September 11 - The French Blue Is Stolen

– 1792

A huge blue diamond was one of the many jewels owned by French King Louis XIV and his wife, Marie Antoinette. But on this date in 1792, while the king and his family were trapped in the palace during the beginning of the French Revolution (not long before they lost their heads), a group of thieves broke into the Royal Storehouse and stole the Crown Jewels, including the French Blue.

Later, when things calmed down, some of these jewels were recovered, but the French Blue never was.

However, almost exactly twenty years after the theft, a blue diamond was recorded as being in the possession of a diamond merchant in London. In 1839 a diamond of the same size, color, and shape appeared in the published catalog of a gem collector named Henry Philip Hope. This Hope Diamond was long thought to have been cut from the French Blue—and in 2005 evidence was published that, indeed, this theory is true.

The Hope Diamond now resides in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

Learn more about diamonds from Science Kids

Can you discover from this earlier post what makes the Hope Diamond blue? 

Also on this date:

This day commemorates the tragic deaths and injury and loss that most Americans know as 9-11.

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