The Mystery of the Florentine Diamond

Mar 4, 2023Celebrations, England, freedom, Germany, gold, government, history, love, marriage, monarchs, music, mystery, News, romance, Romans, society, USA, War, World, WWII

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? This one reads like a Pink Panther screenplay…

At One hundred thirty-seven plus carats the yellowish-green diamond known as the Florentine Diamond. It is noted to have an unusual cut with nine sides and one hundred twenty-six facets some call it a rose cut. (

The Florentine Diamond

The exact origins of this fascinating stone are unknown. Some tales align it with the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold who found the diamond on the shores of India. The Diamond was a good luck charm for Charles who was known to wear it on a chain hung around his neck into battle where it invariably helped him to prevail time and again as he fought to separate Burgundy from France.

Charles the Bold

Charles the Bold married the sister of King Edward IV of England. Margaret of York was used to create alliances that would suit his kingdom building. This combining of kingdoms did boost his ability to take over new territories, but that was short-lived. Charles had been successful in overtaking Luxembourg and the Netherlands.  Eventually, King Edward IV availed his kingdom and troops with those of King Louis XI of France who had previously been his enemy. King Louis XI set out to stop Charles the Bold from swallowing more territories. In this story, he (the Duke of Burgundy) while fighting against the Swiss backed by King Louis XI in the battle of Granson and Morat in 1476 was defeated. In the next battle of Nancy, he was killed and a young soldier stole the diamond from him and sold it for a mere two francs to Bartholomew May. ( (

Margaret of York

The young man believed this great diamond was simply glass. May sold the stone to a Genose and he resold it. Ludovico Sforza was the new owner. The Florentine Diamond kept changing hands until it appeared in the Medici Treasury in Florence, Italy. It was reputed to have been in the possession of Pope Julius II. ( (

Ludovico Sforza

Another version of the stone’s provenance is that it was owned by King Vijayanagar in India. Supposedly it was gifted to the Governor of Goa, the Count of Monetsanto when his troops overtook the troops of King Vijayanagar in the 1600s. Later, it was turned over to the Jesuits in Rome for safekeeping. The Jesuits entered into negotiations with the third Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando II L de’ Medici, or Cosmos I as he was known, who ended up with the stone. (

King Vijayanagar

Cosmos I died. The grandmother, Christine of Lorraine and Cosmos II mother, Maria Madaline of Austria were named Regents until Cosmos I son, Cosmos II could assume the throne. After completing his education in Vienna and Rome Cosmos II rose to the throne as the fifth Grand Duke of Tuscany. He was seventeen at that time. He inherited the Florentine Diamond when he assumed his new role as head of the state. Ferdinando III L de’ Medici as he was known. ( (

Archduchess Maria Maddalena of Austria

Up until this point, the stone was uncut. The son of the Grand Duke of Tuscany took the stone to a cutter in Florence, Italy who set it in a ring along with several diamonds. It was then named the Dufner Diamond. (

Cosmos II had a son who would take the throne upon his death. He ruled for fifty-three years as the sixth Grand Duke of Tuscany. That was longer than any prior ruler. He had a son, Gian Gastone. Gian would be the last of the Medici because upon his death he had no heirs. ( (

Cosmos II, Grand Duke of Tuscany

The true trail of ownership begins after the death of the Duke of Tuscany. The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was passed down to the Dukes of Lorraine. Francis I, Stepan of Loraine then assumed the throne.  Frances III was wed to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Maria Theresa was the Queen of Bohemia and Hungary, and Archduchess of Austria. Francis I Stepan of Lorraine was named the Holy Roman Emperor. The stone officially became part of the Hapsburg Crown Jewels. ( (

Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine

The diamond was reset in a hat pin where it was weighed and documented in the official collection by the Imperial and Royal Mineral Cabinet as custodians for the Hapsburg Crown Jewels. They also made a plaster casting of it as part of their records and ordered a rhinestone replica. These records are kept in the Natural History Museum in Vienna, Austria. (

The Natural History Museum of Vienna, Austria

When Austrian Empire fell during World War I this crown jewel was secreted away under the strict guidance of the Austrian Emperor as he went into exile. The diamond and other jewels were stolen in 1918 supposedly by a friend of the emperor and later smuggled into South America. According to the rumor mill the diamond and other stones were sold and recut in the United States to prevent them from being identified. However, the mystery does not stop there. (

Other reports suggest that the diamond never left Austria after WWII. This story states that once Austria fell to Germany the Crown Jewels were seized and later recovered by a gentleman by a man from the United States 3rd Army who brought them back to Vienna. (

So where the Florentine Diamond is now is anybody’s guess. It is an interesting tale.




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