It is worthwhile visiting the Smithsonian’s museum of Natural History in Washington DC these days, the exhibit of the biggest Flawless deep blue diamond of 31.06 carat, the Wittelsbach Graff, was extended until first of Sept 2010. It is displayed in a ring at the Harry Winston Gallery next door to the world famous Hope diamond that is in the Hall of Geology, Gems & Minerals.
The Wittelbach diamond via Wikipedia
The amazing Wittelbach diamond was first publicly shown in 1722 at the marriage of Maria Amalia to Charles of Bavaria (one of the Wittelsbach family) in Munich. It was first mounted on the Bavarian’s chain of the Golden Fleece Order in 1745. When Maximilian Josef of Wittelbach became the first king of Bavaria in 1806 he set the family famous blue 35.56 carat
s diamond in the Bavarian Royal Crown.
Maximilian of Bavaria
Later it was seen in 1921 at the funeral of Ludwig the 3rd, the last king of Bavaria. In 1931 the Wittelbach family tried to sell the diamond with no luck. They sold it finally in 1951 and it was exhibited at the World Trade show, Expo, that took place in Brussels, Belgium in 1958.It was in private collection until 1964 thereafter it was given as an Engagement Wedding present by Helmut Horten to his beloved Heidi (known today as the worlds 3rd richest billionaire woman).
Heidi Horten via picturedesk.com
In the end of 2008 the 35.56 Wittelbach was sold to the famous jeweler Lawrence Graff for no less than 16.4 million UK Pounds. It was the highest price ever that was paid for a diamond at an auction. He then re cut it to enhance the color and clarity of the gem. It ended up losing 4.45 carats to be the famous Wittelbach Graff 31.06 carats.