Monday, October 23, 2017

Le Grand Mazarin

The famous pink diamond from the French Crown jewels. From Christie's:
The stone, which will be offered on 14 November in the Magnificent Jewels sale at Christie’s in Geneva, takes its name from Cardinal Mazarin, who became France’s Chief Minister in 1642. Toward the end of his life, Mazarin assembled a collection of 18 exceptional gems. Purchased from the royal families of Europe or sourced from the jeweller Lescot, they were the most beautiful jewels on the Continent.

Of the 18, eight were ‘square cut’ diamonds; the largest of these was known as the Grand Mazarin. These stones became part of the French crown jewels and would remain the favourites of the French royal family for more than 200 years, having first passed from Mazarin to King Louis XIV — The Sun King — in 1661, when the French ruler was only 23 years old.

Louis’ wife, Maria Theresa of Austria, is likely to have been the first person to wear the Grand Mazarin. After Maria Theresa’s death, Louis XIV added the Grand Mazarin to his chain of diamonds, set in descending size order, on which it remained for many years. The Sun King’s 72-year reign would leave its indelible mark on French history — the Château of Versailles, whose construction he  supervised, has left to posterity the image of a king enamoured by grandeur.(Read more.)
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