In 2018, a mysterious and rare exhibition took place at the Van Cleef School: a famous school introducing the general public to jewellery.
But what is this enigmatic story?
This exhibition dealt with Louis XIV’s twenty lost diamonds, among the thousand diamonds brought back from India by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier was a famous dealer in art and precious pieces from the 17th century. During this period, he made many trips to Asia during which he brought back a variety of rare treasures for France. He ended up becoming the supplier of precious pieces to Louis XIV.
At that time, Tavernier went to India in search of precious stones in the diamond mines of Golconde. He left with about one thousand diamonds. During the return trip from the Golconda diamond mine to the Palace of Versailles, twenty diamonds were lost.
Among the diamonds acquired was the blue crown diamond. This diamond was the most valuable of the entire collection, a 69-carat deep blue diamond found around 1610 in the mines of Golconda.
Due to its exceptional rarity, this diamond was the subject of numerous attempted robberies over the years. It ended up being stolen in 1792 and found twenty years and two days later in another form called Hope Diamond.
It was only a few years ago that the mystery of the lost stones was unravelled by a team of scientists. They were multidisciplinary researchers who were able to find these diamonds thanks to archive research, iconographic sources and new technologies.
This research was carried out by researchers from the Museum of Natural History in Paris(François Farges) and the School of Jewellery Arts (Partick Dubuc).
That was the fate of the most beautiful stones acquired by Louis XIV thanks to the precious stone merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.
A secret and improbable story of these small stones found so many years later.