The collection

The Arcot II Diamond

India, circa 1760; modified 1959 and 2011.
Brilliant-cut, pear-shaped, grade D internally flawless, type IIa. Weight 17.21 ct.

This historical, brilliant-cut Golconda stone is named after Muhammed Ali Wallajah, Nawab of Arcot, who was a firm British ally during the Anglo-French conflicts of the mid-eighteenth century. He gave two pear-shaped diamonds to Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, who had them set as pendant earrings. She bequeathed the Arcots - as they came to be known - to her four unmarried daughters who would have received little funding from the British crown. However at the time of her death in 1818, they were taken by her son, the Prince Regent, and in 1821, when he ascended to the throne as George IV, he had them mounted in his crown. Only in 1837 were they sold as directed by the former queen. The Arcots were acquired by the Marquess of Westminster, set in a family tiara, and later sold by a descendant in 1959.