Monday, May 9, 2011

Amazing Gemstones

There is a tradition that this lustrous blue diamond was cursed and brought bad luck to its owner. Tavernier died penniless as an obscure exile. After he acquired the diamond, Louis 14 died of gangrene after suffering unbearable pain for three weeks. It is said that the jeweller who cut the stone died of grief after learning that his son had stolen the valuable diamond; the son, upon hearing of his father's death, committed suicide. The man who found the diamond among the son's possessions, apparently died the very next day. Soon after King George 4 of England bought the stone, he was so much in debt that it was sold through private channels. Mrs. Walsh lost her brother, son, and daughter after she bought the Hope diamond.

The star South Africa was the first large diamond from South Africa and weighed 83.5 carats. The African shepherd boy who discovered it on the banks of the Orange River in 1869 bartered it to a settler for 500 sheep, 10 oxen, and a horse. After it was cut to an oval three-sided brilliant of about 48 carats, it was sold to the Countess of Dudley for nearly 25,000 and for a time it was called the Dudley diamond. It is presently among the British Crown Jewels.

The Sancy, a stone of 53.75 carats, was taken from an Indian quarry near Golconda and finally came into the possession of Charles the Bold. Charles lost his life and the diamond at the battle of Nancy in AD 1477, after which a soldier took it to Portugal and sold it to de Sancy, a French nobleman. Queen Elizaneth 1 of England acquired it around 1600. Hanrietta Maria, the Queen of Charles 1, took it back of France and pledged it with Cardinal Mazarin. In 1791, it was part of the crown jewels of Louis 14 of France. Itw as stolen in the French Revolution, and reappeared as the property of the Spanish Crown some years later. Prince Demidoff sold it to the Maharaja of Patiala in 1865 and it is presumed to be with the Patiala family today.

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