Book Containing Images of the Tavernier Blue (Hope Diamond) Available Online

A sketch of the Tavernier Blue Diamond from three angles (1678)

A sketch of the Tavernier Blue Diamond from three angles (1678)

A book containing the earliest known images of the Tavernier Blue diamond later called the French Blue and now known as the Hope Diamond is now available online. The USGS Libraries have recently digitized a first English edition of “The Six Voyages of John Baptista Tavernier” (1678) which describes the adventures of the French merchant and explorer Jean-Baptist Tavernier (1605-1689) across Persia and India.

A sketch from three angles of the Tavernier Blue is accompanied by a short description of the stone as “a Diamond cleane of a faire violet” and as one “of the 14 fairest Diamonds chosen out among all those which Monsieur Tavernier sold to the King at his last return from the Indies, upon which consideration, and for severall services done the Kingdome His Majesty honored him with the title of Noble.” After it was sold to the king this diamond was renamed the “French Blue” or the “Blue Diamond of the Crown” and it remained in the possession of the French Royal Family until it was stolen in 1792. Its whereabouts were unknown until 1812, where it made its appearance in the Francillon memo with the new cut of the Hope Diamond we know today.

Tavernier includes numerous other descriptions of remarkable jewels and gemstones that he saw or purchased in the course of his travels including the Great Mogul Diamond, French royal rubies, and the “perfect” pearl of Persia.

The full text of “The Six Voyages of John Baptista Tavernier”¬†and the sketch of the Tavernier Blue.

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