Friday, August 14, 2009

The Dresden Green: The Object of Envy

The largest and finest natural green diamond ever found, the 40.70 carat Dresden Green derives its name from Dresden, the capital city of Saxony in Germany. An early 18th century stone, it probably came from the Kollur mines near Golconda in southern India.

In the early 18th century, it was purchased by the famous London diamond merchant Marcus Moses, who hoped to sell it to King George I (1714-27) for 10,000 pounds. Later, it was offered to Duke Frederick Augustus I for 30,000 pounds. But none of them purchased it. The diamond was eventually sold to Duke Frederick Augustus II for thaler 400,000.

For a period after World War II, the Russians took the diamond and many other treasures including the crown jewels to Moscow; they were returned in 1958.

The Dresden Green was taken to Washington in October 2000, where it was displayed at the Smithsonian Institution until January 2001. It was then returned to the Albertinium Museum in Dresden, its permanent home.

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