About the Diamond of Napoleon Buonaparte

about a diamond that ornamented the hilt of Napoleon's sword early in his career and which originally belonged to an Englishman who sold it to the famous Frenchman before his marriage to Josephine


The Vague History of a Brilliant Gem--An Ornament of Napoleon's Sword Hilt.

Very little is known regarding this beautiful gem, whose history begins as abruptly as it terminates. Like one of those bright meteors, which in northern climes suddenly flash across the starry firmament to be presently extinguished in darkness, it makes its appearance in the British metropolis about the time of the French Revolution, and has already vanished out of sight almost before the close of the eighteenth century. Murray, who is almost our only authority for its brief but brilliant career, tells us that it belonged originally to Mr. Eliason (the same gentleman who sold the "Blue" diamond to Mr. Hope), of London. It was seen in his possession by a trust-worthy person, from whom Murray received the few particulars which he has recorded regarding its subsequent history. From this source we learn that it was purchased from Eliason for 8,000 pound by Napoleon Buonaparte, and by him worn in the hilt of his sword on the occasion of his wedding with the hapless Josephine Beauharnais, in 1796. Murray adds that "it was not a diamond of the first class," although it is known to have really been a very perfect stone.

It is remarkable that at that early period of his career, when he was still only a distinguished general of the Republican forces, Napoleon had already amassed wealth enough to afford to spend 8,000 pound on a single gem. Still more remarkable is the fact that nothing more is heard of this diamond after it thus came into the possession of "le petit caporal." In the inventory of the crown jewels prepared by order of the emperor in 1810, there is no separate entry of any diamond of this size. It may possibly have been removed from the sword, and included in one or other of the numerous groups of brilliants contained in that collection. But in any case it must have been sold before Napoleon III. came to the throne, for the Empress Eugenie has assured us that she never saw it amongst the French crown treasures.

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