The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond: A Crown Jewel of History

The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond: A Crown Jewel of History

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond // Graff


The world of gemology has been enraptured by diamonds, their brilliance and value, but the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond, also known as the Coburg Blue Diamond, holds an allure that goes beyond the physical. It's a gem that weaves together history, geology, and craftsmanship into an exquisite narrative. This blue wonder, renowned for its size, clarity, and exceptional worth, has passed through the hands of kings and queens, emperors and empresses, as well as renowned jewellers.


Historical Significance

The story of the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond begins in India, the source of the world's finest diamonds until the 18th century. It was first recorded as part of the dowry of the Infanta Margarita Teresa upon her engagement to her uncle, Leopold I of Austria, in 1664. The diamond later found its way into the Bavarian Crown Jewels in 1722 when the Archduchess Maria Amalia of Austria married Charles of Bavaria from the Wittelsbach family, thereby getting its moniker.

The diamond remained in Bavaria until the end of World War I when the Wittelsbach family was dethroned. After being in the hands of private owners for many years, it was purchased in 2008 by London-based jeweller, Laurence Graff.


Owners and Journey

Laurence Graff is one of the most notable owners of the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond. Known as the "King of Diamonds," Graff purchased the gem at a Christie's auction for a staggering $23.4 million, setting a world record price for any diamond or jewel sold at auction. Post-acquisition, Graff made a controversial decision to re-cut the diamond to enhance its brilliance, despite the stone's historical significance. It lost around 4.45 carats in the process but gained in clarity and brilliance.

Before Graff, the diamond had significant owners including King Philip IV of Spain, who gifted it to his daughter, Infanta Margarita Teresa, in the 17th century. The gem was later owned by the Bavarian royal family for over a century. Despite being a crown jewel, the diamond mysteriously disappeared in the 20th century, only to reemerge in 1962 at a Christie's auction.


Geological Detail and Carat Size

Geologically, the Wittelsbach-Graff is a rare blue diamond, weighing 31.06 carats. Its blue colour is attributed to trace amounts of boron within its carbon structure. The presence of boron not only gives the diamond its mesmerising blue hue but also makes it a Type IIb diamond - a rare category constituting less than 0.1% of all natural diamonds.

Before its recut by Graff, the diamond was larger, weighing in at 35.56 carats. The reduction in size was a trade-off for the enhancement of its clarity and the removal of chips and abrasions it had endured throughout its journey.


Clarity and Cut

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond Before Recut

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond // Graff


In its original form, the Wittelsbach-Graff was a VS2 clarity diamond with a cushion shape and a symmetry that was far from perfect, owing to the diamond cutting techniques available in the 17th century. After its recut by Graff, the diamond was reclassified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as Internally Flawless (IF), a remarkable enhancement.

The recut maintained the diamond's original symmetry while maximizing its fire, brilliance, and scintillation - the key factors contributing to a diamond's sparkle. This reworking of the diamond faced criticism from some purists who believed that the gem's historical integrity was compromised. However, others admired Graff's audacity and the gem's enhanced beauty.



Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond

Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond // Graff


While the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond's value lies not just in its size, clarity, and rarity, but also its rich history, it's difficult to ascertain its exact worth as it hasn't been sold since its purchase by Graff in 2008. However, considering that Graff purchased it for $23.4 million, and since then, the diamond's clarity has been significantly improved, its value now is expected to be significantly higher.

Comparable stones like the Hope Diamond, another famous blue diamond, have been insured for hundreds of millions of dollars, hinting at the potential worth of the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond. However, the unique historical significance, improved clarity, and overall rarity of the Wittelsbach-Graff arguably make it a priceless artefact.



The Wittelsbach-Graff diamond is a true gem, not just in terms of its physical attributes but also its historical journey. It encapsulates centuries of royal intrigue and craftsmanship in its facets, speaking volumes of its erstwhile owners and the skill of the artisans who have worked on it. It stands testament to the allure of diamonds, an allure that transcends time and continues to captivate humankind.


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