The Hortensia Diamond

Usually the world’s famous diamonds are named after the discoverer, the location where it was found, a royalty or an emperor or a king or queen, or perhaps the mystery that surrounds it.

But the name of the Hortensia Diamond does not relate to any of the above. A French woman by the name of Hortense de Beauharnais (1806-1810) was not the owner, either did she have access to the diamond, nor the diamond was bequeathed to her and perhaps she didn’t even know that her name was famously attached to a unique diamond from India.

Hortensia was the step-daughter of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and the daughter of Empress Josephine by her first husband, Alexandre de Beauharnais. Later Hortensia was destined to become the Queen Consort of Holland, when she married King Louis Bonaparte of Holland, who was the third surviving brother of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

The Hortensia Diamond weighs 20.53 carat. It is almost flat, light peach in color with a disproportionate pentagon outline. However, this lightly colored diamond has a feather, which is a fine crack running along the girdle to the culet. Back in 1791, the diamond was purchased by King Louis XIV (1642 – 1715) and thus it belonged to the French Crown Jewels. At that time it was not deemed to be a diamond of high value.

A diamond of this nature and cut was definitely mined from the diamond mines at Golconda in Southern India.

The Hortensia diamond has been lost and found on several occasions. But today at the Galerie d’Apollon of the Louvre Museum in Paris, this diamond is on display alongside other famous diamonds, like the Regent and the Sancy Diamond.


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