Friday, March 4, 2016

The Regent Diamond

From Geri Walton:
A diamond, a whopping 410 carats uncut, was found by a slave in the Kollur mine in India. The slave smuggled it out of the mine: Some say in his rectum and others claim it was placed in a large wound in his leg. Then an English sea captain killed the slave, stole the diamond, and sold it to a merchant in India.

An English merchant named Thomas Pitt bought the diamond from the merchant while in Madras in 1701. Because of Pitt’s ownership, the diamond became known as the Pitt diamond. Pitt cut the diamond into a 141 carat cushion brilliant that was described as “almost round in shape, of a thickness equal to its width, perfectly white, free from all blemish, cloud, or speck of admirable water.”

Pitt attempted to sell the diamond to various European royals, including Louis XIV without success. Eventually, however, it was purchased by Louis XV’s Regent, Philippe II, duc d’Orléans in 1717. The duc was encouraged to purchase it by his friend, the famed memoirist, Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon.

The duc d’Orléans had the diamond set into the crown used at Louis XV’s coronation in 1722. At that time it became known as the Regent Diamond. Later, when Louis XVI was crowned, the monstrous diamond was set into his new crown, and when he wore it, he reputedly cried out in discomfort, “It hurts me!” (Read more.)
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