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History’s Iconic Jewels

History’s Iconic Jewels

By Traci Hubble, Account Coordinator

A jewel’s value is just as tied to an illustrious past as it is to the stone’s cut, color, and clarity. In fact, the narrative surrounding a jewel may be the key to its unique value. This is especially true if the jewel has a reputation for being “cursed,” or if it comes from a prestigious figure’s collection. By owning or seeing the jewel, you’re connecting to its luxurious lineage.

History is filled with remarkable gemstones and exquisite jewelry designs that transformed natural elements into refined art. Their history renders them iconic and, in some cases, infamous. We’ve collected a number of these precious stories for your enjoyment below.

The iconic Koh-i-Noor diamond is just one of the famous jewels to be in the news recently – at the center of a story about the upcoming coronation of King Charles. One of the largest cut diamonds in the world, the 105.6-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond is also one of the most controversial among the British Crown Jewels. The diamond is set in the crown of the Queen Mother which was going to be worn at the coronation by Queen Consort Camilla Bowles, however, India disputed that the diamond belongs to them and should be returned. The diamond has a complicated history and continues to spark controversy today!

Marie Antoinette's pinky ring was part of a collection that had been hand-wrapped and placed in a wooden chest by Marie Antoinette and sent to Brussels shortly before her capture. This tiny monogrammed pinky ring that Sotheby's deems the most special of her collection and sold for a record dollar amount features the letters MA in diamonds, and inside is a lock of Marie Antoinette's hair. It's an incredibly intimate piece and a ring she wore very often.

The Black Orlov Diamond is said to be "cursed"! Black crystalline diamonds, cushion-shaped, 67.49-carat stone with a distinct gun-metal hue and a bone-chilling legend. The original, rough 195-carat diamond was stolen from an idol of the Hindu god Brahma, located in a 19th-Century shrine in India. Cursed thereafter, the diamond is said to have caused the death of its thief, and three of its owners: a Russian princess, one of her relatives, and the diamond dealer who imported it to the United States. The diamond was eventually re-cut to form three individual gems with hopes of breaking the curse, is now mounted as a pendant with a diamond laurel wreath surround and its subsequent owners escaped the curse.

Source: BBC February 2023

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