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The Russian Portrait

Jul 18th, 2013

The Russian Portrait

Sometimes called the Tablet Stone, this thin, flat stone is an irregular pear shape weighing around 27 carat. Once among the famed Russian Crown Jewels, it is now in the Russian Diamond Fund in the Krelmin set in a Gothic-style bracelet. It is rumored that the diamond is truly mirror-like, reflecting the beholder.

Also known as lasque, a portrait is a an ancient Indian shape- a type of table-cut diamonds, the simple diamond cut developed by cutters, in keeping with the basic  tools, techniques, and materials available at that time. The original table shapes had a few flat facets, usually cuboidal in shape and without a culet. Examples of such table-cut diamonds are the famous “Grand Table” diamond, the “Dary-i-Nur”, and the “Shah Jahaan Table-Cut” diamond. With the passage of time a culet was introduced on one side, but the large rectangular or square-shaped upper table surface was retained. Such diamonds are cut in the form of a very thin slab or sheet, of different shapes such as rectangular, square, pear, etc. with a polished upper and lower surface, and simple facets on the sides. Such diamonds were used to cover miniature paintings and therefore came to be known as portrait diamonds.

The Russian Portrait diamond covers a miniature portrait of Czar Alexander I, who reigned between 1801 and 1825. It is a thin flat pear-shaped diamond, with dimensions of 40 x 29 mm and weighs approximately 27 carats. It is said to be the largest portrait diamond in the world.


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