The Grand Mazarin: Diamond with Historic Indian Past to be Auctioned
The 19-carat diamond was part of the French royal jewels for three centuries.
One of the most glorious gems of France — The Grand Mazarin – will be put up for auction by Christie’s on Nov. 14 in Geneva. The colored, square-cut diamond weighing approximately 19.07 carats was excavated in India’s Golconda mines in the Deccan Plateau.
The Golconda mines have been known for historic gems like the Koh-i-Noor, the Regent Diamond and the Wittelsbach-Graff, all famous for their exceptional clarity, Christie’s said.
The gem has crowned royal jewelry for three centuries in France, Christie’s international head of jewelry Rahul Kadakia said, the Associated Press reported. The diamond, which will be auctioned for the first time in 130 years, was initially bought by Cardinal Mazarin, who became France’s Chief Minister in 1642. It has been a part of King Louis XIV and Emperor Napoleon’s royal treasury.
It is “the diamond with the most prestigious and historic provenance still to be in private hands”, Francois Curiel, the chairman of Christie’s, Europe and Asia, said, according to the news agency.
Louis’s wife, Maria Theresa of Austria, is probably the first person to have worn the diamond. After she died, Louis added the gem to a chain of diamonds. Later, Louis XVI was forced to hand over the royal jewels during the French Revolution. There was an attempt to steal the diamonds during the French Revolution, but the robber was caught and his life was spared only when he handed the jewel back.
In 1810, the Grand Mazarin graced the jewels of Emperor Napolean’s wife, Marie-Louise. It was also a crown jewel for Louis XVIII. It was once auctioned in 1887, where Frédéric Boucheron, one of the favored jewelers of France’s great families, purchased it.
The Grand Mazarin was sold to a private collection in Europe after it was last publicly displayed in 1962. The owner of the jewel is unknown.