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1740
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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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Plate from Mawe, 1823 showing several unusual diamonds. Both 4 and 5 are the Hope. The original caption read
1813-1823
Several British naturalists wrote about Eliason's blue diamond. A later account placed the diamond in the possession of George IV.
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1812
A blue diamond appears in London

It is now clear that the French Blue resurfaced in London nearly 20 years later, although no one seems to have recognized it at the time. It had by then been recut to a smaller (though still spectacular) gem, which we know today as the Hope Diamond.

The first reference to this diamond is a sketch and description made in 1812 by the London jeweler John Francillon:

The above drawing is the exact size and shape of a very curious superfine deep blue Diamond. Brilliant cut, and equal to a fine deep blue Sapphire. It is beauty full and all perfection without specks or flaws, and the color even and perfect all over the Diamond. I traced it round the diamond with a pencil by leave of Mr. Daniel Eliason and it is as finely cut as I have ever seen in a Diamond. The color of the Drawing is as near the color of the Diamond as possible.

Francillon does not mention where the diamond came from or who had cut it, nor does he connect it to the French Blue.

Intriguingly, the Francillon Memo is dated just two days after the twenty-year statute of limitations for crimes committed during the French Revolution had passed. The diamond may have resurfaced at this time because the possibility of prosecution and of France reclaiming the diamond was eliminated, making the owner comfortable enough to share the diamond with others (Winters and White 1991).

In Depth

Gallery

The Hope Diamond.
Image of a page from the Francillon Memo dated September 19, 1812 with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.
Timeline adapted from Post and Farges 2014 and sources therein. Updated 23 October 2017.

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