or through one of the colonial trading outposts in the coastal areas of India, in the 16th or 17th centuries.
Another famous Indian diamond that came into the possession of the Hapsburg rulers was the Florentine Diamond, that was first acquired by the Portuguese Governor of Goa, in India, in the late 16th century, and later purchased in Rome by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando I de Medici from the Jesuit priests, under whose custody the Governor kept the stone. The double-rose cut, fancy light yellow, Florentine diamond remained an heirloom of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany, until it was inherited by the last Grand Duke, Gian Gastone, who died childless in 1737, when the Duchy as well as the diamond passed to the Dukes of Lorraine. The diamond came into the possession of Francis I Stephen of Lorraine, who succeeded Gian Gastone as the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1737. Francis I Stephen married Maria Theresa in 1736, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI. When Charles VI died in 1740, Maria Theresa ascended the throne as the Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of Hungary and Bohemia and her husband Francis Stephen I elected the Holy Roman Emperor. The Florentine Diamond then entered the Austrian Crown Jewels, and remained as a part of the crown jewels until the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I.
It is not known exactly how Archduke Joseph came to own the diamond. The Florentine diamond became part of the jewels of the Hapsburg-Lorraine rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire through the Duchy of Tuscany, where the diamond remained an heirloom of the Dukes of Tuscany from the late 16th-century to 1737, after it was acquired from the Portuguese Governor of Goa, through his intermediaries, the Jesuit priests. Since the Archduke Joseph diamond also reached the west, in the 16th or 17th centuries, it too must have entered one of the duchies of the Holy Roman Empire during this period after it reached one of the centers of the diamond trade, like Paris or Rome. In all probability the diamond must have entered the Duchy of Lorraine, that was adjacent to the northeastern region of France, after it reached Paris a well-known center of the diamond trade, patronized by the Bourbon kings of France.
Francis I Stephen - Holy Roman Emperor, First ruler of the Hapsburg Lorraine dynasty, Consort of Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia
Emperor Leopold II - 3rd ruler of the Hapsburg-Lorraine dynasty
It was probably through the Dukes of Lorraine the diamond eventually came to be owned by the Hapsburg-Lorraine rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, beginning with Francis I Stephen who was elected the Holy Roman Emperor, after his wife Maria Theresa ascended the throne in 1737, as the Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. Unlike the Florentine diamond which entered the crown jewels of Austria, the Archduke Joseph diamond probably remained as a family heirloom and a part of the personal jewelry collection of the Hapsburg-Lorraine rulers. After Francis I Stephen died in 1765, he was succeeded by his eldest son Joseph II, who also probably inherited the diamond. When Joseph II died in 1790, he was succeeded by his brother, Leopold II, who probably came into possession of the diamond. Leopold II, who had 16 children, died suddenly in 1792, just two years after ascending the throne. After Leopold II, the diamond was probably inherited by his 7th son, Archduke Joseph Anton Johann, the Palatine of Hungary from 1796 to 1847.
Archduke Joseph Anton Johann, the Palatine of Hungary - 7th son of Emperor Leopold II, who probably inherited the diamond
The diamond then came into the possession of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria, the second surviving son of Archduke Joseph, the Palatine of Hungary, and his third wife Duchess Maria Dorothea of Wurttemberg. Archduke Joseph Karl joined the Austrian military and reached the rank of a Major General in 1860. He took a keen interest in the study of the origins of the language of the gypsies of Europe (Romani Language), and communicated on this subject with the American, Albert Thomas Sinclair who shared the same interest. Archduke Joseph Karl, married Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and had seven children of whom four survived into adulthood, one of whom was his eldest son Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, who inherited the family heirloom the Archduke Joseph diamond, and from whom the diamond derives its name.
Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria father of Archduke Joseph August Viktor Clemens Maria
Leopold II was succeeded by his eldest son Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor who dissolved the empire in 1806 after its disastrous defeat by Napoleon in 1804. Francis II founded the Austrian Empire in 1804 and became its first emperor, and the king of Hungary and Bohemia. Francis II, who died in 1835, was succeeded by his weak, feeble minded and epileptic son Ferdinand I, who ruled until 1848 with the assistance of a regency council headed by his uncle Archduke Louis. Ferdinand I was persuaded to abdicate in 1848, in favour of his nephew Franz Joseph, who ruled as the Emperor of Austria, king of Hungary and Bohemia for 67 years until his death in 1916. Emperor Franz Joseph's only son and heir presumptive, Archduke Rudolph committed suicide in 1889, and after his death Emperor Franz Joseph's nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the son of his younger brother, Archduke Karl Ludwig, became heir presumptive. It was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Crown Prince of Austria, when he was on an offcial visit to Sarajevo, in 1914, that sparked the chain of events that led to World War I. Emperor Franz Joseph died in 1916 in the middle of World War I and was succeeded by his grand-nephew Charles I, the last Hapsburg-Lorraine ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the last Emperor of Austria, and the last King of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia, Galicia and Lodomeria. After the abolishing of the monarchy and proclamation of the Austrian Republic and Hungarian Republic on November 11, 1918, Charles I and his family left Vienna for Switzerland where they lived in exile until 1921 and were later transferred to the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic, where Charles I died the following year.
Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria, also known as Joseph of Alcsut, married Princess Augusta Maria Louise of Bavaria, in 1893, a grand-daughter of Emperor Franz Joseph, and the daughter of Prince Leopold of Bavaria. They had six children out of whom four survived into adulthood. The eldest surviving son was Archduke Joseph Francis of Austria.
Archduke Joseph August began his illustrious military career in 1890, at the age of 18, when he was commissioned into the infantry regiment as a Lieutenant. He was promoted as Senior Lieutenant in 1893. In 1894 he was transferred to the Dragoon regiment. His next transfer was to the Honved Hussar regiment, after which he was promoted as Major. In 1904 he took command of the Hussar regiment and in 1908 went on to command the 79th Honved Infantry Brigade. In 1911 he became the commander of the 31st Infantry Division at Budapest. Archduke Joseph August was a highly decorated officer in the Austro-Hungarian army, receiving the highest military awards, such as the Bronze Military Merit Medal, Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Joseph, the Order of the Black Eagle etc. He commanded the Austro-Hungarian troops in several fronts during World War I. In 1914, he commanded troops in the Galician theatre and the Carpathian mountains. He was later tranferred to the Carinthian border and was involved in fighting the Isonozo army. He remained at this front until the 9th battle of Isonozo in 1916. During this period he was again decorated for his successes in the battle field. In November 1916, he was placed in command of the troops at the Heeresfront, fighting against Russian and Romanian forces. In January 1918, he was sent to the Southern Theatre and placed in command of the 6th army. In July of that same year he took command of the 10th and 11th armies. Finally he was sent to the Balkan theatre where he was placed in command of the troops of Heeresgruppe Kovess. On October 24, 1918, he was promoted as Field Marshall, the last military officer of the Austro-Hungarian Army to achieve that distinction.
Archduke Joseph August in 1900 after he was promoted as Major in the Austro-Hungarian army
Emperor Charles I appointed him as Regent of Hungary in October 1918, but his efforts in forming a Government proved futile due to the onset of the October 31st revolution. Immediately after this he retired to his Alcsut Estate. During the so-called "Traitor Republic" Archduke Joseph was kept under surveillance, while remaining at Alcsut, due to his popularity in the country. However in August of 1919, he succeeded in regaining his post as the Regent of Hungary, but was compelled to vacate office abruptly after two months, as his appointment would not meet with the approval of the allied forces, who were very keen in not allowing a Hapsburg to hold any commanding position in Hungary. In 1920, Archduke Joseph was made the first knight of the Hungarian Order of Vitez and in 1927, appointed as a member of the newly established House of Lords. He became an Honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and served as its president from 1936 to 1944. Subsequently in the year 1944, he emigrated to the United States, but returned later to Europe to live with his sister, Princess Margaret von Thurn. During this period he wrote and published several memoirs and historical studies. Archduke Joseph died in the year 1962. His eldest son, Archduke Joseph Francis of Austria had predeceased him in 1957.
