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 Post subject: Germany's Reaction to Graff's Bavarian Crown Jewel Recutting
PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:57 pm 
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Here is a very interesting article in English by the most important German news magazine "Der Spiegel" about the recutting of the famous Wittelsbach blue diamond by London jeweler Graff:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1 ... 40,00.html

Enjoy!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:29 am 
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Fig,

Thank you for the link to this very interesting article that voices about what most of us are actually thinking.
I can see why a lot of people are upset that a part of their history and a country's patrimony has been lost and transformed probably mainly in the name of greed.
It is also interesting to see the grandiose renaming the stone the Graff-Wittelsbach diamond. Power trip? Some arrogance maybe?
A great loss and sadness certainly!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:13 pm 
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Hi lyrik,

got out my champagne and hereby rename the stone to the
Fig-Wittelsbach Megadiamond. :smt002

Please be sure to refer to the stone's correct name from now on in your posts. 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:50 pm 
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Fig,


I love the new name: Fig-Wittelsbach Megadiamond. LOL! LOL!!!! If my old brain can remember such a fancy name...

Have some pitty, this would be its third name in a matter of month, how do you expect the poor stone to get used to it and to remember its own name?

Cheers! I will have some champagne with you.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:09 am 
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This seems a bit silly to me. The diamond probably would have been "properly" cut back in the day if they had known how. Isn't it called the Wittelsbach after some man? Why can his name be attached but not the new owner? :roll:

Wonder if these are the same type of people who complained when the Sistine Chapel was finally cleaned of all those years of smoke and the true beauty was revealed?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:14 am 
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Morning Dove wrote:
This seems a bit silly to me. The diamond probably would have been "properly" cut back in the day if they had known how. Isn't it called the Wittelsbach after some man? Why can his name be attached but not the new owner? :roll:

Wonder if these are the same type of people who complained when the Sistine Chapel was finally cleaned of all those years of smoke and the true beauty was revealed?


It's more like repainting the Sistine Chapel with modern washable latex, or deciding Mt Vernon would look great blues and greens instead of white and black.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:23 am 
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Lisa Elser wrote:
It's more like repainting the Sistine Chapel with modern washable latex, or deciding Mt Vernon would look great blues and greens instead of white and black.


Hey Lisa, i think your example fits perfectly, IMHO, :smt023
MoDo, we're not talking about "restoring" here, we're talking about "modify".

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:00 am 
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Thank you Lisa and Alberto.

I love your analogy Lisa.
It is precisely a piece of history, part of the crown jewels of the Wittesbach that has been altered for ever. This is by no means a restoration.
This being said it is not for me to juge whether or not it is right or wrong to have recut the stone but the fact remains that this historical diamond is lost as we knew it and we can't go back.
From a historical point of view it is a loss so of course it brings up feelings
and opens a debate about the ethics of recutting or altering such a major historical diamond.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:13 am 
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Morning Dove,

Maybe it would be interesting for you to google the Wittelsbach dynasty.
You could say it is just a name but it a name with quite a historical significance hence the debate about the alteration of their most important gemstone.
It was once the royal family of Bavaria (at least as early as 1180 and until 1918), a major European kingdom et some point in history that gave 2 Holly Roman Emperors, one king of Hungary, one king to Denmark and Norway among others... They were also related to all the major European royal families.
I am not sure that Mr. Graff will be as relevant in the history of the world or remembered for as long if not for his name being now attached to the Wittelsbach dynasty.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:54 am 
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I guess I just don't really care about all the "royal" people who owned it. This diamond is a commodity ... it was passed back and forth and was supposedly used as a dowry (a nice way of saying a pay-off) for someone to marry Spanish King Philips' daughter. It only came to Bavaria through marriage.

Then this "historically significant" diamond was put up for sale by the Wittelsbach family with no takers. Obviously, they considered it a commodity at that time.

Graff was able to purchase the diamond ... it's now his to do with as he pleases. He could have taken it into an alley and crushed it if he wished. The provenance is still there, it's just on a new path. Sort of like the Hope diamond. It, too, was re-cut a couple of times and changed hands often.

My 2.654 cents ... yours will, of course, be different :P

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:25 am 
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MoDo raises some valid points.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:27 am 
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Morning Dove wrote:
I guess I just don't really care about all the "royal" people who owned it. This diamond is a commodity ... it was passed back and forth and was supposedly used as a dowry (a nice way of saying a pay-off) for someone to marry Spanish King Philips' daughter. It only came to Bavaria through marriage.


Hi Modo,

I guess I am wondering how you would feel if important parts of the US's patrimony were sold off and altered? People screamed when companies started renaming sports stadiums! I owned a house in a historically protected village in the states, and was told what alterations could be made and what colours I could paint it. That seemed perfectly reasonable to me since changing my house would damage the feel of the village.

I don't really care how pretty the new diamond is, it is an important historical and cultural artifact that was destroyed for profit. Makes me sad as a gemologist and as someone who's spent big chunks of her life and has most of her family in southern Germany.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:39 am 
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Modo,

It’s a FACT that the “diamond was put up for sale by the Wittelsbach family with no takers.”

It’s a FACT that “Graff was able to purchase the diamond”

It’ a FACT that, as the owner of the diamond he “He could have taken it into an alley and crushed it if he wished”

THAT SAID.

It ‘s a FACT that I and someone else FAR more relevant than me in the gemological community feels frustrated about modifying an historical gem like that... :?

It's a FACT that some people will be angry forever with Graff for that reason....

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:55 am 
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Most of America's "treasures" belong to the people and are not for sale.

If someone does have a piece of history in their possession, they are free to do with it as they wish. (As long as this country values personal property rights.) As to private real estate on the National Registry ... I find that rather repugnant. If I buy something I should have the sole rights to said item. If I want to paint my house purple with yellow dots, such is my right. Of course, if I want to get along with my neighbors I'd be an idiot to do so :P .

That said, though ... if you choose to buy a house in a historic district you understand the restrictions and requirements. Either observe those or purchase your home elsewhere.

Just MHO 8)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:39 pm 
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Well then think of some of these gemologists as you would those angry neighbours.

The Sistine Chapel is a god example. Another would have been the idea of selling the Eiffel Tower for scrap metal which was once almost a reality. Or adding Borat to the faces on Mount Rushmore if a production company bought the land.

Sure, people that have ownership might legally be able to do these alterations and even profit out of them, but at the risk of destroying the very reasons for them being famous or well regarded in the first place. The act of re-cutting the stone cemented Graff's clear belief that the diamond should be judge because of its value as a commodity, and nothing else. Otherwise there would have been no concern over acquiring an improved colour grade.

The re-cutting of the hope is actually part of its history and even provenance given the stones interesting and adventurous past and the legends attached to it. Were it not for the events surrounding its owners since the re-cut, it might well also be considered something of an historical abomination.


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