Rare Colored Diamonds
Colored diamonds - Diamonds are found of almost every hue. The following is the order in which colored Diamonds may be ranked, having regard to their rarity and value: 1, Red; 2, Green; 3, Blue; 4, Pink , 5, Mauve; 6, Purple.
There are undoubtedly fine specimens not included in this classification, their tints and shades being so peculiar and varied that they may better be described individually than in groups.
Colored Diamonds: Red Diamonds
Almost the only specimen of Red Diamond known to jewelers is a gem of a carat weight, bought by the author, and sold to the late Mr. George Samuel for £800. It is known as the «Halphen Red Diamond».
There are many Rose-colored Diamonds, but the Blood or Ruby Red specimen just described – a gem on fire as it were is believed to be unique in all modern experience.
However, a fine Red Diamond was found in Borneo, and sold, for a large sum, in Paris, but this was not of so deep a red as the Halphen.
Colored Diamonds: Green Diamonds
The history of the finest specimen of a Diamond of this color may not be uninteresting.
Fifty years ago this stone was thrown out of a parcel of Emeralds in Vienna and bought for a trifle by the late Mr. George Samuel, at that time Consul there, who sold it to the author for £2OO.
Some years afterwards, it was sold for £300. Subsequently it passed into the possession of a jeweler in Bond Street, who sold it to an American for £600, and afterwards, it was sold for over £1,000 to a great New York jeweler, and I understand it has since been sold, for something like 7,000 or 8,000 dollars.
Among the treasures of the famous Griine Gewolbe, or «Green Vaults», of Dresden, is a pale Green Diamond weighing 48 1/2 carats, and valued at £30,000. It is not, however, to be compared, in respect of color, with the green one mentioned above, and is indeed more of the color of an aquamarine.
The collection of colored Diamonds in the Vienna Museum, which was brought together by Herr Virgil von Helmreicher, a Tryolese by birth, but long resident in Brazil, is undoubtedly the most complete in Europe.
Colored Diamonds: Blue Diamonds
Diamonds of a faint bluish tint are not unfrequently found, but their defect is that they are usually more or less opalescent, and therefore they formerly ranked as stones of inferior quality, though they now realize high prices in America.
The only Blue Diamonds known until lately were found in the old Indian mines, probably those of Gani-Color, visited by Tavernier, and the first mention we have of a Blue Diamond in Europe refers to a stone then considered unique.
It weighed in the rough 112 1/4 carats, was bought by Tavernier in India in 1642, and was sold to Louis XIV. in 1668. It is described as «d’un beau violet».
It would appear to have been somewhat flat and ill-formed. The figure given in our plate probably represents faithfully this stone in its condition at the time, and is a copy from an old French engraving.
After its purchase by «Le Grand Monarque», it was apparently cut. It figured in a grand historic scene on the 19th February, 1715, when the Persian Ambassador appeared before Louis XIV., twelve days after his public entry into Paris.
Le Grand Monarque, not with standing his great age and infirmities, exerted his remaining energy of will to appear before the illustrious stranger to the best advantage.
He was dressed in a black suit, ornamented with gold, and embroided with Diamonds stated to cost the almost incredible estimate of £12,000,000.
Suspended from a light blue ribbon round his neck, he wore a dark Blue Diamond as a pendant. And we find in the French regalia, a century later, a facetted Diamond, triangular in shape, and of an identical color, weighing 67 1/8 carats, which would be about the weight of Tavernier’s celebrated purchase, after it had been cut.
This stone was, with the rest of the French regalia, seized in August, 1792, and deposited in the Garde-Meuble. From this insecure place it was surreptitiously abstracted in September of the same year.
What ultimately became of it remains a mystery. That it should have really been lost is incredible; and from the sudden appearance of a stone of similar character, the extraordinary rarity of which is acknowledged, the belief may be fairly entertained that the new stone was only Tavernier’s gem re-cut, and so altered in form as to render its identification very difficult.
This hypothesis receives additional probability from the fact that a Blue Brilliant about the year 1830, was in the hands of Mr. Daniel Eliason, which came to light without a history, without any account being rendered as to whence it came, and what had been its travels and fortunes.
Subsequently it is traced as the property of the late Mr. Hope, under the name of the «Hope» Diamond. The difference in weight between the original stone of 67 1/8 carats, and this actual stone of 44 1/4 carats, naturally suggests the question, «Was the weight lost simply in the cutter’s hands, or were one or more pieces removed by simple cleavage, and preserved?»
The latter supposition, viz., that the Diamond abstracted in 1792 was reduced by cleavage and formed into three Brilliants, is not improbable.
This deduction is indeed the more plausible, as Tavernier’s Diamond evidently had one of the crystallographic faces largely produced on the one side, which gave the stone a «drop form», a formation frequently seen in rough Diamonds, especially in colored stones (excepting always the yellow varieties), and leading to the inference that the cleavage plane must have lain as in the diagram between A and B.
In the first cutting of the stone this original shape was to some extent preserved, which left an ill-formed, triangular-shaped Brilliant somewhat thin on one side.
From this it would have been easy for an expert to cleave a triangular piece of about 10 or 11 carats, thus leaving the stone weighing about 56 carats, the re-cutting of which, as a perfect Brilliant, well proportioned, would reduce it to its present weight of 44 1/4 carats.
It is observable that the «Hope Diamond» is even now straighter on one side than the other, and this strengthens the presumption of the stone having been cleaved as suggested.
The correctness of this hypothesis would receive confirmation if the pieces, or the piece, assumed to be split off could be discovered and identified, but the difficulty in the way of this evidence lies in the strong presumption of remanets having been also subjected to re-cutting and re-polishing.
The cleft-off piece must have been triangular at first, with a straight side corresponding with the side of the «Hope» Diamond.
After being re-cut it would make a Blue Diamond of «drop shape», the base of which would correspond with the straight side of the latter gem, proportionate in substance, identical in color (in all probability) and weighing from 6 to 7 carats.
A stone answering to such a description would supply strong presumptive evidence in support of the theory, that the two stones would be part of the one originally separated by the cleaver’s art; and such a stone did actually come into the market in April, 1874, and fell into the hands of some competent judges, who examined it in juxtaposition with the «Hope» Diamond, to which,in color and quality, it bore a remarkable resemblance.
It was purchased in Geneva at the sale of the late Duke of Brunswick’s jewels. The conclusion that the Duke of Brunswick’s «Blue Drop Diamond» once formed the projecting side which appears to have characterized the original shape of the Hope Brilliant was inevitable, and I bought the third piece in Paris for £300; it weighed 1 carat, and was of identically the same color, thus quite accounting for the Blue Diamond stolen in 1792.
This will be understood by reference to the figure on the last page. No other Diamond of this dark Sapphire steely-blue color has to my knowledge ever been discovered.
Colored Diamonds: Other colors of Diamonds
There are Diamonds of other colors, such as pink, mauve and brown-red, which fetch high prices; but of the red, green and blue varieties, nothing has ever been found to touch the three which I have mentioned above.
Strangely enough I have sold the red once, the green twice, and the blue once; the last having been sold to the late Emperor of Russia, father to the Duchess of Edinburgh, though the trustees in custody of the Diamond would not, for family reasons, at that time deliver it.
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