The French Blue

An Illustrated, historical Novel of the 17th Century

and the Origins of the Hope Diamond.

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A journey of forty years and sixty thousand leagues! From the seraglios of Persia to the empire of Shah Jahan--from the lands of The Great Mogul of India to the court of the Sun King of France, the true story of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and the French Blue, the world’s most famous diamond, unfolds across a panorama of two continents.

Between 1630-1668, the French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier made six voyages to Persia and India. His true exploits by land and sea go far beyond the paper and ink adventures of purely fictional heroes. Tavernier knew and did business with some of the 17th Century’s most powerful princes and romanced some of the world’s most beautiful women.

Tavernier acquired a magnificent 116 carat blue diamond. Upon his return from his sixth voyage, he sold this diamond to Louis XIV for 147 kilos of pure gold. The Sun King ennobled him and he became Baron of Aubonne.

The great blue diamond! Recut, set in the fabulous Jewel of The Golden Fleece (see back cover), then stolen and recut again! The remains of this fabulous gem is on display at The Smithsonian, the world famous Hope Diamond, but for the first 200 years of its history, it was called simply The French Blue.

The French Blue

“The fascinating back story of the Hope Diamond. It is both a delightful read and a treasure trove of insights into the world of
the 17th Century gem trade.”

John S. White, Former Curator,
National Gem Collection, The Smithsonian.