All about the Dresden Green Diamond

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Even Bennifer’s strength couldn’t make his new green diamond the most famous green diamond in the world, even after the bubble bath reveal. Her 8.5-carat modified cushion-cut brilliant-cut green diamond engagement ring may have introduced many around the world to the very idea that diamonds can be green, but the world’s most famous green diamond? Not yet. That title stands firm with a 41-carat stone in the center of a hatpin inside the Green Vault in Dresden.

It is rightly called the green diamond of Dresden. If you’ve been following the Lopez-Affleck engagement announcement, you’ve already heard about the rarity of green diamonds. Finding one at 8.5 carats, as Affleck did, is almost a miracle, so imagine how valuable 41 carats would be.

But the Dresden Green has more to its legend than its hue. It is believed to have been mined in the historic mines of Golconda in India. The diamonds of this legendary place are prized for their transparency and their purity (it is the lack of nitrogen in their composition). The mine has been extinct for centuries but its stones remain highly sought after, the jeweler’s equivalent of a Van Gogh. The Dresden Green also carries with it the depth of history and the triumph of surviving several twists of fate.

It was first discovered by a British merchant in 1722 and, according to custom, presented to King George. It seems he wasn’t interested, as The Dresden Green instead ended up at the Royal Court of Saxony and became part of the Golden Fleece Emblems. Around this time, notices of a greenstone appeared in a London newspaper with a price attached that was said to be worth around $7 million, or four tons of gold.

Frederick the Great of Prussia took his attention to it and decided it would look rather splendid worn on his hat, so diamonds were added and it was set like a pin – that’s how it remains visible today in the Dresden Green Vault, where it has been for almost three hundred years, almost without interruption, but not without drama. It was briefly captured by the Soviets during World War II. It made a brief trip to the United States via Harry Winston and was exhibited alongside the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian. But back in Dresden, it was still fine. (This is starting to sound familiar, isn’t it?)

In November 2019, she made a rare trip to New York where she was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And it was there at the Met on November 25 when thieves broke into the Dresden Green Vault and stole countless historical treasures (they have since been apprehended but the jewels remain at large). They were undoubtedly in search of the most priceless gem of all, the largest of such a gem in the world. But the Dresden Green Diamond was safe, out of sight, far, far away. He was safely brought back to where he always belonged.

It’s a twist of fate that almost feels like a love story, isn’t it?

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