The rare diamond was a gift from the Governor General of the Philippines in 1715.
A gift fit of a Queen
A very rare blue diamond which has been in the possession of European royal families for the past 300 years was recently auctioned off for almost seven million dollars.
Called the Farnese Blue, the 6.16 carat pear-shaped diamond was auctioned by Sotheby’s in Geneva on May 15.
First discovered in the Golconda mines in India, the Farnese Blue was named after Elisabeth Farnese, the second wife of King Philip V of Spain.
Philip V, was also called as Philippe, the Duke of Anjou. He was descended from the Sun King and was born into French royalty. He became the Spanish King in 1700, when King Charles II passed away. He was married to Marie Louise of Savoia.
Philippe was king during the War of Spanish Succession, which ended in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Marie Louise died shortly thereafter.
Spain needed a new queen, so a suitable candidate was found. Philippe married Farnese in 1714.
After many years of war, Spain’s finances were in disarray. Still, a wedding was a wedding, so the Spanish governors in colonies across the world (including the one in the Philippines) were ordered to find a suitable dowry for the new queen.
From the Philippines, with love
Galleons full of treasure gathered from around the world made their way to the Spanish capital. The fleet started off with twelve ships full of gold and emeralds. Of course, they ran into bad weather, with a number of ships being lost at sea. One ship survived though, arriving in Madrid bearing, among other things, the said diamond. Farnese received the diamond as a wedding gift in 1715.
It’s good to be the king.
For the next 300 years, the Farnese Blue was passed from one royal family to another. With royal families establishing strategic partnerships and alliances they way they did, the diamond came to be in the possession of Spanish, French, Italian and Austrian kings and queens.
The story goes that even Marie Antoinette had it at one point, having the Farnese Blue set in a tiara.
The jewel was not known to the general public, being kept hidden away by its royal owners. Its existence was unknown to most, except for close relatives and royal family jewellers.
Since then, it’s travelled around the world, as part of exhibits in the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore and China.
The diamond comes in a nice jewelry box, with a matching description telling of the journey the Farnese Blue took throughout the years.
In French, it says: “Remarkable blue brilliant. This historical stone was offered by the Philippine Islands to Elisabeth Farnese, Queen of Spain, wife of Philippe V, great grandfather of the Comte of Villafranca, current owner of that stone.”
Say it with diamonds
Seems that someone really wanted the diamond really badly, paying far more than what Sotheby’s estimated it to be.
The auction house was hoping for a range between $3.7 to $5.3 million.
It wasn’t the most expensive item to be sold on that day. There was also a 51.71 carat diamond ring which went for $9.2 million.