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The return of the royal family to Paris on June 25th, 1791. Engraving by Jean Duplessis-Bertaux, after a drawing by Jean-Louis Prieur.
1791
King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were captured attempting to flee France during the French Revolution. The royal jewels were turned over to the revolutionary government and housed in the Garde-Meuble.
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Illustration of the Garde-Meuble from sometime between 1787 and 1792
1792
During the chaos of the French Revolution, the French Blue Diamond was stolen during a week-long looting of the French Crown Jewels from the Garde-Meuble.
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Image of a page from the Francillon Memo dated September 19, 1812 with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.
1812
A deep blue diamond weighing approximately 45.5 carats appeared in London, where it was described by the London jeweler John Francillon. His description is the first reference to the Hope Diamond as we know it today.
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1792
The Theft of the French Crown Jewels

On the night of September 11th, 1792, a group of thieves climbed through the first-floor windows of the Garde-Meuble into the room where the French Crown Jewels were stored and escaped with some of the jewels. At the time, no one in the storehouse even realized that a theft had taken place: The seal on the door to the room had not been broken, and no guards were stationed inside of the room. The thieves returned over the following nights to steal more of the jewels. By the evening of September 17th, the group of thieves had grown to about fifty. Acting loudly and carelessly, they attracted the attention of the patrol, putting an end to one of the most curious thefts in history (Morel 1988).

By then, the Order of the Golden Fleece was gone. The French Blue Diamond has not been seen since.

In Depth

Gallery

A color illustration of the emblem of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The emblem contained several spectacular gems, including the French Blue diamond and the Côte de Bretagne spinel.
The Côte de Bretagne spinel. Once thought to be a ruby, this stone was carved in the shape of a dragon. It was part the Emblem of the Order of the Golden Fleece and is currently on display at the Louvre.
Illustration of the Garde-Meuble from sometime between 1787 and 1792
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 19 April 2017.

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