The Francillon Memo

Image of a page from the Francillon memo with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.

Image of a page from the Francillon memo with a drawing of what appears to be the Hope Diamond.

One of the most unique and important articles in the USGS Libraries collections is a document called the Francillon Memo. This simple memo was written in September of 1812 by John Francillon, a jeweler practicing in London, England. The Francillon Memo includes a hand-colored trace outline of what we know today as the Hope Diamond.

The Francillon Memorandum says: “The above drawing is the exact size and shape of a very curious superfine deep blue Diamond. Brilliant cut, and equal to a fine deep blue Sapphire. It is beauty full and all perfection without specks or flaws, and the color even and perfect all over the Diamond. I traced it round the diamond with a pencil by leave of Mr. Daniel Eliason and it is as finely cut as I have ever seen in a Diamond. The color of the Drawing is as near the color of the Diamond as possible. Dated: 19th September, 1812. John Francillon, No. 29 Norfolk Street, Strand, London.”

The Francillon Memo was discovered by George Frederick Kunz in a 1768 book by Pouget cataloging the French Royal jewelry. Also included in the book is other evidence placing the stone that would become the Hope Diamond in England in 1812. The memo and other drawings remain in the Pouget book today, kept in the Rare Book Collection of the USGS Libraries Program in Reston, Virginia.

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