The Moonstone

Egg-sized yellow diamond with curious lumnescient properties


Plate for The Moonstone from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Exhibition: Cursed Stones of the Ages – A Retrospective of Superstition and Fortune

Allegedly taken from its ritual home in Eastern India in the mid 1800’s, this fabulous diamond returned to Britain amidst much controversy, but no official inquiry. After a number of family scandals, and more than one death, the family in possession of the stone decided it was too much trouble to keep. The Moonstone found its way to Amsterdam in the early 1900’s, where it was to be cut into smaller stones at the behest of the family whose fortunes were in dire need of new capitol.

The gemcutter, Elias Fortinbras, into whose hands fell the Moonstone, lost his entire enterprise to a freak fire in late 1916, before he could complete the work he was contracted to perform. Recently uncovered journals (See Exhibits B4 and B5) suggest that he pawned the gem to an unknown agent for a vast sum of money, which he used to flee to the New World, just before the rise of the Nazi state and the birth of his daughter, which cost him the life of his wife. Unbeknown to the agent, he pawned a clever forgery, and fled to America with the gemstone still in his possession (Exhibit B6).

The Moonstone was recently donated to the Museum’s permanent collection by an anonymous donor, who wanted to show its curious properties to the public. Due to an unknown substance bonded to the diamond as it formed, the stone has a semi-luminescent property, which appears to oddly be tied to the lunar cycle. In the “dark” phase of the moon’s cycle, the gem seems to exude a pale yellow-green radiance, which gradually fades to small motes of light as the moon waxes. Due to the precise preparation of the gem’s facets, these motes of chemical light appear to some as if they might be some sort of intelligible writing, but multiple tests have shown conclusively that this is simply an optical illusion caused by the diffusion of light through the angles of the cuts. It is assumed that the gem contains an element otherwise unknown to science, which has some relationship with solar radiation, diffused by Earth’s largest satellite – the properties of this substance may never be known, since the extraction of a sample would ruin the unique properties of the gem.

Excerpt from the article A Much Storied Stone by Gerald Abner, from the October 2004 edition of Rolling Stone

Rs 10 2004…the secret of the location of the gem remained a family secret, only to be revealed upon the death of the patriarch of the Fortinbras clan. Elias’ two sons allegedly plotted to murder their father, according to the sole surviving Drusilla Fortinbras, who witnessed the death of one of her brother’s at the other’s hand, then the death of both her father and surviving brother in the aftermath of the first murder.

Despite the calamity and deadly nature of the legends which shadow the gem, Ms. Fortinbras appears to have worked her way past the bloodstained misfortune which seems to punctuate the diamond’s existence in the Western world Despite the confirmed deaths of four well-documented individuals in possession of the stone, and the alleged deaths of another half-dozen since the stone left India, Ms. Fortinbras appears to have defied the odds, at a hale age of 87. A person close to Ms. Fortinbras claims that her belief on the matter is related to the fact that she was the only one of her family “born in the new world, instead of the old”.

It is widely assumed that Ms. Fortinbras is the “anonymous donor” which the Museum references in its plate on the gem, though she returned no attempts to gain comment on the matter. Ms. Fortinbras does not have a telephone, and all attempts to call on her in person were unanswered.

The Moonstone

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