The Queen of Holland Diamond
One of the largest flawless D colour diamonds known, the Queen of Holland diamond is a stunning 135 carat cushion cut diamond, cut into its present shape in 1904. The stone is named after Queen Wilhemina of Holland, who reigned from 1890 until 1948. Nothing is known of its history prior to its arrival in Amsterdam in 1904, which could indicate that it was one of several large South African diamonds to appear around that era. However, the slightly blue tint of the diamond, and the fact that it is the rare Type IIa, suggests it is probably from Golconda, the wonderful Indian mine where so many of the world’s extraordinary diamonds came from.
It was exhibited at the 1925 Exhibition of Arts and Industry in Paris, where French President Pierre Doumergue viewed it. Somewhere along the line, Doumergue got the impression that he was to be introduced to the actual Queen of Holland, and was somewhat disappointed to come face to face with a mere diamond, however he was suitably impressed when told of the size and value of the stone, stating “A poor functionary like me would have to work 20 years to become the owner of this little bauble”.
The stone was sold in 1930 to the Maharajah of Nawanagar, who had it set by Cartier into an exceptional necklace, pictured below.
The Maharajah owned the piece until his death, and the stone stayed with his family until 1960 when Cartier bought it back and offered it for sale. It was purchased in 1978 by famous diamond dealer William Goldberg of New York, who recut it slightly, losing in the region of a third of a carat in weight. Later that year it was bought by connoisseur and collector Robert Mouawad, of Mouawad Jewellers, for a reputed price of seven million dollars. He presumably owns it to this day.