- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Antique Collectors Club Dist; 5th edition (December 16, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1851494790
- ISBN-13: 978-1851494798
- Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 1.2 x 12.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Famous Diamonds Hardcover – December 16, 2008
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The Hope Diamond which is well-known for its dark sapphire-blue coloring, has acquired a reputation for bringing bad luck to its owner. It was stolen, along with many of the French Crown Jewels during the Revolution and made its way to England. Eventually it was bought by a Russian Prince named Ivan Kanitowsky who either gave or loaned the Hope to "a Folies Bergères actress who was shot across the footlights next day by her lover or by the prince as she wore the stone; the Prince was later stabbed to death by [Russian] revolutionaries..."
The Mirror of Portugal, once part of the Crown Jewels of Portugal was stolen by the same French thieves who absconded with the Hope diamond. Unfortunately, it was never recovered.
Connoisseurs of rare fancy-colored diamonds can learn the history of the Dresden Green, the Hope (which glows like a red-hot coal after exposure to ultra-violet light), the champagne-colored 890 carat Incomparable, and the pink Hortensia, which was also stolen during the French Revolution--- "As he was on the point of being executed, a man named Depeyron disclosed that he had hidden [the Hortensia] in a bag containing gold and other diamonds, including the Regent, in a garret."
The author doesn't say whether Depeyron's confession obtained him a reprieve from Madame Guillotine.
Ian Balfour tracked down the histories of these famous diamonds as he worked in various capacities in the diamond industry for almost 30 years, most recently as a consultant to a firm of diamond brokers. (He is also the composer of seven operas!) In this book, he attempts to give, "as straightforward and accurate an account as possible of the world's greatest diamonds." He debunks some of the legends that have become attached to the most famous stones, e.g. the Idol's Eye, the Eureka, and the Great Mogul. However, there is still enough intrigue and skulduggery attached to the diamonds' verifiable histories to satisfy even the most romantically inclined reader.
A fantastic and stylish collection of the most famous, and at times infamous, diamonds ever captured and documented throughout history. Perfect resource book, and a magnificent treasure to go through.