View Full Version : landmarks on 5th avenue?

August 26th, 2007, 01:19 AM
Are the buildings of Cartier, Versace and the 3 Henri Bendel buildings on 5th ave. protected landmarks? It would be terrible if they weren't and allowing some developer to destroy these beautiful old buildings to make way for another ugly condo or office building!

cartier, versace:


Henri Bendel buildings:


August 26th, 2007, 05:56 AM
The Cartier building is Landmarked.

The Henri Bendel building and it’s neighbors are actually now only shells that form part of the skyscraper built behind them.... so they are protected.

The Versace building was owned by Aristole Onassis and housed the NY offices of his airline, Olympic Airways. Plans included tearing it down as part of the Olympic Tower.
Later the plan was to strip the building and cover it in glass in order to match the Olympic tower. Fortunately this was not done. I don’t know if the building has since been landmarked.

August 26th, 2007, 08:04 AM
According to DOB (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/PropertyProfileOverviewServlet?bin=1035480&requestid=2) the Versace building (647-649 Fifth Avenue) is Landmarked.

The Cartier Building (http://www.thecityreview.com/cartier.html) (651-653 Fifth Avenue) was built between 1902 - 1905 as the home of financier Morton F. Plant. In 1917 the building was bought by Cartier (http://www.cartier.com/en/Boutiques/New_York) for the price of $100.00 -- plus a pearl necklace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Plant_Hospital) for Mrs. Plant said to be valued at an even $1 Million:

In 1917, Mrs. Plant, Mae Caldwell Manwaring (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mae_Caldwell_Manwaring&action=edit), became very fond of a long, rope like string of pearls at Cartier's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartier%27s) in New York City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City). The necklace of perfect pearls was worth $1,000,000. The Plants wanted to move more "uptown" and Cartier's wanted to expand, so a deal was struck - Mrs. Plant received the pearl necklace and Cartier was paid $100 and the couples New York City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City) mansion on Fifth Avenue. The Mansion, or La Maison Cartier (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=La_Maison_Cartier&action=edit), is still in the possession of Cartier's and in the late 1990's underwent restoration. La Maison Cartier (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=La_Maison_Cartier&action=edit) was declared a New York City historic site in the 1970's and in 2003, the corner of Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street was named Place de Cartier.
Mae Caldwell Manwaring Plant Hayward Rovensky passed away in July 1957. Part of the large catalog of items for sale was the perfect strand of pearls received in trade for the mansion on Fifth Avenue. Due to the fact that cultured pearls had been invented after 1917, the $1,000,000 strand only sold for $151,000.

August 26th, 2007, 09:18 AM
The Cartier Building (http://www.thecityreview.com/cartier.html) (651-653 Fifth Avenue) was built between 1902 - 1905 as the home of financier Morton F. Plant ...

Mrs. Plant, Mae Caldwell Manwaring (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mae_Caldwell_Manwaring&action=edit) ...

End of an Avenue

TIME Magazine (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,865681,00.html?promoid=googlep)
Monday, Jan. 21, 1957

On a crackling-cold winter's night three years ago the five-story, 56-room mansion at 1051 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, glittered like a luster chandelier. Inside, the warm pulse of a Cuban orchestra greeted the guests as they were ushered into the tapestried hall, which florists had turned into a bower of blossoming apple trees for the occasion. Last to arrive were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. As he pulled off his overcoat, the black-tied Duke asked if this was a white-tie occasion, then muttered, "Well, it's too damn late to change anyway!" and toddled up the red-carpeted grand staircase.

Lord Nelson's Ghost. In quiet, refined leisure, the evening passed. The dinner party of 40-odd guests proceeded to a pinepaneled dining room after Sir Christopher Wren, where the courses were served on Royal Worcester blue and gold, Chelsea, Derby and Minton porcelain. Then the ladies floated to the French salon on a cloud of chatter, admired the companion-piece oval Boucher paintings as they gossiped. The gentlemen warmed their brandy in the Lord Nelson room, surrounded by Elizabethan paneling that Nelson himself had admired when it was on the walls of a bedroom in the Star Hotel at Great Yarmouth. The party then assembled for music.

