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Articles from DIAMONDS BY CUT - BRILLIANT (ROUND) (285 Articles)

Idol’s Eye

The Idol’s Eye is a 70.21-carat Golconda diamond, possessing a blue tinge characteristic of many diamonds from that source, and shaped like an Old Mine cut – but with nine main facets instead of eight.
The cut
There are nine corresponding pavilion facets and a number of non-symmetrical facets scattered around the crown and pavilion of the stone. Considering this shape, it's not difficult to envisage the gem as an eye, giving a fair clue as to the origin of its name. What is less clear is the gem’s history.

For sale
The first authenticated fact in the diamond's history was its appearance at a Christie's sale in London on July 14, 1865. It was described as “a splendid, large diamond set with 18 smaller brilliants.”

It is said that the Idol’s Eye was bought by Ottoman Emperor Abdul Hamid II. When exiled in 1909, Hamid II dispatched his jewels; however, his servant-turned-traitor sold them in Paris. 

Idol's Eye Diamond Scan
It is known that the gem was one of several large diamonds that came up for auction in Paris on June 24, 1909. There, it was purchase by a Spanish nobleman and stored in a London bank for some years.

After the end of World War II, the Idol's Eye was sold to Harry Winston who sold it May Bonfils Stanton. From her early childhood, Stanton displayed an interest in jewels. In addition to the Idol's Eye, she held the Liberator diamond and a diamond necklace studded with 12 emeralds weighing 107 carats. 

Yet, she was said to have worn the Idol's Eye at her solitary breakfast every morning. The gem was set as the pendant to a diamond necklace containing 41 round brilliants totalling about 22.50 carats, plus another 45 baguettes weighing about 12 carats. After her death, Stanton’s jewels were auctioned in New York, and the proceeds distributed among various charities.

Chicago jeweller Harry Levinson bought the Idol's Eye for $US375,000 and loaned it to De Beers for an exhibition at the Diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg in 1967. 

Six years later, Levinson put the diamond up for sale in New York but withdrew it when the bidding failed to reach his $US1.1 million reserve.

In 1979, Laurence Graff acquired the Idol’s Eye for display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, after which it was sold, together with the Emperor Maximilian and a 70.54-carat, fancy-yellow diamond named the Sultan Abdul Hamid II.

The sale is considered to have been one of the highest-priced transactions on record.

Fact Sheet

Weight: 70.21 carats
Dimensions: 26.1mm x 24.53mm x 13.43mm
Colour: Very light blue
Rough weight:
Origin: India
Date found: early 1600s
Current location: privately owned

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