Joseph Francis (1895-1957) the eldest son of Archduke Joseph August inherited the famous diamond from his father. It is on record that on June 1st 1933, the diamond was deposited with the Hungarian General Credit Bank in the presence of a State Counselor. However about 3 years later the diamond was sold to an European banker who kept it in a safe deposit box in France during world war II and thus escaped the attention of the Nazis.
The stone had mysteriously disappeared after this and it's whereabouts unknown, until one day in June 1961, the stone came up for auction at Sotheby's London. The diamond was described as a magnificent diamond of elongated cushion shape and of mixed cutting, weighing 78.54 carats. Sotheby's catalogue of the jewel sale stated that the diamond was believed to be the largest unmounted diamond of this quality ever to be offered at an auction in Great Britain. In other words, the diamond at that time earned the reputation of being the largest ever, fine quality, loose diamond, to be auctioned in Great Britain, but the diamond had to be withdrawn from the sale when the maximum price realized £145,000 fell far short of the reserve value of the stone. Subsequently a syndicate of Hatton Garden buyers made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the diamond in a privately negotiated sale from the anonymous owner.
The Archduke Joseph diamond again reappears at an auction 32 years later, in the year 1993. The celebrated diamond was put up for sale at a Christie's auction in Geneva in November 1993 and sold for a record sum of US$ 6,487,945.
In October 1999, Alfred J. Molina, owner of Molina Fine Jewelers, based in Phoenix, Arizona, purchased the Archduke Joseph diamond, in a privately negotiated sale, from the anonymous purchaser of the diamond, at the Christie's Geneva auction held in November 1993. After purchasing the diamond, the 78.54-carat diamond was slightly recut sacrificing 2.52 carats of its original weight, enhancing the clarity of the diamond from Slightly Included (SI-1) to Internally Flawless (IF), a phenomenal increase in its clarity, well worth the sacrifice. The new weight of the stone is 76.02 carats. Molina Jewellers have now placed the diamond for private acquisition by any interested parties.
Actress Laura Harring caused a sensation at the Oscars held in April 2002, when she wore a necklace featuring the $25 million Archduke Joseph diamond, belonging to Molina Fine Jewelers.
Actress Laura Harring, wearing a diamond necklace at the Oscars 2002 with the Archduke Joseph Diamond as pendant
Again Celine Dion in her televised comeback special, aired on CBS, on April 7, 2002, wore a necklace created by Molina Fine Jewelers, which included the 76.02- carat Archduke Joseph diamond as a pendant and 57 other diamonds incorporated in a single strand necklace, having a total weight of 73.15 carats. The necklace was designed in such a way that the Archduke Joseph diamond could be inserted or removed to suit any occasion. The television special featured many songs from Celine Dion's new release, "A New Day Has Come" as well as songs from previous albums. Commenting on the television special, Alfred J. Molina, president of Molina Fine Jewelers is reported to have said, "the elegance of the Archduke Joseph diamond mirrors the beauty and clarity of Celine's voice."
Celine Dion wearing the Archduke Joseph diamond in her televised comeback special on CBS
You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)
1) The Archduke Joseph Diamond - Exceptional Jewels. Molina Fine Jewelers, www.molinafinejewelers.com
2) Archduke Joseph Diamond - Diamond-Talk.com. www,diamond-talk.com
3) Archduke Joseph Diamond - www.famousdiamonds.tripod.com
4) Famous Diamonds - by Ian Balfour
5) Archduke Joseph August of Austria - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6) Holy Roman Empire - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
7) House of Habsburg - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
8) Francis I Stephen - Holy Roman Emperor - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
9) Leopold II - Holy Roman Emperor - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
10) Archduke Joseph - Palatine of Hungary - From Wilipedia, the free encyclopedia.
11) Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria - From Wilipedia, the free encyclopedia
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