Spanish King's Rare Blue Diamond Could Go for $13.4M

35.56-carat jewel likely to defy market slump
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 9, 2008 10:56 AM CST
The diamond is expected to sell for some $15 million at auction on Dec. 10.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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(Newser) – A rare blue diamond with a rich history could sell for $13.4 million at auction in London tomorrow, despite the international economic slump, Bloomberg reports. The 35.56-carat Wittelsbach Diamond, the highest-valued stone offered by Christie’s International this year, belonged to Spain’s King Philip IV. He gave it to his daughter in 1667 as part of her marriage dowry to Emperor Leopold I of Austria; it has belonged to a private collector since 1964.

“If someone buys it for 9 million pounds, it’ll be because of the history,” said a jeweler. Jewelry demand has sunk with the financial crisis. In a November auction, Christie’s was only able to sell half its offering, with prices 20%-30% lower than they’d been in the spring. “The middle market is weaker, but we’re finding that confidence in special things is maintained,” said Christie’s jewelry head. “It’s a great way of storing wealth.”