Killer Stones
Richard Wallace

Killer Stones

Killer Stones uncovers the murders, mischief and cold-blooded malevolence behind the most notorious jewels in history.

Like war, the first casualty of a remarkable jewel is Truth. The more illustrious the provenance a jewel possesses, the more lies, deceit and cruelty it seems to spawn.

Incorporating the phrase Jacques Cartier used to describe his “killer stones” (samples of flawless gems) that he carried with him to assess jewels on Cartier buying trips throughout Asia and the Middle East, Killer Stones reveals the shocking truths behind the discovery and acquisition of history’s most infamous gems and jewellery collections.

Ever since the first precious stones were hacked from caves, fished from oceans, and snatched from the necks of ancient deities, they have asserted a destructive influence over the lives of ordinary men and women.

All jewels corrupt but some jewels are more corruptible than others. The primeval, overwhelming need to possess fantastic gems is intrinsic to their fatal appeal.

Spanning the globe from the opal fields of the Australian bush, to the fabled Golconda diamond mines of India, the Arabian Gulf of Pearls, and the emotion-charged auction rooms of Europe, Killer Stones features an eclectic cast of thieves, adventurers, movie stars, and filthy-rich aristocrats who survived deadly attacks and committed unspeakable crimes simply to possess and protect the most famous gems through time.

Using a careful examination of contemporary accounts, forgotten archival material, and interviews with surviving participants, Killer Stones exposes the calumnies and corruption buried beneath the popularly accepted facades of celebrated jewels and their owners. Some of the chapters and their revelations include:

  • Kites Dancing In A Hurricane: the tawdry truth about Princess Diana’s “engagement ring” and the deliberate fabrication of details surrounding it and her last day in Paris;
  • The Pearl That Went To The Dogs: the real circumstances of the disaster that almost consumed Elizabeth Taylor’s royal pearl that differs significantly from Taylor’s own published recollections, consistently promoted by the popular press.
  • Only God Forgives: the priceless Saudi Blue Diamond that almost caused a war between Thailand and Saudi Arabia when it was stolen in 1989, never in fact existed.
  • The Biscuit Tin At The Bottom Of A Pond: the trunks of Royal gems, regalia, uncut stones and other jewellery that were hidden during the Second World War at Windsor Castle were not the most valuable materials in that secret cache.
  • The Lahore Toshakhana: the discovery the mysterious Darya-i-nûr pink diamond (valued at 63,000 rupees in 1849 and more than £100 million in today’s money) resides in the vaults of both a Bangladeshi bank AND the Museum of National Iranian Jewels in Tehran. 
  • Schindler's Lift: how the Austrian billionaire Heidi Horten sacrificed her vast jewellery collection to protect her fledgling art Museum from a damaging connection with a former husband’s Nazi past.
  • Make It Look Like An Accident, 007: the notorious diamond trading corporation that served as the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s fictional SPECTRE crime organisation in the James Bond novels.
  • Death Of A Miner Character: probes the strange coincidence between the death of a successful opal miner in Australia’s outback and the “discovery” of the largest uncut opal ever found by a group of miners just a few weeks later to reveal who the perpetuator(s) were of this unsolved Edwardian cold-case murder.
  • Dude, Where’s Our Diamonds?: how an affable, chubby 32-year-old Californian computer geek with receding hair and strange friends, pulled off probably the greatest diamond heist nobody has ever heard of.



Book Details:

  • Author: Richard Wallace
  • On Submission
  • All rights are available
Richard Wallace

Richard Wallace

Armed with an Honours degree from the Australian National University, Richard Wallace became a journalist with the Fairfax newspaper organisation that included The Sydney Morning Herald, The Melbourne Age, The Canberra Times and the Australian Financial Review among its mastheads. Posted to Europe he covered the death of the Duchess of Windsor in 1986 and the subsequent Geneva auction of her jewellery collection in 1987. Leaving Fairfax, Richard joined the UK Independent shortly after its creation in 1986 at the request of eccentric founding editor Andreas Whittam Smith. His focus was rese...
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