The story of the Hortensia Diamond is a spectacular one.
King Louis XIV was respsonsible for the addition of this pale orangey-pink diamond to the Crown Jewels of France.
The Hortensia was the foremost diamond listed in the inventory of the Crown Jewels of France, made in 1691.
The diamond, which weighs 20 carats is pale orangey-pink, rather flat and rectangular in shape and is cut on five sides. In the 1791 inventory of the Crown Jewels it was valued at no more than 48,000 livres.
It takes its name from Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland, undoubtedly because she wore it. Hortense was the daughter of the Empress Josephine, the step-daughter of Napoleon Bonaparte and the mother of Napoleon III.
The Hortensia was among the jewels stolen from the Garde Meuble in September of 1792.
During the First Empire the Hortensia was mounted on the fastening of Napoleon’s epaulette braid. Later it was set in
the center of the headband of the great diamond-encrusted comb made by the Court Jeweler, Bapst, for Empress Eugénie in 1856.
In between, in 1830, the diamond was stolen again, on this occasion from the Ministry of the Marine, but it was quickly recovered.
When the French Crown Jewels were sold in 1887, the Hortensia was one of the items excluded, along with the Regent, because of their historic and artistic interest. The Sancy Diamond wouldn’t join them in the Louvre until a little less than a century later.
You could describe it as peach-coloured, but definitely on the pink side of peach.
It has good clarity but there’s quite a large scratch/crack on the pavilion.