Everyone loves a good mystery. Throw in glamorous players, far-away locales, and of course, exquisite and stunning gems, and you have a story that will garner rapt attention.
But, these aren’t just stories, they are open investigations, dedicated recovery missions and extensive inquiries for the most famous and well-known diamonds that the world has ever produced.
While we are lucky that some of these stones are on display for our enjoyment, or even for sale, some have simply vanished and their whereabouts unknown. All we can do is wait for them to pop up at auction some time.
Famous diamonds always do.
THE EAGLE DIAMOND
A surprise discovery…a great jewel robbery…a Manhattan titan of industry…an unexplained mystery.
The history of the Eagle Diamond is as intriguing as they come.
In 1876, Charles Woods was digging a well on land he was renting in Eagle, Wisconsin. He came across a 16 carat stone he thought was quartz or topaz because of its smoky, warm sunny color. He kept the stone for several years, until his family came on hard times and was forced to sell the stone to Samuel Boyton of Milwaukee for $1. Boyton soon had the stone appraised in Chicago and was shocked to discover it was a real diamond. He then promptly sold the diamond to a New York jeweler for $850.
After World War I, J.P. Morgan purchased the stone and donated it to the Museum of Natural History in New York City. From there, it became part of one of the greatest jewel robberies of all time.
On October 29, 1964, Jack Murphy, known as Murph the Surf, and two accomplices made a daring robbery of the old Morgan Memorial Hall, escaping with the Star of India, the DeLong Star Ruby, the Midnight Star, the Schettler Emerald, and many other stones and diamonds. However, their bravado would prove to be their downfall; an early arrest led to the return of most of the notable stones. Unfortunately, all of the diamonds, including the re-cut 14 carat Eagle Diamond, was never seen again. Experts believe the stone was re-cut and sold into small diamonds, hypothesized that the Eagle diamond no longer exists.
But therein lays another mystery. At the time of the stone’s discovery, it was the largest diamond ever recovered in the United States, in a location that does not produce natural diamonds. Experts believe the diamond was transported to southeastern Wisconsin by glaciers during the Ice Ages, but unfortunately, that theory will never be explored because the disappearance of the diamond makes it impossible to determine its actual point of origin.
A heritage permanently lost.
Image and information courtesy of the American Natural History Museum of New York City.