Another Famous Diamond is the “Regent” also known as the “Pitt” Diamond. It has an interesting history similar to the “Blue Hope”. (Involving murder and mayhem)
Found by a slave in 1698 in India where he was working at the Golkonda mine, this large diamond, (410 cts before it was cut) was hidden in the wrapping of a large wound in the slave’s leg, while he made off for the coast. He bartered with a sea captain for passage, offering half of the stone’s profit once they reached land.
The slave was not too lucky. Once under way the Captain murdered the slave so he could have all the profits.
This Captain managed to sell the stone to a diamond merchant for $5000.00. He did not enjoy his riches long. He squandered the money on wine, women and gambling, then fell into a deep depression and hung himself.
On the other hand, the diamond merchant sold the large stone to Governor Thomas Pitt for approx.$100,000.00.
Pitt sent the diamond on to London where he had it cut into a cushion shape brilliant, weighing 140.5 cts.
It took two years to complete the cut and cost $25,000.00. A number of smaller stones were also cut from the original, bringing in about $35,000.00. Some of these were sold to Peter the Great of Russia. The main gem has only one small imperfection and is considered one of the finest and most beautiful of all the known large diamonds.
In 1717 it was sold to Phillip II, Duke of Orleans,then Regent of France, for $650,000.00, since that time it has been known as the “Regent”.
This diamond passed down through the French Royalty till the French Revolution, when it was stolen along with the”French Blue” However the “Regent” diamond was found and returned to the government.
Napolean had it mounted in the hilt of his sword. When he was exiled, the stone made it’s way to Austria and was later returned to France, where it became part of the crown jewels.
Many of the French crown jewels were sold at auction in 1887, but the “Regent” was reserved and put on display at the Louvre among other national treasures.
The "French Regent"
When the Germans invaded Paris in 1947, the “Regent” was sent to a rural hiding place and hidden behind a stone panel in a chalet in Chambord. After the war it was returned to the Louvre where it is today.
This diamond is still considered to be the most beautiful diamond in the world.
” Colored Gemstones” by Antoinette Matlins
“Encyclopedia Of Gemstones and Minerals” by Martin Holden
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The Notorious Hope Diamond
There are many famous diamonds. Some have been around for hundreds of years. That is what is so amazing about these gemstones. They have histories that have been traced down through the ages.
One of the most famous diamonds of all is the “Blue Hope” now on display in the Smithsonian Institute in the US state of Washington.
The “Blue Hope” has a notorious history. It is supposed to carry a curse that anyone who owns or even touches the blue stone will live out their days in misery, poverty and sometimes unexpected death such as suicide. This has happened to many of it’s owners, of course that could have happened naturally from poor business practices and bad habits.
The original stone, before it was cut weighed 3106 carats, the largest diamond ever found. Rumor says that it was stolen from the eye of a Hindu idol, and that the temple priests created the curse. Modern experts believe the curse was invented by a diamond merchant to make the stone more interesting.
The original French merchant who acquired the stone either by theft or by legal means, did die in poverty.
The large diamond comes from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India. At that time it was crudely cut in a triangular shape, the cut diamond weighing just over 112 carats. The year was 1668, when That merchant sold what he called a” beautiful violet stone” (un beau violet) to King Louis XIV of France.
The King had the stone recut to a 67ct diamond and had it suspended on a neck ribbon which he wore on special occasions.
In 1749, King Louis XV, had the stone, then known as the “French Blue” reset into a piece of Royal Jewelry called the “Golden Fleece”. Then in 1791, in the French Revolution,King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France with the Royal jewels but were caught.The jewels were handed over to the government and the fleeing monarch and his paramour were beheaded. In the upheaval of the revolution the “French Blue” was stolen.
History next notes a large blue diamond in the possession of a London diamond merchant in 1812; it is believed to be the “French Blue”. The stone is then sold to King George IV of England. Upon his death in 1830 the diamond is sold to help cover his enormous debts.
Next we find the blue stone in the gem catalog of diamond merchant Henry Phillip Hope. It is now called the “Hope” diamond. The diamond passes down through the Hope family, from Henry Philip to Henry Thomas Hope, to a Grandson, Lord Francis Hope. All died in bankruptcy. Again the stone was sold to pay off debts.
This time it crossed the Atlantic to Joseph Frankels of New York city, who also ended in debt.
In 1911 the blue diamond was owned by Pierre Cartier, who had the stone reset as the middle stone of a headpiece of large white diamonds. This piece was sold to a Mrs. Walsh McLean of Washington DC.
She eventually had the stone reset into a pendant, which is how we see it today. It is said that she wore it always and would not take it off. Mrs. McLean owned the “blue hope” until she died in 1947. She also had many instances of bad luck but never attributed it to the diamond.
