Good and Bad Diamonds in Seventeenth-Century Europe

  • Marcia Pointon
Part of the Europe's Asian Centuries book series (EAC)


Laske is the most common Indian cut. Europeans regarded these irregular shaped diamonds as inferior to rose or brilliant cuts. Described as flat tablets cut from cleavage pieces, criticism intensified after the Koh-i-noor was exhibited in 1851. Laskes were set in diplomatic gifts and used to cover miniatures. Among importers in the seventeenth century there was no consensus. The Cholmleys, importing for a commercial market, found laskes more expensive than rough stones; they sought small rough stones with good colour and clear water. By contrast, the diamonds imported by Flemish and Portuguese merchants and stolen in 1631 contained a majority of laskes and many laskes were acquired for the French crown. From the end of the seventeenth century laskes were re-cut to satisfy European taste.


Laske Diamond cuts Cholmleys Diplomatic gifts Commerce Flemish merchants Portuguese merchants French crown 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcia Pointon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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