Name: The Regent Diamond
Also Known As: The Pitt Diamond, Pitt’s Diamond, Le Regent
Price Estimation: £48,000,000
Size: 28.128 grams
Color: White with Pale Blue
Carat: 140.64 Carats
Originally Belonged To: Finder, An Unknown Slave
Like so many of the world’s famous diamonds, the Regent diamond has an intriguing history. Found in 1698 by a slave in the Kollur Mine located in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, India, the uncut diamond was 410 carats. Upon discovery, the slave hid the diamond in a large wound on his leg. Later, an English sea captain found out about the diamond’s existence, stole it from the slave, and killed him. It was then sold to an Indian merchant named Jamchand.
In 1701, Jamchand sold the diamond to Thomas Pitt, who was President of Madras. The price at the time was 48,000 pagodas, which was about £20,400. If sold today at that price, the cost would be approximately £2,788,790.
Pitt’s Diamond, as it was known at the time, was sent back to England in 1702, under the care of Thomas Pitt’s eldest son. The decision to cut it was made in 1704. It took a jeweler by the name of Harris two years to transform the uncut Pitt Diamond into its current configuration, a 141-carat cushion brilliant. Several secondary stones were produced from the cut, and were sold to Russia’s Peter the Great.
The newly transformed stone was offered up for sale to various European royals, including France’s Louis XIV, who famously purchased the Hope diamond in 1699. An astonishing point concerning the Regent diamond history is that at the time, no one seemed interested in purchasing it!
In 1717, Pitt and his sons brought the diamond to Calais and sold it to the French regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orleans. The sale price was £135,000, still a great deal of money, but a loss to the Pitt family. Interestingly, the crown would have been able to confiscate the diamond from the family after Thomas Pitt’s death, as he owned a piece of land called a copyhold, and the lord of the copyhold was entitled to his most valuable possession upon his passing.
Once acquired by the crown, the stone came to be known as “Le Regent” or the Regent diamond, and was held as one of the crown jewels of France.
Throughout its history, the Regent diamond has been worn by several members of the French royal family. In 1722, it was set into the coronation crown of Louis XV, where it remained until 1775, when it was set into a new crown for the coronation of Louis XVI. Upon being removed from this crown, it found its way onto a hat worn by Marie Antoinette.
The Regent diamond was also worn by Napoleon Bonaparte. After being stolen during the revolution and rediscovered among some roof timbers in a Paris attic, it became part of an ornament for his sword belt and later appeared on the hilt of his two-edged sword, designed by jewelers Odiot, Boutet,and Marie-Etienne Nitot.
When Napoleon died, his second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, carried the Regent diamond home with her to Austria. Later, her father had the stone returned to the French Crown Jewels. It was then mounted on the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Napoleon III. Later, it was mounted in a Greek-style diadem for Empress Eugenie, where it remains today. It has been on display in the French Royal Treasury at the Louvre since 1887, with the exception of a stint hidden in a wall during WWII. In case you’re curious, Regent Diamond Thailand is not associated with the Regent diamond itself. This is a private jewelry company with a prestigious name. It has been in business since 1980.
Like so many famous diamonds, the Regent diamond is said to carry a curse. Due to the misfortunes that have befallen some of its wearers, and because of scandals associated with them, the Regent diamond is said to be cursed. The original story of the killing of the slave who found the stone tarnished Thomas Pitt’s reputation, as well as the reputations of his descendants. It also put his life in danger, as he had a number of enemies who wished to steal it from him.
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were decapitated, Louis XVIII was exiled twice and ultimately died childless, Charles X was forced to abdicate the throne and died a horrible death of Cholera, and Napoleon III died in exile, filled with regret and haunted by a host of painful memories. So, is the Regent Diamond Cursed? That’s up to you to decide.
It’s impossible to determine the exact Regent Diamond value, however experts place it near £48,000,000. At the current 2015 exchange rate of $1.54 USD / £1, the Regent Diamond value works out to an estimated $73,920,000 USD.
Sources: junior.24sata.hr, jevel.ru, ngaynay.vn
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