Famous Diamonds of the World (part 2)
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Famous Diamonds of the World (part 2)

Certain diamonds became famous throughout history not necessarily because of their size, but because of the stories and people behind them. Good examples of this are the Kasikci, khedive and Jubilee diamonds.

Khedive: the Khendive diamond is light yellow, rectangular shape and weighs 36.61 carats. It originated from South Africa and was probably one of the first yellow diamonds to be mined at the Cape. The word Knedive means ruler in ancient Persian; the prestigious title was given to Ismail Pasha, who became Viceroy of Egypt in 1863. In 1858 La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez was established; the company that would build the Suez Canal. It was a joint venture between the Viceroy of Egypt, the Turks, and with the majority of the funding coming from France. Great Britain who occupied Egypt from 1882 to 1956, had opposed the building of the canal for various reasons, mainly because of French influence in the region, but would eventually help promote its success.

In 1896 the Suez Canal was completed, and there was a grand opening ceremony attended by the Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon III. The French Imperial yacht was the first vessel to pass through the canal. Gifts were exchanged and the Empress Eugenie is said to have received the Khedive diamond. This claim has been disputed over the years and is not officially recorded in French history. However we do know that the Khedive of Egypt gifted an 8.52 -carat pear shaped diamond to General William Sherman on the occasion of his daughter's wedding in 1865.   

The Sherman diamond was a gift to the American Civil war General.

At some point during the early 19th century the Khendive diamond became the property of the Miami jeweler Jack Werst. The diamond was later sold and exhibited at the American museum of Natural History in New York until 1986, when it was sold at Christie’s, Geneva for 484,000 Swiss francs.


A copy of the Jubilee diamond.

Jubilee: the Jubilee is the fourth largest diamond in the world. At 245.35 carats, its size is surpassed only by the two largest Cullinan, and the Centenary diamond. It is cushioned shape with a brilliant cut. The Jubilee and Excelsior diamonds were purchased by a London diamond syndicate from the South African mine, Jagersfontein in 1895. A 40 carat piece of the Jubilee diamond was cleaved in Amsterdam, which yielded a fine 13 carat diamond that was sold to King Don Carlos I of Portugal. The remaining diamond was polished and named after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee which took place in 1897. The Indian industrialist Sir Dorabji Tata bought the diamond and after he died in 1932 his family put the diamond up for sale with Cartier. Cartier found a buyer in 1937 and the Jubilee was sold to the Paris Industrialist M. Paul –Louis Weiller. The diamond dazzled the crowds when it was put on displayed at several exhibitions throughout the 1960’s, including the Smithsonian Institute. It then became a principle feature of the De Beers diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg until it was bought by its present day owner Robert Mouawad; the Lebanese jeweler and entrepreneur.

The Kasikci or Spoon Makers Diamond.

Kasikci: the Kasikci is an 86 carat pear shaped diamond set in a frame with 49 diamonds. It was originally one of two large diamonds owned by the Grand Sultan of the Ottoman in the 19th century. The Kasikci is also called the ‘spoon makers diamond’ because of the story attached to it. It is said that a spoon maker traded spoons for the diamond with a merchant. The spoon maker sold the diamond to a goldsmith who told others about the fortunate purchase. News spread to the Sultan who demanded to see the diamond. Upon viewing the diamond he decided to keep it. These days, fortunetly for us the Kasikci diamond can be seen at the Imperial Treasury of the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul.

The Red Cross diamond.

Red Cross: in 1901 a large canary yellow diamond was mined by the De Beers Company. The stone which weighed 375 carats in the rough was cut ‘stellar Brilliant’ style (the same cut as the Koh –i-Noor) with many facets, to 205.07 carats. It was donated to an art sale in London held by Christie's on behalf of the British Red Cross and the order of St John. The diamond was bought for 35,575 pounds by an American Businessman who remained anonyms. In 1977 it was sold again at auction to a private collector for an undisclosed figure. However the diamond’s asking price at previous auctions was close to two million pounds.

For more diamonds see famous diamonds of the world (part 1) 

If you liked this you might also like the following articles.

The Taylor-Burton diamond.

The story of the Sancy diamond.

The story of the Regent diamond.

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Comments (1)

Stunning pictures Peter, and excellent info - keep 'em coming!