Istanbul; the hectic city with full of myths and legends.


One of the world's biggest diamonds (86 carat; 17 gram, pear shaped) is on display in Topkapi Palace, amongst the ancient chests, books, maces and various other priceless jewelry and no one has a clear idea about how this piece reached to its final destination.


Although Sultan IV. Mehmet had a ring named Spoonmaker's Diamond, this stone is only 10–12 g (50–60 carats), which is much smaller than the present Spoonmaker's Diamond.


Legends are still circulating, having become part of the Turkish popular culture and being repeated by tourist guides, and in printed guide books.

Let's take a look at 5 different theories:


1. Poor Fisherman and 3 Spoons

First tale is about a poor fisherman wandering around in Istanbul without any money.
He finds an incredibly shining stone on the shore of Yenikapi, not knowing what it is. After carrying it in his pocket for few days, he decides to show the stone to a jeweler. And that jeweler tells the poor fisherman that it is just a piece of glass, but he can take it anyway by paying him 3 spoons. He takes the spoons and leaves the enormous treasure behind. It is said that the diamond is sold to a vizier after that and made its way to Topkapi Palace. Hence, the diamond is named after the 3 spoons that poor fisherman got.

2. Ali Pasha and Kira Vassiliki
Second tale's hero is the well-known Ali Pasha; the independent Ottoman governor of Albania and Greece in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
The Spoonmaker's Diamond is asserted to have been in Ali Pasha's possession for some time before arriving at the Ottoman Capital. It is said that, it even had been worn by one of the Ali Pasha's favorite wives: Kira Vassiliki.
It might have passed to Sultan's hands, after the execution of Ali Pasha or it might have been a part of a deal he made with the Ottoman Government.

3. Captain Camus and Napoleon's Mother

The third tale is a widespread one which is related to Napoleon's mother and his lover Captain Camus. In 1797, Preveza was occupied by France under the command of Napoleon I's General La Salchette. However, in the battle (Battle of Nicopolis, 1798) Ali Pasha commanding 7000 Albanian and Turkish warriors has won a great victory and French and Greek soldiers kept as prisoners and massacred on the streets of Ali Pasha's capital Ionnia. Nine French officers were sent on to Sultan III. Selim, among them there was Captain Camus de Richemont.

Camus remained in captivity till 1801. It is said that Camus was the lover of Napoleon I's mother Letizia Ramolino. After receiving the bad news, Letizia sent a very "Big Diamond" to Preveza as a present for the Sultan, with the expectation of her lover's liberation. The diamond went from Preveza to Ioannina (presumably, in Ali Pasha's custody) and then to Istanbul.
Finally, Captain Camus and other French soldiers had been liberated, while the diamond remained in Topkapi Palace, in possession of Sultan Selim III and his successors.

4. Is It the Pigot Diamond ?

Spoonmaker's diamond is the same as the Pigot Diamond, which was at one time the largest diamond in England. However; there is no track of it after it left England in the 1820s. There are various legends about the Pigot Diamond, which imply that Spoonmaker's diamond is the Pigot Diamond and casted with the 49 brilliant cut diamonds by Ali Pasha's or Sultan II Mahmut's men.

5. Which Sultan first got the diamond?

In 1798, Preveza was captured by Ali Pasha and Sultan Selim III got the diamond around 1798-1799. Sultan III Selim was killed by group of assassins in the Janissary revolt in 1808. In 1822 and Ali Pasha was killed and the diamond was passed into the hands of Sultan II Mahmut.
If we look at all these legends, one might conclude that either Sultan III Selim or Sultan II Mahmut got the diamond; due to the fact that the diamond arrived Istanbul either through Napoleon’s mother or Ali Pasha. However, if the "Poor Fisherman" version is the real story behind the diamond, this means that the diamond has probably arrived much earlier to the Palace, probably in 1800-1801.

Source: Wikipedia