Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond

Last updated

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
Wittelsbach Graff Diamond.JPG
Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, on display at the National Museum of Natural History
Weight31.06 carats (6.212 g)
Color Fancy Deep Blue
Cut Antique oval stellar brilliant
Country of origin India 🇮🇳
Mine of origin Kollur Mine, Guntur District
Original ownerNawabs of Punjab
Owner Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Father Emir of Qatar
Estimated value US$80 million (June 2011)

The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is a 31.06-carat (6.212 g) deep-blue diamond with internally flawless clarity, originating in the Kollur Mine, India. Laurence Graff purchased the Wittelsbach Diamond in 2008 for £16.4 million. In 2010, Graff revealed he had had the diamond cut by three diamond cutters to remove flaws. The diamond was now more than 4 carats (800 mg) lighter and was renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond. There is controversy, as critics claim the recutting has so altered the diamond as to make it unrecognisable, [1] compromising its historical integrity. [2]


Wittelsbach Diamond

The Wittelsbach diamond, before being recut by Graff. Wittelsbach.png
The Wittelsbach diamond, before being recut by Graff.

The original Wittelsbach Diamond, also known as Der Blaue Wittelsbacher, [3] was a 35.56-carat (7.112 g) fancy, deep, greyish-blue diamond with VS2 clarity that had been part of both the Austrian and the Bavarian Crown jewels. [4]

Its colour and clarity had been compared to the Hope Diamond. The diamond had measured 24.40 millimetres (0.961 in) in diameter and 8.29 millimetres (0.326 in) in depth. It had 82 facets arranged in an atypical pattern. The star facets on the crown were vertically split, and the pavilion had sixteen needle-like facets arranged in pairs, pointing outward from the culet facet. [5]


Maria Amalia of Austria's bridal portrait shows the large blue diamond as the centerpiece in her hair ornament. Detail from a painting by Frans van Stampart, 1722. Stampart, Frans van - Maria Amalia of Austria.png
Maria Amalia of Austria's bridal portrait shows the large blue diamond as the centerpiece in her hair ornament. Detail from a painting by Frans van Stampart, 1722.
The Wittelsbach Diamond in the Crown of Bavaria, just beneath the cross. Konig Ludwig I. im Konigsornat (Detail).jpg
The Wittelsbach Diamond in the Crown of Bavaria, just beneath the cross.

The diamond originates from the Kollur mines of Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh, India. [6] The story that King Felipe IV of Castile purchased the jewel and included it in the dowry of his teenage daughter, Margaret Teresa, in 1664 is apocryphal. The first time the diamond was mentioned is about fifty years later when it was already in Vienna. [6] It was in the possession of the Habsburg family and came to Munich when, in 1722, Maria Amalia married Karl of Bavaria, a member of the Wittelsbach family. [7]

In 1745, the Wittelsbach Diamond was first mounted on the Bavarian Elector's Order of the Golden Fleece. When Maximilian IV Joseph von Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806, he commissioned a royal crown that prominently displayed the diamond. Until 1918, the jewel remained on top of the Bavarian crown. It was seen last in public at Ludwig III of Bavaria's funeral in 1921. [4] [7]

The Wittelsbach family tried to sell the diamond in 1931 during the Great Depression but found no buyers. It eventually sold the jewel in 1951. [8] In 1958, the stone was exhibited at the World Expo in Brussels. In the 1960s, the Goldmuntz family asked Joseph Komkommer, a jeweller, to re-cut the diamond, but Komkommer recognised its historical significance and refused. Instead, he joined a group of dealers that bought it. [9] The diamond had been in a private collection since 1964; [7] Helmut Horten had presented to his wife Heidi at their wedding. [6]

On 10 December 2008, the 35.56-carat (7.112 g) Wittelsbach Diamond was sold to London-based jeweller Laurence Graff for £16.4 million sterling, or US$23.4 million, at the time the highest price ever paid at auction for a diamond. (The previous record had been held by a pear-shaped 100-carat (20 g) stone named the Star of the Season.) The record was eclipsed on 16 November 2010, when a 24.78 carat pink diamond was sold for £29 million Sterling, or US$46 million, again to Mr. Graff. [10]

In June 2011, Graff apparently sold the diamond to the former emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa, for at least US$80 million. [11]


If you discovered a Leonardo da Vinci with a tear in it and covered in mud, you would want to repair it. We have similarly cleaned up the diamond and repaired damage caused over the years.

