The Grand Mazarin diamond is set to be a major highlight of the jewellery auction calendar.
It’s expected to make up to $9m at Christie's November 14 sale in Geneva.
The stone originates from India’s legendary Golconda mine.
The Mazarin stone is one of the crown jewels of France
In the mid-1600s it was acquired by Cardinal Mazarin, a powerful figure in the Catholic Church. He was appointed chief minister of France in 1642 after the ascension of Louis XIV (aka the Sun King).
As Louis was just five years old when he took the throne, Mazarin ruled in his stead.
This diamond is one of 18 precious stones the cardinal acquired. In 1661, he gifted it to Louis.
Over the centuries the stone was passed down among the rulers of France, until 1791 when it was handed over to revolutionaries.
A few months later it was stolen in a daring raid on the Garde-Meuble where it was held, but the thieves were captured and the stone returned. Later, the emperor Napoleon had it mounted at the crown of a diadem he had made for his wife.
Rahul Kadakia, international head of jewellery at Christie’s, commented: “Having been set in the crowns of almost all kings and emperors of France since Louis XV Le Grand Mazarin is undoubtedly the diamond in the crown of the French crown jewels.
“It is our great honour to bring it to market since its first appearance at auction 130 years ago.”
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