At the Musée du Louvre
It’s been more than thirty years since the Crown Diamonds
were last put on display at the Musée du Louvre.
What an opportunity to look back at the history of the Hortensia and Regent diamonds.
With their mysterious names, these separate diamonds were mounted and set for a great number of kings, queens, emperors and empresses who had the pleasure of wearing them over the years. The Inventories of the Crown allow us to trace their eventful history.
The Hortensia, the pink diamond
Peach in colour, l’hortensia is known as the Pink five sided diamond and takes its name from the daughter of Joséphine de Beauharnais, Hortense de Beauharnais.
Each famous diamond has some kind of mystery attached to it, usually involving the location of its discovery, the identity of the discoverer, or a contested ownership. With the Hortensia diamond, the mystery lies in its name.
The Regent, the most beautiful diamond in the world
The colour of this diamond was declared from its discovery to be “of the first water”: its exceptional purity means the stone is entirely colourless. Its perfect size gives it an incredible power of dispersion, it’s illuminations flare with all the colours of the rainbow.
The diamond became part of the French Crown’s collections, taking the name of Millionaire, then French Regent and finally just Regent.
Also stolen from the Garde-Meuble in 1792, it was discovered under the beams of an attic just one year later.
Saved from sale in 1887, the Regent was valued at 12 million francs and was immediately sent to the Musée du Louvre.
Photo by E.Kiss