Ever since their discovery in India, diamonds have been revered for their beauty and rarity.
Eventually diamond jewelry became prominent pieces in royal jewelry collections across the globe. As a result, some of the most famous diamond owners are also some of the most influential historical figures. Here’s a list of the most famous diamond owners, some because of who they are, some because of the diamond they possessed.
The Hapsburg Family
The Hapsburg family from Hungary is one of the most famous families in history and they owned the Archduke Joseph Diamond, a 74.65-carat diamond. The Archduke Joseph originated in India’s Golconda mines and was last sold in 2012 for a whopping $21.5 million. The diamond, according to GIA, is graded D color, Internally Flawless clarity, and is a Type IIa variety (just 2% of all mined diamonds are classified as Type IIa)
The British Royal Family
The British Royal Family owns several famous diamonds, including the bewitching Koh-I-Noor — a massive 186-carat stone that was traded, stolen, and passed between warring countries, until it was finally presented to Queen Victoria. In 1911, it was set into the Imperial Crown. Another historical diamond owned by the British royals is the pear-shaped Great Star of Africa (derived from the 3106.75 carat Cullinan diamond). The diamond can be seen on the Royal Scepter, part of the Imperial Crown Jewels. Cullinan was cut down into several pieces, but the largest piece, the 530.4-carat Great Star of Africa, remains one of the largest cut diamonds in existence even today.
The French royalty is known for their extravagant choices. A particularly good example is the Regent Diamond that was first seen on Louis XV’s coronation crown. This 140.6-carat diamond has been a part of many royal ceremonial displays, adorning the crown of Louis XV, then sword of Napoleon I and later Empress Eugénie’s diadem.
Currently, it is on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Richard Burton’s first purchase for his beloved wife, Elizabeth Taylor was the 33.19-carats emerald-cut Krupp diamond, in 1968. The diamond was bought by Burton as part of the estate sale of Vera Krupp, second wife of the steel magnate, Alfred Krupp. Taylor wore this stone in a ring.
In 1969, Richard Burton gifted a 68.09-carat diamond to his wife, which was cut from a rough stone weighing 240.80 carat found in the Premier mine in 1966. This classic diamond became famous for its unique pear shape and came to be called as the Taylor-Burton diamond.
The Hope Diamond is probably one of the most recognizable diamonds in the world and is reportedly worth roughly a quarter of a billion dollars. On top of its incredible beauty, the Hope Diamond boasts of an illustrious history which has played an important role to its great value.
At 45.52 carats, this deep blue cushion cut, Type llb diamond was found in India and was originally owned by Louis XIV of France. Lost in 1792 during the French Revolution, it re-surfaced in 1812 and received its name from then owner, Henry Thomas Hope.
Eventually it was passed to famous jeweler Harry Winston, who later generously donated it to the Smithsonian where it resides today.