What You Didn’t Know About the Spoon-Maker's Diamond

The Spoon-maker's diamond also known as the ‘Kasikci Elmasi’ in the Turkish language – it is the renowned diamond of the Topkapi Palace Museum associated with the former Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The stone gets its name from the tradition that the diamond was acquired by a spoon-maker in exchange for three spoons from a poor fisherman, or that the person who first found the diamond was a spoon-maker. Another probable source for the name is that the diamond resembled the shape of a spoon.

What You Didn’t Know About the Spoon-Maker's Diamond

The Spoon-maker's diamond is an 86-carat, pear-shaped, D-color stone - mounted as the center piece of a special setting in the museum, surrounded by two rows of 49 old mine-cut diamonds. This amazing setting features the beauty of the diamond, giving it the appearance of a full moon surrounded by stars, lighting the night sky. The entire setting is displayed in a glass case on the wall of one of the rooms in the treasury.

Being a D-color diamond, the Spoon-maker's diamond is a Type IIa diamond, which constitute about 1-2 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. Type IIa diamonds are known to be the "purest of the pure" of all diamonds, because they are free of the common Nitrogen impurities found in Type I diamonds, which constitute almost 98 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. Being free of impurities and having perfectly formed crystals without any plastic deformations, type IIa diamonds are completely colorless.

Several stories are told about the Spoon-maker's Diamond. According to one tale, a poor fisherman in Istanbul near Yenikapi was wandering idly, empty-handed along the shore when he found a shiny stone among the litter, which he turned over one over not knowing what it was. After carrying it about in his pocket for a few days, he stopped by the jewelers Market, showing it to the first jeweler he encountered. The jeweler took a casual glance at the stone and appeared disinterested, saying "It's a piece of glass, take it away if you like, or if you like I'll give you three spoons. You brought it all the way here, at least let it be worth your trouble". So what was the poor fisherman supposed to do with this piece of glass? So the fisherman took the spoons, and left the huge treasure. It is for this very reason they say that the diamond's name became the "Spoon-maker's Diamond". According to another tale though, the person finding the diamond was in fact a spoon-maker; or another belief is that the diamond was given this name because it resembled the bowl of a spoon. Even today it is not known how exactly this diamond ended up at the Ottoman Palace, who it was obtained from or how. Although a ring stone called the Spoon-maker's Diamond which belonged to Sultan Mehmet IV appears listed in museum records, this stone along with its gold is only 10 to 12 grams that is much smaller than the actual Spoon-maker's Diamond.

While the experts still try to figure out the diamond’s true origin, a new story has begun to be told in the last few years. As it turns out, in 1774 a French officer by the name of Pigot purchased a diamond from the Maharajah of Madras and brought it to France. After changing a number of hands, the diamond was put up for sale at auction, in which Napoleon's mother purchased it and wore it for a long time. However, when Napoleon was sent into exile, his aged mother put the diamond up for sale in order to be able save her son.

One of Tepedelenli Ali Pasa's men, who was in France at the time, bought the diamond on the Pasa's behalf for 150 thousand gold pieces, bringing it back and handing it over. During the reign of Mahmud II, Tepedelenli Ali Pasa was killed on allegations of rebelling against the State, and his treasure was confiscated. The whole lot of precious jewelry was moved to the Ottoman Treasury, during the course of which the diamond purchased from Napoleon's mother, subsequently becoming famous as the Spoon-maker's Diamond, also entered the Treasury.

It is known that the stone called in France the ‘Pigot Diamond’- which was purchased by Tepedelenli Ali Pasa's men - was 86 carets. And, the Spoon-maker's Diamond in the Treasury of Topkapi Museum is also 86 carets. Therefore, now it is believed the given the facts, the world-renowned Pigot diamond must be the Spoon-maker's Diamond in Topkapi.

In fact, among the world's 22 famous diamonds, the 191 caret diamond known as the Koh-I-nur - Mountain of Light - was found in India and is today in the British Royal Treasury. The diamond known as the Derya-i-nur or Sea of Light is held today in the National Bank of Iran. The Southern Star diamond of 128 carats found in Brazil in 1853, the Grand Mongol Diamond, and the Pigot or our Spoon-maker's Diamond are among these 22 diamonds.

In the opinion of the experts the two rows of 49 brilliant's surrounding the Spoon-marker's Diamond were added later. These 49 brilliants were ordered arranged either by Tepedelenli Ali Pasa, or by Mahmud II. Also, these brilliants provide an additional beauty to the Spoon-maker's Diamond as well as increase its value.

The gold, the silver, the rubies, the emeralds of the Topkapi Palace Treasury notwithstanding, the Spoon-maker's Diamond, has drawn the adoring, amazed looks of countless favorites, queens and mothers of sultans. A masterpiece of immortal beauty even today sits alone in its case, glowing - like a bouquet of light.

Have you heard anything else about this famous Spoon-maker's Diamond? We would love to hear about it, so please share your thoughts on this in the comments below.

Feedback/Comments 0

Add a comment

Posting comment as guest.
If you already have an account, please LOGIN.
If not, you may consider creating one. It’s FREE!