Stored with the regalia was a jewel-thief’s dream: the enormous collection of gemstones gathered over decades by the Kings of France.
The Regent and the Hortensia were recovered in 1793 from an attic in Paris (a condemned man named Depeyron told police he had hidden a bag containing the gems and some gold in a house in the Halles district). No trace of the Sancy was discovered. The Royal French Blue is believed to have been recut, and it is now known as the famous Hope Diamond.
The royal jewelers who were assigned the task of designing and crafting the tiara were the Bapst brothers. They used 14 of the largest emeralds from the crown collection. They also added 26 other smaller emeralds to the tiara, making a total of 79.12 carats of emeralds. Before leaving for exile in Britain, Marie~Therese delivered the tiara to the French treasury. Over the years the tiara passed through many hands and was sold many times eventually landing in the V&A in London. The Louvre recently negotiated a very large sum of money to acquire the tiara and it is now housed there, home where it belongs! These Bracelets were also part of a large parure belonging to Marie~Therese. It consisted of a coronet topped by an eagle, a tiara, comb, girandole earrings, belt buckle, and the two bracelets. It was one of the crown jewels of France that came from the collection founded in 1530 by Francois I. Marie~Louise wore these jewels on her wedding day and after the fall of the Empire and the restoration of the Bourbon Monarchy they went to Marie~Therese. She was the last Royal to enjoy these Rubies as with the establishment of the third Republic they were sold. After passing through many hands, among them, renowned jeweler Tiffany, the bracelets are now housed in the Louvre and other the other pieces of the parure are in private collections.
Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen consort of King Louis Bonaparte of Holland, daughter of Empress Josephine Bonaparte with her first husband
The Hortensia diamond is a gorgeous and rare diamond with a Peachy~Pink color and weighing in at over 20 carats! It is a diamond of Indian origin, purchased by King Louis XIV and since then has been part of the French Crown Jewels. The occurrence of pink diamonds is much less than 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds in the world, this diamond is listed as one of the world's rarest in size and color. It does have a very thin crack in it.
The Hortensia was stolen in the heist of 1792. It was recovered (along with the Regent) in 1793, when one of the robbers confessed to the crime & disclosed the hiding place of some of the hidden diamonds just before he execution. A bag containing gold and diamonds, that included the Regent and the Hortensia, was recovered from the attic of an old house.
After the French revolution, The Hortensia was first mounted on the fastening of Napoleon Bonaparte's epaulette braid. Later, the diamond was worn by Queen Hortensia of Holland, from whom the diamond derived it's name. Later the Hortensia was set in a head band of the diamond encrusted comb, made for Empress Eugenie. The diamond was stolen for a second time in 1830, but was quickly recovered.
Marie-Louise Emerald and Diamond Diadem ©Van Cleef & Arpels
A gift from Napoleon Bonaparte to Marie Louise (his second wife and niece of Marie~Antoinette) on the occasion of their wedding, this incredible Diadem was just one component in the parure, or suite of jewelry, given to her that day. The components of the exquisite Emerald and Diamond parure of Empress Marie-Louise are an Emerald and Diamond Diadem, an Emerald and Diamond Necklace, a pair of Emerald and Diamond Earrings, an Emerald and Diamond Comb, and an Emerald Belt Clasp.
A small portion of the parure
Marie~Louise wearing the diadem ~Source the Napoleon Diaries
The partially modified diadem ©Van Cleef & Arpels
The necklace is composed of 32 emeralds, 264 rose-cut diamonds and 864 brilliant-cut diamonds. The necklace set in gold and silver. This necklace of great historic value, and imperial provenance, was preserved in its pure state, by the person who acquired it from the ancestors of Marie Louise. The Louvre Museum acquired the necklace together with the earrings, also part of the original parure, for the sum of 3.7 million euros where it lies today. The diadem is currently on display at the Smithsonian.
The Diamond & Emerald necklace of Marie~Louise
Marie~Louise gave birth to Napoleon II, future King of Rome on March 20, 1811. The diamond necklace which Napoleon gave to Empress Marie-Louise in honour of the birth of their son, is spectacular and famous! The necklace returned to Austria with Marie-Louise in 1814 and, after passing through the hands of Harry Winston in 1960, ended up in the possession of Marjorie Merriweather Post (who acquired much of the crown jewels and preserved their history) who left it to the Smithsonian Institute. Marie~Louise is seen wearing this necklace in many of her portraits.
The VERY famous & VERY spectacular diamond necklace photo via ~The Smithsonian
This incredible "push" gift comes in at a whopping 275 carats! Wow! When I gave birth all I got was a baby! Just kidding!
Marie~Louise wearing the necklace and holding her son the future King of Rome
The Sapphires of Empress Eugenie
Empress Eugenie wearing her stunning Imperial Pearl and Diamond Tiara as well as other pieces from her parure.
Empress Eugenie had this Pearl parure made for her wedding to Napoleon III. She had the jewelers take the napoléonique pearls which were from the vast "order of the Pearls" of which an original parure was made for Marie~Louise. This parure had been broken up many years bears prior and Eugenie took the exact same Pearls to make her wedding jewels. Eugenie was a well documented lover of Pearls and can be seen wearing her new set in the portrait. In 1992 the "Amis de Louvre" purchased the tiara and it now makes its' home there.
Photo via ~Louvre
Among the Empress Eugenie's incredible jewels is this splendid diamond bow brooch, originally part of the “Diamants de la Couronne”, it was made by François Kramer. The impressive bow was originally intended as a buckle for a diamond belt. Eugénie asked her jeweler to make it more elaborate, to wear it with the pair of diamond tassels. Later five diamond pampilles were added.
Photos of Empress Eugenie's Bow Brooch via ~ Christie's Auction house
121 years later, when hearing of the appearance at auction of the brooch at Christie’s New York, the Louvre and the Friends of the Louvre decided to do everything possible to acquire the jewel and return it to France. The auction planned for April 15th was cancelled at the last minute for judicial reasons, but a private sale to the Louvre was negotiated soon after. ~Christie's
Prior to Lady Sutherland’s departure, as part of the embassy’s hurried withdrawal in August 1792, Marie Antoinette gave Lady Sutherland a bag of pearls and diamonds for safe keeping. Anyone caught in possession of this jewellery risked severe punishment. However, the wife of the British Ambassador had diplomatic immunity and was one of the few who could be trusted to return the jewels when the Queen escaped; a plan which was never to be realised. The diamonds were subsequently fashioned into the Sutherland diamond necklace, whilst the pearls were mounted, on the occasion of the marriage between Lady Elizabeth’s grandson" ~From the Christie's site
– the Regent Diamond’s description in a 1791 inventory of the Crown Jewels
In 1797, the great gem was pledged for money that helped Napolean in his ride to power. He had in mounted in the hilt of his sword that he carried at his coronation in 1804. When Napolean went into exile in Elba in 1814, Marie Louisa, his second wife, carried the Regent to the Chateau of Blois (does that mean she was stealing it)? Later, however, her father, returned it to France and it again became part of the French Crown Jewels.
Many of the French Crown Jewels were sold at auction in 1887, but the Regent was reserved from the sale and exhibited at the Louvre amoung the national treasures. In 1940, when the Germans invaded Paris, it was sent to the chateau country, this time to Chambord, where it was secreted behind a stone panel. After the War, it was returned to Paris and put on display in the Apollon Gallery of the Louvre Museum. Info from~DIAMONDS - Famous, Notable and Unique