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The Polar Star Diamond

The Polar Star diamond has an eight-pointed star on its lower pavilion and a 2mm flat culet. The symmetry of the cut is so exact that this loose diamond can be balanced upright on its (point) culet. This is an Indian diamond, from Golconda, and has been described as: “the brightest diamond ever seen”. The cut weight is 41.28 carat in a very well-shaped oval configuration.

First owned by Joseph Bonaparte, eldest brother of Napoleon, who once ruled Naples and then Spain (1806-1813) the Polar Star was sold into Russia sometime around 1820.

The diamond belonged to the Youssoupov family, one of the richest and most influential names in all of Russia. There is a strong family connection with the strange and mysterious Raspoutin, a Russian courtier and religious leader, who was credited with curing the ills of the daughter of Empress Alexandria and Czar Nicholas II. Raspoutin gained power and influence over most of Russia’s political decisions.

Prince Felix Youssoupov became alarmed about this unwanted political interference and plotted to kill Raspoutin. On December 16, in 1916, the prince invited Raspoutin to dinner and poisoned his wine. When the poison failed to take his life, the conspirators shot him and threw his body into the River Neva. Felix fled Russia and took several notable diamonds with him. He hid his treasures in secret sealed vaults that were concealed since 1917. A mason who had originally worked on the dungeons led to their discovery less than a decade later. Felix was somehow able to broker the Polar Star to Cartier in 1924.

The Polar Star diamond changed hands several times and was last purchased by a gem dealer from Sri Lanka for 8 million Swiss francs in 1980. What a shame that so few have seen it since. This unique cut configuration is especially beautiful and difficult to duplicate. Very few known diamonds enjoy such proportions. It has faded from public view and it’s still privately owned in places unknown.