When the last guest had departed at 1:30. and the house had become silent, the hostess followed her regular custom. Recalls her personal maid of 20 years: "This was the time she loved best. She would walk around and look at everything again. She used to say: 'It's a lovely house for a party.' "

This was her last grand party. Long ailing, Mrs. Mae Caldwell Manwaring Plant Hayward Rovensky died last July, at 75, in Clarendon Court, her 33-room summer house next door to the Vanderbilts' 23-room "Beaulieu" in Newport, R.I. (She is survived by her fourth husband, John E. Rovensky (http://www.h-net.org/~business/bhcweb/publications/BEHprint/v006/p0001-p0013.pdf), Manhattan financier, whom she married in 1954.) This week her Manhattan house, the last of the fabulous Fifth Avenue mansions to be fully occupied, will go on the block.*

Just to tabulate her possessions, the Manhattan auction house, Parke-Bernet, has published a 313-page illustrated catalogue. Sale of the 1,021 listed items will take two weeks, is expected to bring over $1.000.000. not counting the 167 lots of jewelry. Among the jewels are two of the most famous Oriental pearl necklaces ever assembled, a strand of 55 and another of 73 matched and graduated pearls, which in 1916 Mrs. Rovensky (then Mrs. Plant) received from her multimillionaire husband. Commodore Plant had taken them as payment of $1,000,000 for their house at 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The purchaser: Carder's, whose headquarters were established at the necklace-bought site.

"The Meaning of Wealth."

Before the 52nd Street house was sold Plant called in Architect Guy Lowell, supervising architect of Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, to design the new mansion, including a library of Jacobean carved-oak paneling. To furnish the town house, Antique Dealer Arthur Vernay ransacked his own collection, sent scouts throughout Europe. The result has borne well the test of time. For the jade, Chinese porcelains, 18th-century French furniture, paneling, fixtures. Royal Beauvais tapestries by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, paintings by Watteau, Gainsborough, Lawrence, Romney and Raeburn. The current market will pay back the investment, and more than make up for the toll of inflation.

But as a way of life, the Rovensky mansion, with its deep-sunk. 6½-ft. marble tub serviced with brass swans' neck faucets and the 27-piece George I silver toilet service, is already as surely a thing of the past as the stately English homes for which the objects were first fashioned. Gone is the era in which the lady of the mansion and her good friend Grace Vanderbilt, who lived across 86th Street, would be chauffeured around the block to visit (because a lady went no farther than from her door to the curb on foot).

In the Parke-Bernet auction catalogue the bell tolled for the era: "Here was someone who believed with great sincerity that the social order was immutably secure; that the meaning of wealth . . . was that it should be translated into an environment of beauty and dignity, as its proper appanages; and that once the eye was trained to the pursuit, the appeal of great craftsmanship was irresistible, and its ownership a justification of one's position." Mrs. William Randolph Hearst Sr., a close personal friend of Mrs. Rovensky, put it more simply: "It was one of the most beautiful houses in New York with the most exquisite things in it. It's one of the last great houses, fine houses. It's the end of a wonderful era."

* As the result of a domestic tangle with as many facets as Mrs. Rovensky's life, her estate is being contested by Peter Bennett Plant, 27, the son of Cinemactress Constance Bennett (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constance_Bennett) [star of TOPPER (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029682/), among others]. Miss Bennett claims that her son was born before divorce proceedings were completed against her husband, the late Playboy Philip M. Plant, who was Mrs. Rovensky's son by her first marriage and the adopted son of her second husband, Railroad and Shipping Financier Morton F. Plant. But because Miss Bennett said nothing about the boy until after the divorce proceedings were final, for years claimed that he was adopted. Mrs. Rovensky never officially recognized him as her grandson.


