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Florentine Diamond



 

The Florentine Diamond is a lost diamond of Indian origin. It is light yellow in colour with very slight green overtones. It is cut in the form of an irregular nine-sided 126-facet double rose cut, with a weight of 137.27 carats (27.454 g). The stone is also known as the Tuscan, the Tuscany Diamond, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Austrian Diamond and the Austrian Yellow Diamond.

Additional recommended knowledge

Disputed history

The stone's origins are disputed. Reportedly, it has been cut by Lodewyk van Berken for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.[1]. Charles is said to have been wearing it when he fell in the Battle of Morat on June 22, 1476. A peasant or foot soldier found it on the Duke's person and sold it for a florin, thinking it was glass. The new owner Bartholomew May, a citizen of Berne, sold it to the Genoese, who sold it in turn to Ludovico Sforza. By way of the Fuggers it came into the Medici treasury at Florence. Pope Julius II is also named as one of its owners.

Another version of the stone's early history is that the rough stone was acquired in the late 1500s from the King of Vijayanagar in southern India by the Portuguese Governor of Goa, Ludovico Castro, Count of Montesanto, after the king's defeat by Portuguese troops. The crystal was deposited with the Jesuits in Rome until, after lengthy negotiations, Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany succeeded in buying it from the Castro-Noranha family for 35,000 Portuguese scudi crocati.

Duke Ferdinand's son, Cosimo II, finally entrusted his father's purchase to a cutter, Pompeo Studentoli, a Venetian working in Florence. The finished gem was delivered on October 10, 1615. An inventory drawn up on Cosimo's death confirms the acquisition of the rough diamond by Ferdinand and describes the gem as 'faceted on both sides and encircled by a diamond encrusted band'.

Documented history

Documented history begins when Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the French jeweller and traveller saw the stone among the possessions of Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1657. It then passed into the hands of the Habsburgs when the last of the Medicis died through the marriage of Francis III Stephan of Lorraine to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and was placed in the Habsburg Crown Jewels in the Hofburg in Vienna. At the time it was valued at $750,000.

After the fall of the Austrian Empire during World War I, the stone was taken by the Imperial Family into exile in Switzerland. The stone was stolen some time after 1918 by a person close to the family and taken to South America with other gems of the Crown Jewels. After this, it was rumoured that the diamond was brought into the United States in the 1920's and was recut and sold.

References

  1. ^ The Diamond Invention. Chapter 11 by Edward Jay Epstein
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Florentine_Diamond". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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