His coat worn on the occasion of his reception at the court of
St. James, was all ablaze with brilliants of surprising beauty,
five of these diamonds exceeding the Koh-i-noor in size. His
sword, spurs, and decorations were covered with diamonds,
rubies, and emeralds, while the caparisons of his horses exhibited the same splendid array of sparkling gems.
French Regalia. — It is not easy, nor, perhaps, possible, to
estimate with any approach to accuracy, the relative value of
the crown jewels of different countries. The palm has been
awarded by some writers to France, and by others to Brazil ;
both are exceedingly opulent in gems of various species, some
of which have become renowned for their historical fame.
According to the inventory made in 1791, by order of the
Assembly, the list embraced nearly ten thousand diamonds, and
more than eleven hundred other gems, including pearls, rubies,
sapphires, emeralds, topazes, amethysts, garnets, and others.
The value of all the crown jewels made at the time, was estimated at nearly thirty million francs, or six million dollars, but
a large part of this wealth was lost at the robbery of the Garde
Meuble, soon after. Through the efforts of Napoleon I., on his
accession to power, many of the original gems stolen from the
Garde Meuble were recovered, and a large number of others
were added to the collection, so that by the inventory of 1810,
it presented the astonishing number of more than thirty-seven
thousand specimens. The French crown is computed to contain five thousand two hundred and six brilliants, weighing in
the aggregate nearly two thousand carats, and valued at a fabulous price.
Louis XVIII. and Charles X. added to the royal treasury
great stores of precious stones, swelling their number to nearly
sixty-five thousand, which were estimated in 1849 to be worth
many million dollars.