Blue Peter (diamond)

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The Blue Peter is an enormous blue diamond, given as a gift to Diana Villiers from Harry Johnson. It is described as a pear shaped stone of a most surprising colour, like a pale, pale sapphire but with much more life and fire. Originally, it belonged to Johnson's mother, and was reset for Diana. The name of the stone was The Begum, a Muslim title from India indicating a woman of note, but it was stolen by a sailor and gained its nautical name. It is her most important possession.

Originally it is set in a necklace of blue-white diamonds; beginning with The Surgeon's Mate it is described on its own.

History of the Blue Peter

SPOILER WARNING:  Plot or ending details for "Desolation Island through The Hundred Days"  follow.

At the beginning of Desolation Island, Diana is in London, having left Johnson. He in turn, follows her, bringing the diamonds as a present and partly through its influence and the possible accusation of spying, she returns with him.

She is first seen wearing the necklace at a dinner hosted by Johnson for Stephen Maturin, and tells its history in confidence afterwards. Diana insists on taking them them with her when she, Jack, and Stephen flee Boston.

After refusing to marry Stephen on the grounds that she is pregnant with Johnson's child, she waits the birth in Paris. Meanwhile, Stephen, Jack, and Jagiello are imprisioned by the French. Diana uses the Blue Peter for bribery for their release, though it directs unwanted attention upon Maturin. Independently, d'Anglars and Duhamel rescue the four.

Duhamel, as a sign of his good faith, returns the diamond as promised at the end of The Reverse of the Medal. Stephen, estranged from Diana, returns it to her in Sweden, to tears of joy during The Letter of Marque. Although the diamond was occasionally pawned when funds ran low, the Maturins always retrieve it. At her request, it is buried with her when she dies in an accident before the opening of The Hundred Days.


Diana views originally the diamond as a payment from Johnson. When she first retrieves them, she states "They are mine. I have earnt them." She extends his obvious jealousy and possession over her company to the diamonds, adding them as an incentive in his trials to recapture her.

Her close association remains an uncomfortable one for Stephen, particularly in the remembrance of its origin. It is, to him, a sign of a coarser, changed nature learned in Johnson's company, rather than of jealousy. Her willingness to use it to buy Stephen's freedom is a to him then, a priceless gift.

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