|George Stuart's 1/4 life-sized sculpture of Catherine the |
Great in robes of state. The Imperial Crown of Russia,
created for her coronation, contains 4936 diamonds
including the second largest red spinel diamond in the
world at 398.72 carats. Her scepter contains the 189.62
carat rose-cut Orlov Diamond which once served as the
eye of a Hindu deity in a temple in Tamil Nadu, India.
Photo courtesy of Peter D'Aprix.
Some of the replica jewels on display will include the Hope Diamond, the Regent Diamond, the Beau Sancy, the Orlov, the Mirror of Portugal and the famous Koh-i-Noor that was once adorned the Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Majal.
Although the Hope Diamond and the Koh-i-Noor are probably the most famous of these jewels, I actually think the Regent Diamond is one of the most beautiful. At 140.64 carats, it is not as large in its cut form as either the Hope Diamond or the Koh-i-Noor, but it is reputedly one of the most perfectly cut diamonds in the world since it was cut and faceted back in 1710 CE.
After many attempts to sell it to various Members of European royalty, including Louis XIV of France, it was purchased by the French Regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans in 1717 for £135,000 (£17,385,050 as of 2014),. The stone was set into the crown of Louis XV for his coronation in 1722 and then into a new crown for the coronation of Louis XVI in 1775. It was also used to adorn a hat belonging to Marie Antoinette. In 1791 its appraised value was £480,000 (£48,882,550 as of 2014) - Wikipedia
|George Stuart's sculpture of Marie Antoinette who|
once used the Regent Diamond to adorn an
elaborate hat that included a sailing ship. Photo
courtesy of Peter D'Aprix.
The empress' father returned the stone to France and it was subsequently incorporated into the the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III. Finally, it was mounted in a Greek diadem designed for Empress Eugenie, it's last fashion makeover, and remains in that diadem today in The Louvre.
I developed the website for Mr. Stuart's Gallery of Historical Figures, a project that began back in 2005 because of my passion for the history these sculptures represent. Later I was named to the board of directors for the Historical Figures Foundation and continue to serve in that capacity.
|Mughal emperor Shah Jahan seated on the Peacock Throne embellished|
with the famous Koh-i-Noor Diamond receiving deputations in Delhi.
Image courtesy of the British Library and Wikimedia Commons.