The shield cut is an interesting cut, which looks exactly as the name suggests it should. Shield cut diamonds are slightly triangular in shape, with bowed out or crisp cut edges and top just like a traditional shield. Unlike the baguette, which rarely takes centerstage, the shield cut is unique in that it can fit naturally as an accent stone or as a center stone. Due to its width, it often appears bigger than certain other cuts of the same weight.

There are several subtle variations of a shield cut diamond, which would all be considered “Shield cuts”. Shield cuts are also unique in that they can be faceted differently on the bottom to either appear with more steps or a more brilliant design.

Moussaieff Red Diamond/Red Shield

One of the most important diamonds ever discovered is a shield cut, the Moussaieff Red Diamond (also know as the Red Shield). Weighing in at 5.11ct, the Moussaieff Red Diamond is the world’s largest red diamond (the rarest of all diamond colorings). It was found by a poor Brazilian garimpeiro ( an independent prospector) by the name of Ze Tatu. Like so many other mineral wonders, it is currently housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

The Guinea Star

The Guinea Star is the largest shield cut diamond in existence. Originally coming from a 255 carat piece of rough, the Guinea Star was the largest stone to come out of this rough, weighing 89.01ct. The Guinea Star is a Type IIa diamond, which grades as “D” in color and “IF” in clarity. Interestingly, both the Red Shield and the Guinea Star diamond were cut by William Goldberg.

Sancy Diamond

Given it’s storied history, the Sancy Diamond would probably be considered the “most famous” shield cut diamond in existence (even though technically, it should probably be more qualified as a pear shaped rose cut). The Grand Sancy Diamond (as it is also known) can be traced back to 14th century India, although some attest that it most likely has history within the Persian Empire from even earlier. It is alleged to have been smuggled out of the country by a Venetian diamond cutter. The first known existence of the stone in Europe comes from the dowry of Valentina Visconti, the daughter of the Duke of Milan, in 1389.

The Sancy Diamond eventually ended up in the family of the Dukes of Burgundy for multiple generations. It was believed to bring luck and grant powers of invincibility, which is why it was carried into battle so frequently. Living up to its reputation, the diamond was lost in the Battle of Grandson in 1476, and its owner, Charles the Bold (1433-1477) lost his following two battles.

The stone was then sold to the King of Portugal, where it remained until Phillip II of Spain invaded and made off with the majority of the Portuguese crown jewels. The Sancy Diamond was then sold to Queen Elizabeth I of England who pawned it with a Dutch firm to finance a military campaign.

The diamond was then sold to a well known jewelry collector, Nicholas Harlay de Sancy, who renamed the diamond in 1592. Just a few years later, it was sold to King James I of England in 1604.

The jewel was once again pawned to finance a war in the 1630s, and after losing the war, the stone was redeemed and gifted to King Louis XIV of France, where it stayed in his family until the French Revolution ended the monarchy in 1792. During the revolution, it was stolen, along with so many of the other French Crown jewels, including the Regent Diamond and the Hope Diamond from the royal treasury in Paris.

The storied diamond reappeared once again in 1828 in Florence, where it was sold to Prince Demidov of Russia. It was held in that family until 1865, and then it was sold a few more times in following decades until 1906 when it was purchased by Viscount William Astor, as a wedding gift for his son. The stone remained in their family until it was sold to its final and current home, The Louvre Museum in 1978.


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