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Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Florentine diamond. Once the great yellow diamond of the Medici Fam­ily, this historic Indian stone is actu­ally light greenish yellow in color and is fashioned in the form of an ir­regular, nine-sided, 126-facet double rose cut. It weighs 137.27 carats. Legends surrounding the stone date as far back as 1467, when Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, is said to have been wearing it when he fell in battle. A peasant or foot soldier found it on the Duke's person and sold it for a florin, thinking it was glass, after which it changed hands innumerable times for small sums of money. Pope Julius II is named as


one of the owners. Authentic history begins when Tavernier, the famous French jeweler and traveler, saw the stone among the treasures of the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1657. When the last of the Medici's died, it passed to Vienna through the mar­riage of Francis Stephan of Lorraine (who later became the Grand Duke of Tuscany) to Empress Maria Theresa and was placed in the Hapsburg Crown. Later, it was displayed in a brooch among the Austrian Crown Jewels in the Hofburg, Vienna; at that time, it was valued at $750,000. After the fall of the Austrian Empire, during World War I, the Florentine was taken by the Imperial Family

into exile in Switzerland. Later, it was thought to have been stolen by a person close to the Family and taken to South America with other gems from the Crown Jewels. After this, it was rumored that the great diamond was brought into the United States in the 1920's and was recut and sold.

As a matter of record, it must be listed with other "lost" renowned Diamonds of the world. Officials at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, where the Florentine was on display prior to 1918 in a hat orna­ment, stated to the Gemological In­stitute of America in 1964 that they have no knowledge of the stone's present location. Alternate names are the Tuscan, the Grand Duke of Tus­cany, the Austrian Diamond, the Aus­trian Yellow Brilliant, and the Aus­trian Yellow.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 September 2007 )
 
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