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[Tidbits] Three Spoons for a Diamond

Imagine if you will a large diamond. A Pear Shape in fact. 86 carats
in weight. The year: Sometime before 1680.

I digress. Ake… a Turkish coin emanating in time back to the
Ottoman Empire. Worth by today’s standards $119.00. Back in 1800 it
would have been worth about $9.40. Back in the late 1600’s… and I
extrapolate loosely here… I would say around $0.80.

So what kind of man goes about rummaging through rubbish? A poor
man? A frugal man? A wise man perhaps… who is also a gambler …
and who knows people throw things away of more value than they could
ever guess at. And maybe even… a combination of all three. A poor,
frugal, wise, gamblin’ man who knows garbage ain’t never garbage if
there’s a diamond lurking within its folds.

And this is exactly what happened way back then. Sadly… the poor,
frugal, wise, gamblin’ man didn’t know what he had. Upon his
discovery he went forthwith to his local ironmonger–where else does
one go with an 86 carat diamond–who gave the man three spoons for
the stone. Three spoons. Ye gads. One might think the ironmonger was
a shrewd businessman. But nay nay my friends. He was a dolt. He let
the stone lay among his doo-dads for a while till a local jeweler
saw it and bought it for ten ake. That was about $8.00 back then.

So now who’s the shrewd one? The jeweler… right? Nay again. The
jeweler was a dummy-head. The diamond was shown to the Head Jeweler
who gave the lesser jeweler and a friend of his a small purse full
of ake. So how many ake can you fit in a small purse? 20? 30? Twenty
four bucks at the max for this 86 carat diamond.

Ah… but now the smart ones step in. His Eminence… the Grand
Vizier Mustafa Pasha becomes aware of the stone and decided to buy it
from the Head Jeweler. Alas… before the transaction could take
place… the Sultan–in one of what must surely have been a moment of
rest and relaxation from his Harem–gets wind of the diamond and
demands that it be brought to the palace after which he takes
possession of the stone.

The Head Jeweler is rewarded for his troubles by being promoted to
gatekeeper–titles and prestige are worth more than rubies and pearls
I always say. Anybody out there remember The Rich Maharajah of
Magador? He was also given a number of small purses of ake. We’re
talking big bucks here now folks.

As to that 86 carat diamond that was originally purchased for three
spoons… well… believe it or not… it was ultimately named the
Spoonmaker’s Diamond. Appropriate… eh wot? And it became and is
now the most famous of the historical diamonds in the Imperial
Treasury. Ah… who woulda thunk it?

For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits… click it… and you will see represented on
our pages the Spoonmaker’s Diamond which presently resides at the
Topkapi Palace.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark