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The Jubilee Diamond

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From the Archives : Originally published October 09th, 2009
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Category : Gems and Treasures





The Jubilee is a colorless cushion cut stone weighing 245.35 metric carats. The original rough stone was an irregular octahedron without definite faces or shape, weighed 650.80 carats and was discovered in 1895 in the Jagersfontein Mine (South Africa) just two years after the discovery of the Excelsior diamond in the same mine in 1893.



It was originally called The Reitz in honor of Francis William Reitz, President of the Orange Free State in which Jagersfontein is located.


The diamond was renamed The Jubilee in 1896 in honor of The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. Shortly after being displayed in The Paris Exhibition of 1900, the stone was sold at a value of 7,000,000 francs to an Indian Industrialist and Philanthropist, Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata.




Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata died in 1932. In 1935 his heirs sent the Jubilee for sale at Cartier, who in December of that year mounted it in a display of historic diamonds. For a buyer the firm first looked to the Gaekwar of Baroda who in 1928 had appointed Cartier as his sole advisors on purchases of precious stones. But the sale never happened and in 1937 Cartier finally sold the Jubilee instead to M. Paul-Louis Weiller, a Paris industrialist and patron of the arts. The diamond's former setting was changed into a brooch with a number of diamond baguettes, resembling either a six-pointed star or a stylized turtle.



Mr. Weiller was always generous about loaning the Jubilee to exhibitions including one staged at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington in 1960 and another held in Geneva in December of the same year. In 1966 the Jubilee returned to its country of origin South Africa where it was featured in the De Beers Diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg.


Mr. Robert Mouawad, the head of the international jewelry empire, Mouawad Jewelers, has since bought the Jubilee which is now the largest gem in his great collection. It has been graded as E-color, one grade away from completely colorless, and VVS2 clarity.





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