Harry Winston purchased her jewelry, “Blue Hope” included, at the estate sale in 1949. Winston displayed the blue diamond in many exhibits, then in 1958 Winston Inc, of New York city donated the large blue diamond to the Smithsonian Institute where it immediately became their star attraction…… It has since traveled four times, in 1962 to France, to be displayed in the “Ten Centuries of French Jewels”, in 1965, to South Africa for the ‘Rand Easter Show” 1984 saw the Blue Hope at Harry Winston’s 50th anniversary exhibit and then in 1996 back to New York, to Harry Winston, for cleaning and minor restoration.
The modern weight of this famous blue diamond is 45.5 carats. The blue shade is the result of trace amounts of boron in the stone.
The pendant surrounding the “Hope” is made up of 16 white diamonds and the neck chain contains 45 smaller white diamonds.
Modern gemologists using a color-meter found the stone to have a slight tinge of violet mixed in with the blue which takes us back to the original “un beau violet” 1668.
This famous diamond has had a fascinating life!
Resources: Wikipedia, About.com, the Smithsonian Institute
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Karat is the Gold measurement. It is used to measure the purity of gold.
Carrots, of course, are bunny food and diet snacks.
Diamonds are weighed by the carat (ct) One carrot weighs 200 milligrams or 1/2 gram. This has been the weigh scale since 1913. Before that, the carat differed from country to country. An older stone could weigh heavier than the modern weight.
Carat weight is often referred to as points. One carat = 100 pts.
A stone with 25 points = 1/4 carat.
This is weight not size.
Diamonds are priced by the carat and quality of the stone. A very fine diamond weighing 1 carat would be much higher priced than one of poorer quality.
Another term used by jewelers is “spread” This refers to the “look” of the diamond. A lot is determined by the cut of the jewel.
The way it is cut and set into a casing can make the stone appear much larger than it really is.
The carat weight is always determined before it is put in a setting. However some jewelers may price by the “look” of the stone.
To avoid this always by from reputable dealers.
When buying a very valuable diamond, you should always receive a certificate of worth. You should also have it appraised by a certified gemologist. Beware of scammers – even on New York’s famous 47th street. Research and be knowledgeable. take the time to get it right – after all a diamond last a lifetime.
For examples of settings and spread click here.
An excellent book for anyone thinking of purchasing precious stones is
“Jewelry and Gems” The Buying Guide – by Antoinette Matlins
Our resources: “Jewelry and Gems” as well as Wikipedia, also” The Encyclopedia of Gemstones and Minerals ” by Martin Holden.
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The hardest substance on earth! A stone that men have killed for and women swoon over. The subject of many movies as well as police reports.
In ancient times soldiers wearing diamonds in their shields were considered invincible.
The diamond is made out of four known polymers of carbon, accounting for its’ extreme hardness. It takes mighty strength to break a diamond and they can only be scratched by another diamond.
The first diamonds came from India, they were uncut crystals. At that time their value was less than pearls or colored stones. Then in the middle ages they became more popular being used mostly as talismans, granting the wearer supernatural powers and invincibility in battle. The wearer was thought to be more courageous as well as being protected from all sorts of illnesses.
Diamonds were credited with many magical powers, such as driving away the devil and other evil spirits, enhancing the love of a spouse and could even predict guilt or innocence when worn by a high priest in the Talmud. The stone was said to glow brightly if the accused was innocent but grow very dim if guilty.
Diamonds come from very deep in the earth, where temperatures reach 1000 degrees Celsius or more . The pressure is more than 50,000 times that of the Earth’s surface. They are brought to the surface by eruptions of gases that explode into underground fissures called diamond pipes. The rocks that result from these explosions are called kimberlite and contain pieces of igneous rocks in which the diamond crystals are found.
Most of these crystals are colorless, colored crystals do exist but are extremely rare. Blue diamonds are found when crystals come in contact with the mineral boron. Other minerals cause different tints.
Natural diamond crystals can be transparent, translucent or opaque. Their luster is caused from being highly refractive. The variety of transparency is due to the strong dispersion of light. These colors display best in a brilliant cut gemstone. ( the most common diamond cut)
India remained the main diamond producer until the 1700’s, when a diamond discovery in Brazil took away some of the business.
Then in 1866, in South Africa, a little boy was discovered playing with a 21 caret stone. This lead to the creation of the largest diamond mines in the world. Here, also is where the” Cullinan” diamond, weighing in at 3106 carats, was found. The biggest diamond ever.
There are other diamond deposits all around the world – the Ural mountains of Russia – Siberia – western Australia – Appalachian mountains in California – Pike County in Arkansas – the glacial morain around the great lakes area of Canada and of course the search continues.
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This is a place to learn all about precious gemstones. Where they are found and how they are made.
Which are the most sought after and the most rare.
We will look into the history of many of the gems and discuss their origins, colors, folklore and why they are prized by Kings and commoners alike.
many colors of garnets
Gemstones come from all over the world. Some have even been found in Meteorites. (special kind of peridot) Very Rare! Some can be hand picked in National Parks, in the USA, or in private mines that have opened to the public such as the one below in Ontario, Canada
Amethyst Mine Panarama, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Remember, A gemstone, by it’s nature, is a “Forever” gift.
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