“French Blue” Diamond or the “Tavernier Blue”

The Mine | The Destiny of Tavernier | Subsequent Destiny of the”French Blue” | Conclusion

French Blue Diamond or so-called “Tavernier Blue” it is a diamond of 793 carats in weight, which possesses a violet or sapphire-blue color, which has been found in ancient Indian mine, located in the affluent of the Coleroon, north of the Palakkad Gap, in Tamil Nadu, which has been purchased by Jean Baptiste Tavernier.

The Mine, where the “French Blue” was found

Jean Baptiste Tavernier - the traveller and diamond merchant

It seems curious, that such great diamond of unusual color as “French Blue” Diamond has been found in the different place, in spite of commonly known mines of that period, located in Neela-Mulla mountains, in the vicinity of the Krishna and Pomar rivers, where 100 000’s of workers and slaves were engaged in the development of these mines.

This was not, actually, neither these mines of Golconda, mentioned by Tavernier in his treatise nor Gani or Coloor, nor the mines of Raulconda.

However, it was exactly the same place where the diamond of 40 carats was found and was presented to Shah Jehan by the Persian warlord Emir Jemla.

Thus, where Tavernier has found (and later has purchased) such remarkable diamond of blue color, which later has been named “French Blue,” and which has been so gorgeous, that has obtained the family name of Tavernier?

The answer to this question is a trivial from one side and an obvious from the other side. The only way to purchase and transfer such great precious stone as French Blue Diamond, was to obtain it from the unknown mine and to deliver it by smuggling. That’s was an easiest and the most obvious method, which Jean Baptiste Tavernier could use.

The owner of the soil, where the “French Blue” was obtained, made the conditions for his clients, foreign merchants, such as Tavernier was, that have been similar to the conditions between rich diamond buyers and the King of Golconda, that came to his kingdom.

The conditions were pretty light, from the one side. Each merchant had to pay a regular fee for each worker, employed in the development of the mine. However, from the other side, one paragraph in the conditions meant the forbiddance on import for any stone, exceeded 2 carats in weight. Whereupon, all the remarkable, precious stones passed into the possession of the King of Golconda.

Thus, the only way to take out of the Kingdom any precious stone of high value was a smuggle.

The Destiny of Tavernier, after selling his “French Blue” Diamond

Louis XIV

Jean Baptiste Tavernier sold to Louis XIV 25 remarkable diamonds, including one curious diamond of violet blue color, in 1668, after his last visit of the oriental countries. That was a time, when this diamond has got its new name “Tavernier Blue.”

Louis XIV paid Tavernier an amount, equal to £ 100000 (in XVII century), for the violet blue diamond and other diamonds, brought by Tavernier from the East.

This money allowed Tavernier to become a noble person, who purchased a splendid manor and have helped him to spend the rest of life in his manor together with his beloved son.

However, the subsequent destiny of Tavernier and his son was sad. “French Blue” Diamond and other stones, obtained him from Asia, have played a regrettable role in his subsequent life.

Such untold wealth aided his young son to involve Jen Baptiste Tavernier into doubtful speculative deals. He had to sell his manor and other property and, soon, headed to the Asia in the age of 84. He was attacked by the fever and subsequently died.

It could be curious, that Emir Jemla died in a similar manner after unsuccessful deals with Tavernier’s son.

Subsequent Destiny of “Tavernier Blue”

After the “French Blue” Diamond came into the possession of Louis XIV, it was cut, and, whereupon, reduced to 67.125 carats.

Shortly after the disappearance of rough “French Blue,” certain remarkable Diamond of blue tint passed into the collection of Henry Thomas Hope. Due to the cleavage, the “Tavernier Blue” was subsequently reduced to 44.5 carats.

The disappearance of famous “French Blue” was due to the French Revolution, when the diamond, possessed the same characteristics, has passed into possession of Henry Thomas Hope, that leaves no doubt, that it was exactly the “French Blue,” which formerly was in the possession of Jean Baptiste Tavernier.

A cut diamond, which possessed blue color, was demonstrated afterwards under the name “Hope” Diamond, in 1972, that, actually, confirms an assumption, that the “Hope” Diamond has been obtained from the rough “French Blue” Diamond, which has been stolen during the complicated time of the French Revolution.


Nobody of us knows for sure the true history of the “French Blue” or so-called “Tavernier Blue” Diamond, however, the facts, provided in this article, seems to be obvious.

I don’t claim, in any case, that there were two, absolutely the same blue diamonds, however, each of us could make one’s own conclusion on account of the facts, described above.

All that we have, the only ancient books, that describes the events, accompanying the life and destiny of Jean Baptiste Tavernier, some sketches, that drawn in his book, and our common sense.

April 2, 2015

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