Regent Diamond

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Regent Diamond
Regent (diamond) black.png
Regent Diamond
Weight 140.64 carats (28.128 g)
Colour White with pale blue
Cut Cushion
Country of origin India
Mine of origin Kollur Mine, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh
Discovered 1698
Cut by Harris, 1704–1706
Original owner Kollur Mine
Owner France (on display at the Louvre)
Estimated value ~£48,000,000

The Regent Diamond is a 141 carats (28.2 g) diamond owned by the French state and on display in the Louvre, worth as of 2015 £48,000,000.



In 1698, a slave found the 410 carats (82 g; 2.6 ozt) uncut diamond in the Kollur Mine (in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, India) and hid it inside a large wound in his leg.[1] An English sea captain stole the diamond from the slave, killed him and sold it to an Indian merchant.[2]

Pitt acquisition[edit]

In a letter to his London agent dated 6 November 1701, Thomas Pitt, the Governor of Fort St. George, writes:

"... This accompanyes the modell of a Stone I have lately seene; itt weighs Mang. 303 and carrtts 426. It is of an excellent christaline water without any fowles, only att one end in the flat part there is one or two little flaws which will come out in cutting, they lying on the surface of the Stone, the price they ask for it is prodigious being two hundred thousand pag. tho I believe less than one (hundred thousand) would buy it"[3]

Pitt claimed he acquired the diamond from the eminent Indian diamond merchant Jamchund for 48,000 pagodas[4] in the same year, so it is sometimes also known as the Pitt Diamond.[5] He dispatched the stone to London hidden in the heel of his son Robert's shoe[6] aboard the East Indiaman Loyal Cooke, which left Madras on 9 October 1702.[3] It was later cut in London by the diamond cutter Harris, between 1704 and 1706. The cutting took two years and cost about £5,000[7]

Rumours circulated that Pitt had fraudulently acquired the diamond,[8][9] leading satirist Alexander Pope to pen the following lines in his Moral Essays

"Asleep and naked as an INDIAN lay
An honest factor stole a gem away;
He pledged it to the Knight, the Knight had wit,

So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit."
Detail of Napoleon's portrait with sword

Pitt bought the diamond for £20,400 (equivalent to £2,986,000 in 2015),[10] and had it cut into a 141 carats (28.2 g) cushion brilliant.

Sale to the French Regent[edit]

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 (equivalent to £18,520,000 in 2015),[10] at the urging of his close friend and famed memoirist Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon.[11] 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 (equivalent to £52,070,000 in 2015)[10].

In 1792, during the revolutionary furore in Paris, "Le Régent", or the regent diamond, was stolen along with other crown jewels of France, but was later recovered. It was found in some roof timbers in an attic in Paris. 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.

Portrait of Charles X by François Gérard. Note the Regent Diamond set in the Fleur-de-lis at the top of the crown.

Napoleon used it for the pommel of his sword, designed by the goldsmiths Odiot, Boutet and Marie-Etienne Nitot. In 1812 it appeared on the Emperor's two-edged sword, which was a work of Nitot. Napoleon's second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, carried the Régent back to Austria upon his exile. 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.

Today, mounted in a Greek diadem designed for Empress Eugenie, it remains in the French Royal Treasury at the Louvre. It has been on display there since 1887. Experts have estimated the Regent Diamond value to be near £48,000,000. At the current 2016 exchange rate of $1.28 USD / £1, the Regent Diamond value is estimated at $61,440,000.0 USD.[12]


Due to numerous scandals, and the misfortune of those who have been in possession of the stone, the Regent Diamond is said to be cursed.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ Deccan Heritage, H. K. Gupta, A. Parasher and D. Balasubramanian, Indian National Science Academy, 2000, p. 144, Orient Blackswan, ISBN 81-7371-285-9
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Hedges 1889, p. cxxvi.
  4. ^ Hedges 1889, p. cxxxviii.
  5. ^ Brown p.15
  6. ^ Edward Pearce (2010). Pitt the Elder: Man of War. Random House. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-4090-8908-7. 
  7. ^ "Regent Diamond". Internet Stones.COM. 
  8. ^ Hedges 1889, p. cxxxv.
  9. ^ Nicholson, Colin (1994). Writing and the Rise of Finance: Capital Satires of the Early Eighteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-521-45323-3. 
  10. ^ a b c UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  11. ^ Saint-Simon, Louis de Rouvroy duc de (1 January 1899). "Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon on the Times of Louis XIV, and the Regency". Hardy, Pratt – via Google Books. 
  12. ^ "The Regent Diamond". Retrieved 21 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Matthews, Heather (22 October 2008). "Top 10 Most Notorious Cursed Diamonds". Top Tenz. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  14. ^ "Supposedly Cursed Jewels: The Regent Diamond – K.O. Jewel". K.O. Jewel. 
  15. ^ "The world's most notoriously cursed diamonds". Diamonds and a Little Black Dress. 

External links[edit]