Couronne Louis XV

The Crown of Louis XV is the sole surviving crown from the French ancien regime among the French Crown Jewels.

Until the beginning of the 18th century French kings wore plain crowns unembellished with precious stones. This was changed by King Louis XV in 1722, when he had a new crown created, which he had embellished with diamonds from the Royal Collection. He wore it at his coronation.

The new crown was made by Laurent Ronde, the French Crown jeweller. It originally contained collection of Mazarin Diamonds and the famous 'Regent' diamond,(1) which was set in the front of the crown, as well as hundreds of other precious diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

All of France's older crowns were lost, stolen or destroyed during the French revolution. The crown of Louis XV was the only one to survive.

In 1885 the French Third Republic decided to sell the Crown Jewels. Given its historic importance, the crown of Louis XV was kept, though its precious stones were replaced by glass.

It is on permanent display in the Louvre museum in Paris.

(1) Regent Diamond: The gem was sold to Philip II, Duke of Orleans in 1717, then Regent of France, for about $650,000; since that time, it has been known as the Regent Diamond. It was set in the crown of Crown of Louis XV and worn at his coronation in February, 1723. Removed from the crown, it was worn by Queen Marie Leczinska in her hair. Two generations later, when the French Crown Jewels were adorned the Royal Family in many different kinds of personal ornaments, Marie Antoinette used the Regent to adorn a large black-velvet hat.

The coveted gem disappeared, together with the equally famous Sancy and French Blue (from which the Hope was cut), when the Garde Meuble (Royal Treasury) was robbed of it's fabulous jewels in 1792, during the early part of the Revolution. Some of the gems were soon recovered, but the Regent could not at first be traced. After fifteen months, however, it was found, having been secreted in a hole under the timberwork of a Paris garret.

In 1797, the great gem was pledged for money that helped Napolean in his ride to power. He had in mounted in the hilt of his sword that he carried at his coronation in 1804. When Napolean went into exile in Elba in 1814, Marie Louisa, his second wife, carried the Regent to the Chateau of Blois. Later, however, her father, Emperor Francis I of Austria, returned it to France and it again became part of the French Crown Jewels.

In 1825, Charles X wore the Regent at his coronation; it remained in the Royal Crown until the time of Napolean III. Then, a place was made for it in a Greek diadem designed for Empress Eugenie.

Many of the French Crown Jewels were sold at auction in 1887, but the Regent was reserved from the sale and exhibited at the Louvre amoung the national treasures. In 1940, when the Germans invaded Paris, it was sent to the chateau country, this time to Chambord, where it was secreted behind a stone panel. After the War, it was returned to Paris and put on display in the Apollon Gallery of the Louvre Museum. It was one of the features of the Ten Centuries of French Jewelry exhibition at the Museum in 1962. An alternate name sometimes used is the Millionaire Diamond.
Source: DIAMONDS - Famous, Notable and Unique

France Moderne

de Brantigny

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