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Crown Jewels


Royalty in all shapes and forms

THE MAXIMILIAN EMPEROR AND THE CURSED DIAMONDS

As usual, I was spending this Saturday morning in New York, going round auction halls. On Christie’s Park Avenue, one can find magnificent jewellery on display. My friend François, one of the world’s greatest experts in the field, invited me to follow him into his office. He knew that I was an enthusiast and handed…

THE BIGGEST SAPPHIRE IN THE WORLD

It is one of the biggest cut sapphires in the world, weighing over 300 carats. It was bought at the end of the19th century by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a passionate jewelry collector. It was passed on to her daughter-in-law, the Grand Duchess Cyril. After the 1917 Revolution, needing money, she sold…

La Reine Victoria Eugénie

AUNT ENA’S EMERALDS

During the days of the Second Empire, Queen Victoria visited France and became friends with Napoleon III, and particularly with his wife, the Empress Eugenie. Although they came from very different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, the two sovereigns formed a close friendship. After the fall of the Second Empire, and the disastrous Franco-Prussian war of…

The Ruby of the Black Prince

It was during the time when Spain was still partially Muslim, when Arab sovereigns still ruled certain provinces, despite the Christian Reconquista which had begun centuries earlier. King Peter the Cruel, or the Just, was staying in Seville when he learned that an Arab emirs, one of his own allies, was in possession of the largest,…

Koh-i-Noor

Currently, both India and Pakistan have requested that the English Crown return one of their most precious and famous treasures, the Koh-i-Noor. Its existence can be traced back to the 14th century, when it belonged to an Indian maharajah. It later appeared in the possession of the Grand Moguls of India, the rulers of Afghani…

The Court of Rudolph II and Rabbi Loew

When speaking of magic and magicians, we must look to 16th century Prague. Emperor Rudolph II, the nephew of Charles V, had chosen Prague from amongst all the capitals of his kingdoms to be his residence. At the time, Prague was still a medieval city. The famous Charles IV Bridge that spans the Moldau, covered…