Gemstones have played an important part in history and some have stories of their own. We want to celebrate these famous gems and take a closer look at some of their stories…
The Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond is a 45.52 carat deep blue diamond, and it is believed to be the largest blue diamond in the world. King Louis XIV purchased the diamond in 1668, but it was turned over to the French government in 1791 when Louis and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France during the French Revolution. The following year, the Hope Diamond was stolen and did not reappear until 1812 in London. It passed through several owners until American heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean brought it to the United States. She added the current setting – the stone is surrounded by 16 white diamonds and hanging on a chain of 45 diamonds. After Mrs. McLean died, Harry Winston purchased the diamond and donated it to the Smithsonian, where it resides today.
The Tiffany Diamond
The Tiffany Diamond is a 128.54 carat fancy yellow diamond that was discovered in South Africa in 1877. The rough diamond was 287.42 carats, until it was sent to Paris by Charles Lewis Tiffany where it was cut into its iconic cushion shape. The Tiffany Diamond was then deemed the world largest and finest fancy cut yellow diamond. In 1893 it was on display at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. The famous diamond has only appeared in Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue windows one time, in 1955. It was said the stone was so bright it could be seen from across the street! Most people will recognize the stone from the Jean Schlumberger Ribbon Necklace that Audrey Hepburn wore while doing press for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Today, the Tiffany Diamond is set in a necklace of white diamonds and is on permanent display on the main floor of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store.
Princess Katharina Henckel Von Donnersmarck’s Emerald & Diamond Tiara
This famous tiara was made around 1900 by a French royal jeweler when Guido, Count von Henckel and First Prince von Donnersmarck, commissioned it for his second wife. The tiara is not signed but it is believed to have been made by either Boucheron or Chaumet, as they were favored jewelers of European nobility at the time. The tiara is topped with 11 polished pear-shaped emeralds totaling approximately 500 carats. It is believed these emeralds belonged to Empress Eugenie, as in 1872 the sale of Empress Eugenie’s private collection contained 25 polished emerald drops. The tiara has been up for auction by Sotheby’s twice, once in 1979, and again in 2011. It is currently in the the possession of a private collector.
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