Condé Diamond

The Condé Pink Diamond (also known as Le Grand Condé) is a light pink pear-shaped stone of 9.01 carats, named after  Louis II de Bourbon, the Prince of Condé. He was Commander of the French Army, and is believed to have been presented the diamond as a token of appreciation by King Louis XIII in 1643 for the several successful military victories that he had had. (On May 19th, 1643, at only 22 years of age, de Bourbon was responsible for the victory of the French against Spain at the battle of Rocroi. This was the first major defeat of Spain at the hands of the French in the Thirty Years War and France’s greatest victory in over one hundred years).

He mounted the diamond onto the pommel of his walking stick.

It came originally from the historic Kollur mines of Southern India, and although it is unknown how it came into Europe, it is perhaps most likely to have been brought by Tavernier, the famous diamond merchant.

Its pink body-colour is caused by a process called plastic deformation, which is where the diamond is formed and the crystal distorted by massive pressure from the Earth’s crust.

The diamond remained in the Condé family it was bequeathed to the French people in 1892. It was put on display in the Museé de Condé in Chantilly, France, where according to the terms of the Duc’s will, it must always remain. On October 11th, 1926, the diamond was stolen from the museum but later found, hidden inside an apple in their apartment by the thieves!

From the Cornell Daily Sun, October 13, 1926

The famous Rose diamond known as the “Grand Conde” and valued at more than $2,000,000 was the most precious of a number of priceless treasures which were stolen this morning from the chateau of the Duc DeAumale one of the national museums of France. A daring band of thieves, consisting of at least four men, scaled the high walls of the castle ground with the aid of two ladders, crossed a moat and climbed up to the famous “room of gems” from which they looted precious stones and historical ornaments. The intrinsic value of the objects stolen has been placed as high as 100,000,000 francs while their value as relics of a bygone age are beyond calculation. The Rose diamond, a heart shaped stone almost an inch long and more than a half inch wide, was once owned by the celebrated French general, Prince DeConde, Louis II of Bourbon, known as the “Grand Conde” who defeated the Spaniards in 1643 at the battle of Rocroi. The diamond remained In the Conde family until 1830 when it was bequeathed to the Due DeAumale.

It was returned to the museum and has remained on display ever since!