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Sherman Diamond

Photograph of the Sherman Diamond (NMNH G9864)
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G9864-00
Weight 8.52 ct

Gift of Cecilia M. Bolin in 1987 in memory of Mary S. McCallum.

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman met with Khedive (Viceroy) Isma’il Pasha, ruler of Egypt, on a trip in 1873, and offered advice on the restructuring of his military. In 1874, as a thank you for his service, the khedive sent to Sherman’s eldest daughter (Maria “Minnie” Sherman), on the occasion of her wedding to Lt. Thomas Fitch, a “souvenir” that was a magnificent diamond necklace with matching earrings. In 1878, the necklace and earrings were divided equally amongst Sherman’s four daughters and reset by Tiffany & Co.  into four pendants and four pairs of earrings, each of equal value but made in different styles. The diamond pendant in the National Gem Collection, known as the Sherman Diamond, is an 8.52ct pear-shaped diamond surrounded by 15 round diamonds, graduating in size and suspended from a bail with two additional diamonds. The stone is near colorless but does have many large black inclusions. When comparing the photograph of it to that of the original necklace and earrings, it is obvious that the diamond in the center pendant of the necklace and the Sherman Diamond are one and the same. The Sherman Diamond stayed in the family and was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Cecilia McCallum Bolin in memory of her mother, Mary Sherman McCallum.

From the exhibit

In 1865, the khedive of Egypt gave Civil War General William Sherman a diamond necklace as a wedding gift for his daughter. The necklace was subsequently divided among the General’s three daughters.


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