Francois Graff [2]

Immediately following the sale, Graff announced his intention to recut the gem to remove damage to the girdle and enhance the colour. [7] [12] [13]

On 7 January 2010, it was reported that the diamond had been recut to enhance the stone's colour and clarity, losing over 4.45 carats (890 mg) in the process. The resulting stone has been renamed the Wittelsbach-Graff. The move was met with heavy criticism by some experts: Gabriel Tolkowsky called it "the end of culture." [6] Shortly after the auction of the diamond, American gem cutter and replicator of famous diamonds Scott Sucher stated, "In the case of the Wittelsbach, what's at stake is at minimum over 350 years of history, as every nick, chip, and scratch has a story to tell. Just because we can't decipher these stories doesn't mean they don't exist." [14] The alteration of the historical stone has been compared by Professor Hans Ottomeyer, director of the Deutsches Historisches Museum of Berlin, to the overpainting of a painting by Rembrandt. It is opined that the recutting was done to increase its market value and, by extension, that of other "fancy diamonds". [6] As a result of the recut, which removed some chips and reduced the size of the culet by 40%, the gem has been re-evaluated by the Gemological Institute of America and its colour grade revised from "fancy deep grayish-blue", the same grade given by GIA to The Hope, to the more desirable "fancy deep blue". The diamond's clarity had also been revised upward from "very slightly included" (VS1) to "internally flawless" (IF).

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Koh-i-Noor</span> Large cut diamond

The Koh-i-Noor, also spelled Kohinoor and Koh-i-Nur, is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats (21.12 g). It is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The diamond is currently set in the Crown of the Queen Mother.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hope Diamond</span> Historic 45.52-carat diamond of deep-blue color

The Hope Diamond is a 45.52-carat (9.104 g) diamond originally extracted in the 17th century from the Kollur Mine in Guntur, India. It is blue in color due to trace amounts of boron. Its exceptional size has revealed new information about the formation of diamonds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diamond cutting</span> Faceting of a rough diamond to increase its brilliance

Diamond cutting is the practice of shaping a diamond from a rough stone into a faceted gem. Cutting diamonds requires specialized knowledge, tools, equipment, and techniques because of its extreme difficulty.

The Deepdene is a 104.52 carats (20.904 g) yellow diamond widely considered to be the largest irradiated diamond in the world.

Kollur Mine was a series of gravel-clay pits on the south bank of the Krishna River in the Golconda Sultanate of India. It currently falls within the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is thought to have produced many large diamonds, known as Golconda diamonds, several of which are or have been a part of crown jewels.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diamond cut</span> Type of cut with numerous facets to increase the brilliance

A diamond cut is a style or design guide used when shaping a diamond for polishing such as the brilliant cut. Cut does not refer to shape, but the symmetry, proportioning and polish of a diamond. The cut of a diamond greatly affects a diamond's brilliance; this means if it is cut poorly, it will be less luminous.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diamond color</span> Color of diamonds

A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue, or color. However, in reality almost no gem-sized natural diamonds are absolutely perfect. The color of a diamond may be affected by chemical impurities and/or structural defects in the crystal lattice. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond's coloration, a diamond's color can either detract from or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are discounted in price when more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink diamonds or blue diamonds can be dramatically more valuable. Of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest. The Aurora Pyramid of Hope displays a spectacular array of naturally colored diamonds, including red diamonds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harry Winston</span> American jeweller

Harry Winston was an American jeweler. He donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after owning it for a decade. He also traded the Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1963 in exchange for 3,800 carats of small diamonds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tavernier Blue</span> Rare large, blue diamond, later recut as the Hope Diamond

The Tavernier Blue was the precursor diamond to the Blue Diamond of the French Crown, and subsequently, after a disappearance and reemergence into the public forum, it was renamed the Hope Diamond. This provenance was accepted by many historians and gemologists for years and was supported by research with 3D imaging and prototyping technology in 2005. It is a Type IIb diamond.

Alfred E. Allnatt, known professionally as Major A.E. Allnatt, was an English businessman and art collector. He took over his father's supply business and developed it into Allnatt London Properties and other well-known businesses in England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiffany Yellow Diamond</span> One of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered

The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. Its carat weight was originally 287.42 carats in the rough when discovered in 1878 in the Kimberley mine in South Africa. It was cut into a cushion shape of 128.54 carats with 82 facets—24 more than a traditional round brilliant—to maximize its brilliance. The facet pattern features eight needle-like facets pointing outward from the culet (bottom) facet. Jewelry and diamond historian Herbert Tillander refers to this as a "stellar brilliant cut", and lists the gem in his book, Diamond Cuts in Historic Jewelry – 1381 to 1910 (1995), among other such diamonds: the Cullinan Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor, the Polar Star, the Wittelsbach, and others.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Diamond (gemstone)</span> Gemstone

Diamond is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones. They have been used as decorative items since ancient times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nassak Diamond</span> 43.38 carats (8.676 g) diamond originated from India

The Nassak Diamond is a large, 43.38 carats (8.676 g) Golconda Diamond that originated as a larger 89 carat diamond in the 15th century in India. Found in Golconda mines of Kollur and originally cut in India, the diamond was the adornment in the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik, in the state of Maharashtra, India from at least 1500 to 1817. The British East India Company captured the diamond through the Third Anglo-Maratha War and sold it to British jewellers Rundell and Bridge in 1818. Rundell and Bridge recut the diamond in 1818, after which it made its way into the handle of the 1st Marquess of Westminster's dress sword.

