||This article may be confusing or unclear to readers. (December 2007)|
|Weight||140.64 carats (28.128 g)|
|Color||White with pale blue|
|Country of origin||India|
|Mine of origin||Kollur Mine, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh|
|Cut by||Harris, 1704-1706|
|Original owner||Kollur Mine|
|Current owner||France (on display at the Louvre)|
The Regent Diamond is a diamond owned by the French state and on display in the Louvre. In 1698, a slave found the 410 carat (82 g) uncut diamond in Kollur mine (more specifically in Guntur District in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India) and hid it inside a large wound in his leg. An English sea captain stole the diamond from the slave after killing him and sold it to an Indian merchant. Governor Thomas Pitt acquired it from a merchant in Madras in 1701. Because of Pitt's ownership it is sometimes known as the Pitt Diamond.
Pitt bought the diamond for £20,400 (£2,803,320 as of 2013),, and had it cut into a 141 carats (28.2 g) cushion brilliant. 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 2013),. 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 2013),.
In 1792 during the revolutionary furor in Paris, "Le Régent," as the diamond came to be known, was stolen along with other crown jewels of France, but was later recovered, after being hidden in some roof timbers in a Paris attic. The diamond was used as security on several occasions by the Directoire and later the Consulat, before being permanently redeemed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801.
Napoleon used it to unleash his sword, designed by the goldsmiths Odiot, Boutet and Marie-Etienne Nitot. In 1812, it appeared on the Emperor's two-edged sword, the work of Nitot. Napoleon's second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, carried the Régent back to Austria upon his death. Later her father returned it to the French Crown Jewels. The diamond was mounted successively on the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III.
- Brown, Peter Douglas. William Pitt, Earl of Chatham: The Great Commoner. Allen & Unwin, 1975
- Regent diamond history in "Great Diamonds of the Earth" by Edwin Streeter
- Deccan Heritage, H. K. Gupta, A. Parasher and D. Balasubramanian, Indian National Science Academy, 2000, p. 144, Orient Blackswan, ISBN 81-7371-285-9
- Brown p.15
- UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2013), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.