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Optical Investigations to clear up a Mystery The Wittelsbach and the Hope Diamond

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Evers, J., Möckl, L., & Noeth, H. (2012). Optical Investigations to clear up a Mystery The Wittelsbach and the Hope Diamond. Chemie in unserer Zeit, 46(6), 356-364. doi:10.1002/ciuz.201200585.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-6857-3
Diamonds are formed from carbon at high pressures and high temperatures in the inner part of the earth. Doping with very small amounts of boron leads to diamonds with blue colour. Two of the most famous historical blue diamonds, the Wittelsbach and Hope Diamond, were found in the Indian Kollur mine. The latter was brought to Europe by the French gem merchant Tavernier. Today it is displayed in the Smithsonian Institute. The Wittelsbach Diamond was for a long time in the possession of the House Wittelsbach until it was secretly sold in Antwerp in 1951. In 2008, it was purchased by auction by the jeweller Graff who recut the gem. In 2011, it was sold to an unknown buyer. As the Wittelsbach and the Hope diamond share origin and colour, it was assumed for a long time that both are pieces from a larger crystal. By optical investigation it was now shown that they have indeed some similar optical properties, but differ strikingly in other ones. Hence, they cannot originate from the same crystal.