Florentine Diamond – 137.27 Carats
When a diamond crystal weighs 137.27 carats and has an intense greenish-yellow body color it might be hard to conceal its identity. Known as the Tuscan diamond, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, the Austrian Diamond and the Austrian Yellow, the Florentine Diamond dates all the way back to 1477.
Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, was said to be wearing it when he fell in the battle of Nancy. A foot soldier found a large lump of yellow glass on the fallen duke’s body and sold it for one florin. It changed hands several times and it was reported to have been once owned by Pope Julius II (1503-1513).
The Medici family of Florence, Italy acquired the diamond and earned a visit from Jean Baptiste Tavernier, in 1657, who saw a large yellow double-sided, pear-shaped diamond with 126 facets and an irregular nine-sided outline, unlike any crystal he had ever seen before. The great diamond stayed in the Medici family until the final descendant, Anna Maria Luisa willed the Florentine, to Francis of Lorraine (Grand Duke of Tuscany) and his wife Maria Theresa, when she died, in 1743. This transferred the diamond to Austria and it soon became a part of the Austrian crown jewels.
Austria fell after World War I and the crown jewels went into exile along with the Austrian royal family. A lawsuit was filed several years later when the captured treasures were put up for auction in Lucerne, Switzerland. The Florentine had disappeared; it might have been among a group of gems that an advisor (who proved to be less than honest) took to South America. No one has seen it since.
In 1923, a large yellow diamond appeared in America and was thought to be the Florentine. It later proved to be the Shaw of Persia diamond, with a completely different history and heritage. It might be difficult to disguise such a large pear-shaped intense yellow diamond but the Florentine must be out there somewhere. We’ll know it when we see it.