Thursday, August 12, 2010


The Patiala Necklace

is a candidate for one of the mostspectacular pieces of jewelry ever created.
After the end of the Raj, the art deco Patiala Necklace disappeared.

Then in 1998, someone came upon the remnants of it in a second hand jewelry shop in London. All of the big stones were gone: seven stones ranging from 18 to 73 carats, set above a pendant, and the 234.69-carat De Beers Diamond, seventh largest in the world.

Cartier acquired the remains of the necklace and spent four years restoring it.

They tried recreating the original replacing the missing diamonds with a variety of natural stones such as white sapphires or white topazes, but with disappointing results.

Back to the diamonds. The original diamonds were of course not available including the De Beers Diamond itself. While the search for replacements continues, Cartier decided to use cubic zirconium to substitute for the seven diamonds and synthetic rubies to substitute for the original Burmese marvels. A replica of the De Beers Diamond was created and set in the necklace, but what type of synthetic material used has not been released to the press.

(One source actually said synthetic yellow sapphire, but this would have taken a prohibitively long time to cut and polish due to the immense size of the replica and the fact sapphire is a very tough stone, being a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. Therefore, it is more than likely tha yellow cubic zirconium was used, and another clue is that in a number of photos of the necklace, the De Beers replica casts off a number of different colors, something a synthetic yellow sapphire wouldn't do to that degree, but which a yellow cubic zirconium would.) The necklace originally contained about 2,930 diamonds weighing about 962.25 carats.
On May 6th, 1982, the De Beers came up for auction at Sotheby's in Geneva. It was generally thought that bidding could reach as much as $4.5 million. At the event the stone was bought when the top bid of $3.16 million remained below its undisclosed reserve.
In his book Precious Stones and Gems, Edwin Streeter has unwittingly been the cause of some confusion concering this diamond. He wrote that it was shown at the Paris Exhibition as the "Victoria"; this has led to the listing in some publications of a diamond called the Victoria I, weighing 228.50 old carats, also found in 1888 and also a light yellow color, and afterwords sold to an Indian prince. A mathmatical calculation will show that this is the same stone as the De Beers and not to be confused with the diamond known variously as the Imperial, Great White or Jacob, a diamond which was cut into a cushion shape of 184.50 carats.

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