Graff is a British multinational jeweller based in London. It was founded by British jeweller Laurence Graff in 1960. A vertically integrated company, Graff operations comprise the design, manufacture and retail distribution of jewellery and watches.

Laurence Graff is an English jeweller and billionaire businessman, best known as the founder of Graff Diamonds, supplier of jewellery and jewels.

The Princie Diamond is an approximately 34.65 carat cushion-cut fancy intense pink diamond discovered 300 years ago in the Golconda mines. Christie's say that the Princie Diamond is believed to be the fourth largest pink diamond in the world, after the Daria-i-Noor, the Noor-ol-Ain - which are both part of the Iranian Crown Jewels; both were cut, according to experts, from one single c. 242 carat pink diamond, - and the Pink Star, a diamond weighing 59.60 carats.

The Winston Blue is the name given to what was the largest flawless vivid blue diamond bought by Harry Winston, Inc. on May 15, 2014, from an anonymous person for $23.8 million at Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale. The approximately $1.8003 million per carat price paid for the 13.22-carat diamond is a world record for a blue diamond. Harry Winston, Inc. had also bought a 101.73-carat colorless diamond named Winston Legacy at Christie's Geneva jewelry auction in 2013. The American luxury jeweler had then paid $26.7 million for the colorless diamond, which is a world record for the highest price paid per carat for a colorless diamond.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Blue diamond</span> Blue colored variant of a diamond

Blue diamond is a type of diamond which exhibits all of the same inherent properties of the mineral except with the additional element of blue color in the stone. They are colored blue by trace amounts of boron that contaminate the crystalline lattice structure. Blue diamonds belong to a subcategory of diamonds called fancy color diamonds, the generic name for diamonds that exhibit intense color.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pink diamond</span> Type of diamond that has pink color

Pink diamond is a type of diamond that has pink color. The source of their pink color is greatly debated in the gemological world but it is most commonly attributed to plastic deformation that these diamonds undergo during their formation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red diamond</span> Rare red-coloured variety of diamond

A red diamond is a diamond which displays red colour and exhibits the same mineral properties as colourless diamonds. Red diamonds are commonly known as the most expensive and the rarest diamond colour in the world, even more so than pink or blue diamonds, as very few red diamonds have been found. Red diamonds, just like pink diamonds, are greatly debated as to the source of their colour, but the gemological community most commonly attributes both colours to gliding atoms in the diamond's structure as it undergoes enormous pressure during its formation. Red diamonds are among the 12 colours of fancy colour diamonds, and have the most expensive price per carat. They will typically run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per carat range. Since they are the rarest colour, it is difficult to find them in large sizes, and they are mostly found in sizes less than 1 carat. Red diamonds only exist with one colour intensity, Fancy, although their clarities can range from Flawless to Included, just like white diamonds. The largest and most flawless red diamond is the 5.11 carat Fancy Red Moussaieff Red Diamond, which has internally flawless clarity.


  1. "Recut and Renamed Wittels Diamond to Face Public and Critics". The New York Times . 6 January 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  2. 1 2 "World's most famous 'unseen' diamond". BBC News . 30 January 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  3. "Der Blaue Wittelsbacher". Haute Living blog. hauteliving.com. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  4. 1 2 "Christie's Press Release" (PDF). 3 November 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.
  5. enter your name here. "The Wittelsbach Diamond". tripod.com.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Schulz M (25 January 2010). "Schleifstein der Schande" (in German). Der Spiegel. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Diamond sells for recession-busting $24.3 M". CNN . 11 December 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008. The diamond has a royal lineage. Christie's traces it thus: King Philip IV of Spain (1605–1665) selected the diamond in 1664 as part of a dowry for his daughter, the Infanta Margarita Teresa (1651–1673). She had become engaged to Leopold I of Austria (1640–1705), who later became Holy Roman Emperor. When she died in 1673, her husband retained the diamond, which was passed on to his heirs. In 1722, the diamond entered the Wittelsbach family when the Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria (1701–1756) married Bavarian Crown Prince Charles Albert (1697–1745). It was worn by successive rulers until the abdication of King Ludwig III (1845–1921) in 1918.
  8. Dröschel/Evers/Ottomeyer (Lit.)
  9. "Bavaria considers bid to bring mysterious Wittelsbach diamond home". The Times. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
  10. "BBC News – Rare pink diamond sells for record-breaking 拢29m". BBC News. 16 November 2010.
  11. Evers/Möckl/Nöth (Lit.), P. 363
  12. Richard W. Wise. "New Dope: Who Cut the Hope ...Diamond?". gemwiseblogspotcom.blogspot.com.
  13. "Earth Times: show/245562,historic-diamond-fetches-16-million-pounds-at-london-auction.html". earthtimes.org.
  14. "Museum Diamonds – Scott Sucher – Wittelsbach – Museum Diamonds". museumdiamonds.com.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Wittelsbach Graff Diamond at Wikimedia Commons