IDEX Online: Rare blue diamond to hit Smithsonian

By IDEX Online
December 18, 2009

Washington--Set to appear before the public for the first time in more than a half-century, the 31.06-carat, rare grayish-blue Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond will be on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History from Jan. 28 to Aug. 1, the museum announced Monday.

The diamond will be exhibited in the museum's National Gem Collection, in the same hall which hosts the Hope Diamond on permanent display.

The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond was purchased at auction in December 2008 by Laurence Graff. Graff repolished the stone and brought to it more life and color, thus making it internally flawless, according to the Smithsonian.

Many believe the centuries-old diamond, whose origins can be dated as far back as 1662 when Philip IV of Spain gave the stone to his daughter upon her engagement to Emperor Leopold I of Austria, was discovered at the same diamond mine in India as the Hope Diamond. Smithsonian scientists will explore whether this is true while the diamond is in their care, the museum reported.

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