their biggest ever commission - a total of 962.25 carats - including the De Beers 'yellow' 234.65 carat diamond
In 1928, at the request of the Maharajah of Patiala, the jewelry firm Cartier's of Paris set the De Beers diamond, as the centerpiece of a ceremonial necklace
- that came to be known as "Patiala Necklace,"
- which without any doubt was one of the most spectacular pieces of jewelry ever created.
- In addition to the De Beers diamond weighing 234.69 carats,
- there were 7 other big diamonds ranging from 18 to 73 carats,
- incorporated into the necklace.
- Several expensive Burmese Rubies were also placed in the necklace.
- In all, the necklace also contained 2,930, smaller diamonds, weighing about 962.25 carats.
- Had this unique jewelry masterpiece existed today, by current market values,
- in addition to it's great historic significance, which also adds to it's value,
- the price of this spectacular necklace, would have been beyond estimation.
But unfortunately after the abolition of the Patiala Raj with India's independence in 1947, the Patiala necklace too disappeared
- Perhaps, it was disposed of by the royal family,
- fearing it's confiscation by the new Indian Government.
- Then in 1998, the remnants of the Patiala necklace were accidentally discovered
- in a 2-nd hand jewelry shop in London, by a curious customer.
- All the big stones in the necklace, which included the De Beers diamond and the 7 other big diamonds ranging from 18 to 73 carats,
- and the rubies had all been disposed of.
- Cartier's acquired the remains of the necklace from the London jewelry store,
- and embarked upon the most difficult task of trying to restore the necklace to it's former pristine glory.
- It took them 4 long years to complete the job.
- At first, they tried to replace the missing diamonds with natural white sapphire or white topaz,
- but the results were very disappointing.
- Subsequently, they decided to use cubic zirconium to replace the 7 large diamonds.
- The resulting effect was encouraging, though not as good as the original diamonds.
- Colorless zirconium resemble diamond in it's luster and brilliance.
- The missing De Beers diamond was replaced with an exact replica made
- either of yellow cubic zirconium or synthetic yellow sapphire.
- The original Burma rubies were substituted with synthetic rubies.
The De Beers diamond suddenly surfaced again on May 6th, 1982
- when it's anonymous owner put it up for auction at Sotheby's in Geneva.
- The speculation in the diamond trade was that the bidding for the stone could reach as much as $ 4.5 million,
- but eventually the stone was purchased at the top bid of $ 3.16 million, by an anonymous buyer,
- still much below it's undisclosed reserve