Constance Bennett, wide-eyed prom queen of the jazz age, gold-plated honey of the cinema since 1924's Cytherea (http://www.silentera.com/PSFL/data/C/Cytherea1924.html), scored heavily in her role as a mother. Now 38, she won for her 14-year-old son, Peter Bennett Plant, a $150,000 cut of the estate left by the second of her four husbands. At present the wife of ex-Cinemactor Gilbert Roland, she first married a University of Virginia boy, had the marriage annulled; next married Manhattan playboy Philip Morgan Plant, got a divorce and a $1 million settlement; next married and divorced the high-styled Marquis Henri de la Falaise de la Coudraye.

For more than a decade after she divorced Plant, she claimed she had adopted the baby boy she brought back from abroad. Plant died in 1941; a trust fund of more than a half million dollars was to go to his offspring, if he had any. Recently Constance Bennett declared that her adopted son was really hers and Plant's, born after their divorce, that she had adopted the boy to keep his father from getting custody of him. Last week, when Plant's mother and his show-girl widow were fighting a court battle with Miss Bennett over the trust fund, she promised that if she got to the witness stand she would give a complete account of her life with Plant. The matter was settled out of court. Miss Bennett picked up her baggage and doll and returned to her theatrical mutton.


Commodore Morton Freeman Plant was the son of Connecticut native Henry Bradley Plant who founded the Plant System of railroads, steamship lines and hotels. After his father's passing (1899), Morton and his mother contested Henry's will having learned that each would only receive a paltry $30,000 annuity from an estate worth tens of millions of dollars. In January, 1902 the trust was finally set aside by the Supreme Court of New York, whereupon mother & son began liquidating Plant System properties. The Plant System of railroads (some 2,235 miles) were subsequently sold to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902, and for many years Morton served as a board member. Whereas he did maintain a fashionable residence in New York City, as the New York Times article relates, he never forgot his beloved Connecticut where he and his father hailed from. Morton, always a prominent yactsman, later endowed a new Connecticut College for Women in New London with one million dollars plus provided funds for Blackstone Hall in memory of his mother. He also erected a fabulous, summertime mansion ('Branford House') at Avery Point in Groton, whose grounds now embrace the Avery Point Branch of the University of Connecticut. The Commodore also owned the Shore Line Electric Railway, an interurban trolley line which ran along the Connecticut shoreline. Perhaps his father's great fame and accomplishments will one day be recorded in book form.


1051 Fifth Avenue (http://www.cityrealty.com/condos/profile.cr?bid=1842) (the Rovensky Mansion at 86th Street) was torn down in 1957 to make way for a 20-story multi-family residential building:
"By 1957, when Irving Brodsky purchased the Rovensky mansion (Guy Lowell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Lowell), 1916) at 1051 Fifth Avenue, on the northeast corner of Eighty-sixth Street, as well as the adjoining house at 1053 Fifth Avenue (Herts & Tallant, 1904), and two nineteenth-century townhouses at 1 and 3 East Eighty-sixth Street, Fifth Avenue’s postwar transformation was virtually complete. The Rovensky mansion, a last vestige of the avenue’s gilded era, was still intact and still inhabited by the family that had built it. The house had been designed for the shipping and railroad tycoon Morton F. Plant and his second wife, the former Mae Caldwell Manwaring, who married financier John Rovensky after Plant’s death in 1918," observed Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman in their monumental book, "New York 1960, Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War And The Bicentennial," (The Monacelli Press, 1995).

Guy Lowell
John Singer Sargent -- American painter
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (http://www.jssgallery.org/Paintings/Mugs/Guy_Lowell.htm)
Charcoal on paper***

In the spring of 1954, John Rovensky (http://www.h-net.org/~business/bhcweb/publications/BEHprint/v006/p0001-p0013.pdf), 74, announced he was
retiring as chairman of the board of AC&F. One might say it was
a case of "cherchez la femmes" He spent a month or more in Palm
Beach every winter and there some of the ladies of high society
had a poker club to whose sessions they would occasionally invite
a gentleman or two. One of the poker devotees was a Mrs. Maisie
Cadwell Manwaring Plant Hayward, although she did not use all
those names; she had divorced Manwaring and was the widow of the
other two. Maisie was three years older than John Rovensky, very

wealthy and charming, and lonely. The wealth stemmed from her
second husband, Morton F. Plant of the Southern Express Company
and Atlantic Coastline Railroad, who gave her $5 million as a
wedding present in 1914 and traded their town house in 1916 to
Cartier's for an exquisite oriental pearl necklace for his wife.

