This Golconda diamond remains the personification of brilliance even today, and celebrates man's creativity as a substantial, magnificent star, a truly magical manifestation of its distant extraterrestrial twin.
Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of the French emperor Napoleon, was known to be the first owner of The Polar Star. Joseph Bonaparte, a passionate jewel collector, acquired the gem from an unexplained source. He sold it and sailed off to America, after he lost his kingdom, comprising Naples and Spain.
Princess Tatiana Youssoupov was the next recorded owner of the dazzling gem, who lived from 1769 to 1841. Princess Tatiana belonged to one of the richest and most important families in imperial Russia. The Polar star also came to be known as the Youssoupov during the family's ownership of the diamond.
Tatiana's brother, Prince Felix Youssoupov fled from Russia taking with him the Polar Star, soon after the Russian Revolution broke out. Firstly he offered the diamond to Cartier in 1924, who kept it at their London branch for a short period. With some other jewels he then hocked it along to the London firm T M Sutton. Later, Cartier ransomed the Polar Star.
In 1928, Cartier sold the diamond to the wife of Sir Henry Deterding, Lady Lydia Deterding. Sir Henry Deterding has been the founder of Royal Dutch Shell. It was her wish that the Polar Star has to be sold off after her death and Christie's was authorised by the executers of her will to do so. On November 20, 1980 in Geneva the auction took place and the Polar Star was knocked down to an unidentified Sri Lankan dealer for 8 million Swiss francs. With a high probability it is still in Sri Lanka.
(Last Updated on : 23-01-2014)
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