Historic blue diamond from India may fetch PS10m at Christies

November 3rd, 2008 - 6:45 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 3 (ANI): A rare blue-grey diamond, which traces its history to India, and had been given to the girl in one of the most famous paintings in Western art, will soon go under the hammer at Christies, London.

The Wittelsbach diamond, which apparently originated from the Indian diamond mines, is almost once inch in width.

A Christies spokesperson claimed that offering a blue diamond of this type was ”truly extraordinary”.

It was given to Infanta Margarita Teresa by her father King Philip IV of Spain on her engagement to her uncle Leopold I of Austriaone of the most historic events in European history.

According to estimates, the 35.56-carat gem, with a 300-year-old royal history, could raise up to 10million pounds when it goes under the hammer on December 10.

Infanta was a beautiful child with blue eyes and blonde hair, and was the central figure in Las Meninas (1656), the most famous painting by Spaniard Diego Velazquez.

In a political move, she was engaged to Leopold I, who later became the Holy Roman Emperor, and that was when her father gave his 13-year-old daughter the diamond as part of the dowry.

It is believed that the diamond originated from the Indian diamond mines, was passed into the Austrian and then Bavarian crown jewels, and was finally sold into private hands in 1931.

It makes part of the current private collection since 1964.

According to a Christie’’s spokesman said “no examples” of coloured diamonds comparable to the Wittelsbach have been put up in an auction before.

“Blue diamonds are rare and to offer a blue diamond of this size, quality, shape and provenance is truly extraordinary. the Telegraph quoted her as saying.

Francois Curiel, chairman of Christie’’s Europe and its international head of jewellery, said: “It is a great honour and a lifetime dream to handle a museum quality stone such as the Wittelsbach.

“The appearance of a large blue diamond, among the rarest of colours, with a history that can be traced back to the 17th century and 300 years of royal connections will surely be a thrilling occasion for all collectors of exceedingly rare jewels and works of art.”

The Wittelsbach diamond is part of Christie’’s auction Jewels: The London Sale. (ANI)

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