That was his style. Despite depressions, wars, and inheritance
taxes, she still had about $16 million when she married John
Rovensky in June of 1954. One condition she exacted was that he
retire. It was an extremely happy marriage and he led a sybaritic
existence; they wintered in Palm Beach; they had a chateaulike
residence in Newport -- it was used in 1955 in the popular
movie, High Society -- and in between they lived in their fivestory
town house on upper Fifth Avenue, served by a staff of 27
servants, or at the Ritz in Paris. 3ohn Rovensky kept a complete
wardrobe in each of these homes. But it all ended in two years
when she died of a heart attack. Her will instructed him to give
about $6 million to charities of his choosing, most of them to
bear her name, for she "did not want to be forgotten." He gave
$115,000 to Lincoln Educational Foundation and it is the income
from this that provides most of the money for the Rovensky Fellowships.
Because his own fortune was, by comparison, quite modest,
he had to dispose of the furnishings, art collection, and jewelry
she had accumulated -- via one of Parke Bernet's finest auctions;
it lasted two weeks. The wreckers' big ball knocked down the
elegant town house so that a large apartment building could be
erected in its place.


... [Cartier's] building (http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=0032h5) was originally owned by Morton F. Plant of the Plant System, and he sold his home on Fifth Avenue and 52nd street to Pierre Cartier for $100 and a $1,000,000 double strand pearl necklace. Unfortunately, after the advent of cultured pearls, the value of the necklace decreased to $151,000 at a 1957 auction.

The Plant house was built in 1905. Plant married Mae Caldwell Manwaring in 1914 when he was 61 and she was 19. Apparently she admired the necklace, they wanted to move uptown and Cartier needed more space. A trade was arranged!


August 26th, 2007, 10:48 AM
Those who rail against wealth often secretly admire it.

(Oh, wealth is OK, but it's wasted on the wealthy.)

August 26th, 2007, 11:30 AM
And then there are those like Mae Caldwell Manwaring Plant Hayward Rovensky who just seem to have knack for locking into the wealth.

I'm trying to find a picture of her. She must have been one helluva beauty.

Constance Bennett wa no slouch in that department either (multiple marriages, a fortune here and there, great beauty):

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0e/ConstanceBennett.jpg (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0e/ConstanceBennett.jpg)

August 26th, 2007, 11:41 AM
... Mae Caldwell Manwaring Plant Hayward Rovensky ...

I'm trying to find a picture of her.

No luck yet, but I did find this (http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000GGQ8DG/002-0637231-2734410?SubscriptionId=0Z93SWFNW16BMHABB2R2):


Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/B000GGQ8DG/002-0637231-2734410?SubscriptionId=0Z93SWFNW16BMHABB2R2)

1 used & new (http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000GGQ8DG/ref=dp_olp_2/002-0637231-2734410) available from $9.95

Book Description

Includes standard sets in fine bindings, important colored plate books, the Ackermann College Series, Angas' "The Kafirs"; The Microcosm of London, Royal Residences and Picturesque Tour of the Seine. A Unique memorial volume of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton; Froissart's "Cronycles"; a rare first edition of La Fontaine's "Contes et Nouvelles" and An Autograph Note. Belonging to The Estate of the Late Mae C. Rovensky. 612 lots in 85 pages; limited b/w photos.

August 26th, 2007, 12:21 PM
Along with those pearls Mae Plant Rovensky seemed to like DIAMONDS (http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/excelsiordiamond.html), too:

... On January 23rd, 1957, a diamond necklace with a pendant, owned by Mrs. John E. Rovensky came up for auction at Parke-Bernet Galleries. The pendant was a pear-shaped diamond weighing approximately 46.50 carats. Since it had originally been purchased from Tiffany's, is there not a distinct possibility that this gem was noneother than the Excelsior III?



