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In 1698, a slave found the 410 carat (82 g) uncut diamond in a Golkonda mine in India and concealed it inside of a large wound in his leg. An English sea captain stole the diamond from the slave after killing him and sold it to an Indian merchant. Thomas Pitt acquired it from a merchant in Madras in 1701.
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Pitt bought the diamond for £20,400, and had it cut in to a 141-carat cushion brilliant. After many attempts to sell it to various European royalty, including Louis XIV of France, it was sold it to the French Prince, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans in 1717 for £135,000. The royals used the stone in many ways including being set in the crown of Louis XV for his coronation in 1722, in a new crown for the coronation of Louis XVI in 1775, and as an adornment in the hat of Marie Antoinette. In 1791 its appraised value was £480,000.
In 1792 during the revolutionary furor in Paris, "Le Régent," as the diamond came to be known, was stolen along with other crown jewels of France, but was later recovered, after being hidden in some roof timbers. The diamond was used as security on several occasions by the Directoire and later the Consulat, before being permanently redeemed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801.
Napoleon used it to embellish his sword, designed by the goldsmiths Odiot, Boutet and Nitot. In 1812 it appeared on the Emperor's two-edged sword, the work of Nitot. Napoleon's second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, carried the Régent back to Austria upon his death. Later her father returned it to the French Crown Jewels. The diamond was mounted successively on the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III.
Today, mounted in a Greek diadem designed for Empress Eugenie, it remains in the French Royal Treasury at the Louvre. It has been on display there since 1887.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Regent_Diamond". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|