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The « Grand Condé » A pear shape diamond in the heart of an apple

diamant rose Le Grand CondéThis 9-carat pink diamond holds the 20th position in the list of the most famous pink diamonds in the world, however thanks to a great history it became a legendary stone.

The “Grand Condé”, a pear-shaped light pink diamond, is said to come from the historical Indian mines of Kollnur in the Golconda region and was brought to France by the renowned explorer Jean Baptiste Tavernier who showed it and gave it to the Sun King. Louis XIV most probably gave it as a reward to Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, who was behind many French military victories in the years 1660-1675. Thereby the pink diamond entered the French Court and the Chantilly private collection.
 
prince of Condé Duke of BourbonThe Prince who suffered from the gout disease had it mounted on the top of his walking stick and kept it until his death. However the diamond is not mentioned in his heritage, it is referred to for the first time in the archives of the castle of Chantilly in 1713 where it is said to have been under the ownership of Anne de Bavière who gave it to her grandson, Louis Henry, Duke of Bourbon, as a wedding gift. The gem is described as « a pointy diamond » in the Duke’s first wife (Marie-Anne de Bourbon- Conti)’s will in 1920. The “Grand Condé” was set on a golden fleece until 1753 and then disappeared until the death of the 5th descendant of Louis II de Bourbon who bequeathed everything including the pink pear diamond to his nephew and godson the Duke of Aumale. According to the inventory made by Constant Bapst, the jeweller of the Crown in 1839, the diamond was set on a pin. The widowed Duke of Aumale had no child so bequeathed his entire heritage to the Insitut de France on the condition that the Chantilly Castle would be transformed into a museum and that none of the treasures would leave the domain. Unfortunately in the mid-twenties, two traders and cousins from the Alsace region, Leon Kaufer and Emile Souter decided to steal the diamond displayed at the Gem Tower to cope with their financial difficulties. They operated on the 12th October 1926.
 
Pink diamond le Grand Condé in Chantilly FranceThe curator of the museum, who happened to be the Maréchal Pétain, tried the best he could with the police to catch the thieves but the jewels were found in an apple in a hotel room two months later thanks to a mischievous hotel manager and a hungry housemaid. Most of the treasures stolen ended in the Seine, the thieves were afraid to resell them and to be caught. Since then a copy of the "Grand Condé" is displayed in the museum of Chantilly and the real piece is kept in the castle’s safe.

Despite its relatively small size, the « Grand Condé » or ‘ pink diamond of Condé » belongs to the famous royal diamonds. Alternately set on a walking stick, on a golden fleece and on a pin, it is eventually a remake of the original sin that saved it.