TIME Magazine (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,723812,00.html?iid=chix-sphere)
February 04, 1957

With the auction room jammed and an overflow crowd standing at the red velvet barrier rope to be admitted. Manhattan's leading auction house. Parke-Bernet. last week auctioned all but the last of the fabulous contents of the Rovensky Fifth Avenue mansion (TIME, Jan. 21). Bids for the art collection, including $69,000 for a pair of Boucher classic allegories, totaled $1,264,410. Mrs. Rovensky's two Oriental pearl necklaces (which were once exchanged for Carder's present Fifth Ave nue headquarters), now considered to be worth only one-tenth their original value, still brought $181,000. Her 213.1 carat diamond necklace was knocked down to Manhattan Jeweler Julius Furst for $385,000, highest price ever paid for any item at a U.S. auction. By week's end, with the Rovensky library still to be sold, the total auction stood at $2,387,275, an alltime U.S. record.


The Excelsior Diamond

On the evening of June 30th, 1893, an African picked up an immense diamond in a shovel of gravel which he was loading into a truck; he hid it from his overseer and delivered it directly to the hands of the Mine Manager. As a reward he received 500 plus a horse equipped with a saddle and bridle.

The diamond weighed 971 old carats, equivalent to 995.2 metric carats. It possessed the forementioned blue-white color charateristic of the finest Jagersfontein diamonds, especially cleavages, and was of very fine quality, although there were a number of internal black spots, another Jagersfontein characteristic. The shape of the stone was out of the ordinary: flat on one side and rose to a peak on the other, somewhat like a loaf of rye bread. Apparently this is what inspired the diamond to be named 'Excelsior', meaning higher.

... After prolonged study it was decided to first cleave the diamond into ten pieces: this operation which was performed by Mr. A. Asscher, resulting in the three largest pieces weighing 158, 147 and 130 carats. The polishing was supervised by Henry Koe and yielded 21 gems, ranging from 70 carats to less than 1 carat. They totalled 373.75 carats which represented a loss in weight of almost 63 percent. The final result, however, was considered to have been better than anyone had expected. The specifications of the larger gems cut from the Excelsior are as follows:

(metric carats)

Excelsior I ... 69.68 carats ... pear shape
Excelsior II ... 47.03 carats ... pear shape
Excelsior III ... 46.90 carats ... pear shape (the Rovensky?)
Excelsior IV ... 40.23 carats ... marquise
Excelsior V ... 34.91 carats ... pear shape
Excelsior VI ... 28.61 carats ... marquise
Excelsior VII ... 26.30 carats ... marquise
Excelsior VIII ... 24.31 carats ... pear shape
Excelsior IX ... 16.78 carats ... pear shape
Excelsior X ... 13.86 carats ... pear shape
Excelsior XI ... 9.82 carats ... pear shape


Famous Diamonds -- The Taylor-Burton Diamond (http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/taylor-burtondiamond.html)

... The previous record for a jewel had been $305,000 for a diamond necklace from the Rovensky estate in 1957. A diamond, known as the Rovensky (actually thought to possibly be the Excelsior III Diamond), attached to the necklace weighed approximately 46.50 carats. It appeared in an article about diamonds in the April 1958 issue of National Geographic magazine, along with the Niarchos, (http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/niarchosdiamond.html) Nepal, and Tiffany Yellow. (http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/tiffanyyellowdiamond.html)


August 26th, 2007, 12:33 PM
Mae and her last husband, John E. Rovensky, lived in Newport, RI at Clarendon Court (http://www.quahog.org/attractions/index.php?id=43). After Mae's death John donated some property across the way to the city of Newport -- it is now Rovensky Park (http://wikimapia.org/4943781/Rovensky_Park).

Clarendon Court (http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/compress/2005/435/04.htm) was subsequently the home of Sunny and Claus Von Bulow -- and it was there that Sunny was discovered lying in a coma on the bathroom floor. This saga is the basis for the film Reversal of Fortune (http://us.imdb.com/Title?0100486).

http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/compress/2005/435/jpeg/04.jpg (http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/2005/435/jpeg/04.jpg)

August 26th, 2007, 02:55 PM
Thanks for all the replies and info. I'm very happy to hear that all of those buildings are landmarked and protected , especially the Henri bendels. They are my favorite little group townhomes in NYC. :)

August 28th, 2007, 09:56 AM
Along with those pearls Mae Plant Rovensky seemed to like DIAMONDS (http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/excelsiordiamond.html), too ...

Miners unearth world's biggest diamond

The 203 carat Millennium Star is the
second biggest flawless diamond.
The newly found stone could
produce a stone even bigger.

South African find is twice as big as the Cullinan
Expert predicts feverish bidding on huge stone

The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/southafrica/story/0,,2157446,00.html)
David Beresford in Johannesburg and Lee Glendinning
August 28, 2007

The world's biggest diamond, believed to be twice the size of the Cullinan, has been discovered in the North-West Province of South Africa. The find has electrified the diamond community, but the circumstances of the discovery are shrouded in mystery.

The diamond is expected to attract furious bidding from buyers worldwide and could fetch up to 15m.

A spokesman for the mining house which made yesterday's find, Brett Joli, said the diamond was being rushed to a bank vault in Johannesburg and would be kept there for a couple of days "until we calm down and decide what we are going to do". A security company was being hired to protect the precious stone.

The mining company which made the find has not been identified.

The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation said the stone was said to be twice the size of the Cullinan diamond.

Fred Cuellar, the founder of Diamond Cutters International and author of How to Buy a Diamond, said he first heard about the find a few days ago. "I get a phone call when any rare stone around the world is found and when I heard about this one it was stunning news.

"It caught everybody in the diamond industry offside. There will be a lot of mad bidding from a lot of private individuals as to who is going to buy this stone."

The Cullinan, which was found near Pretoria more than a century ago, was until recently acknowledged to be the largest cut diamond in the world, weighing in at 530.20 carats. In 1985 it lost the record to the Golden Jubilee, which was found in the same mine as the Cullinan and weighed 545.67 carats.

In its rough state the Cullinan weighed 3,106.75 carats. It now forms part of King Edward's sceptre and is in the Tower of London.

The Cartier diamond, famous as a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor, weighed a mere 240.80 carats rough and 69.42 carats cut.

Mr Cuellar said the most important information about the latest find was yet to be forthcoming, including whether it is colourless. "The reported size of the stone is accurate, but there are all these other factors we still don't know and what matters now is how wide, how clear and how well cut it will be.

"Will this diamond rank above the best quality diamonds in the world? I can tell you right now, no. But in as far as the list of the largest diamonds ever found in the world goes, would it make that list? Yes it would."

He said the first seven people who looked at the stone thought it was industrial grade, but that view has changed and it now appears to be a stone that will be cut into a piece of jewellery.

The quandary facing the owner of the diamond now is how best to cut the stone he said. "The thinking usually is with these types of things, we know how big we could get it but we don't know how much it will hurt us on the quality side."

The Cullinan, also known as the Star of Africa, was thought by some to be part of a larger stone which still lies somewhere undiscovered.

There will be interest in who made the find and how they will be rewarded. The black miner who discovered the Excelsior, said to be the second largest uncut diamond ever found, received a horse and saddle, and a sum of money.

Rock stars

The Cullinan Diamond was discovered in 1905 and at 3,106 carats was the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found. Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa - at 530 carats formerly the largest cut diamond - was one of the 105 gems cut from it.

The Koh-i-noor is part of the British crown jewels. It originated in India but seized by Britain as a spoil of war in 1849. The diamond supposedly brings good luck to female owners and misfortune or death to any male who wears or owns it.

The Hope Diamond is a large (45.52 carat), deep blue diamond. It is legendary for the curse it supposedly puts on whoever possesses it. Previous owners include Kings Louis XV and XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Guardian Unlimited Guardian News and Media Limited 2007