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The diamond is more than just aesthetically beautiful—it’s an enduring symbol of love, romance, and commitment. The stone’s name is derived from the Greek word adamas, which translates to ―unconquerable and indestructible.‖ Diamonds have been sought the world over, fought over, worshipped and used to cast love spells.
The earliest diamonds were found in India in 4th century BC, although the youngest of these deposits were formed 900 million years ago. A majority of these early stones were transported along the network of trade routes that connected India and China, commonly known as the Silk Road. At the time of their discovery, diamonds were valued because of their strength and brilliance, and for their ability to refract light and engrave metal. Diamonds were worn as adornments, used as cutting tools, served as a talisman to ward off evil, and were believed to provide protection in battle. In the Dark Ages, diamonds were also used as a medical aid and were thought to cure illness and heal wounds when ingested. Surprisingly, diamonds share some common characteristics with coal. Both are composed of the most common substance on earth: carbon. What makes diamonds different from coal is the way the carbon atoms are arranged and how the carbon is formed. Diamonds are created when carbon is subjected to the extremely high pressures and temperatures found at the earth’s lithosphere, which lies approximately 90-240 miles below the earth’s surface. Until the 18th century, India was thought to be the only source of diamonds. When the Indian diamond mines were depleted, the quest for alternate sources began. Although a small deposit was found in Brazil in 1725, the supply was not enough to meet world demands. In 1866, 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs was exploring the banks of the Orange River when he came across what he thought was an ordinary pebble, but turned out to be a 21.25-carat diamond. In 1871, a colossal 83.50-carat deposit was unearthed on a shallow hill called Colesberg Kopje. These findings sparked a rush of thousands of diamond prospectors to the region and led to the opening of the first large-scale mining operation which came to be known as the Kimberly Mine. This newly discovered diamond source increased the world’s diamond supply substantially, resulting in a significant decrease in their value. The elite no longer considered the diamond a rarity, and began to replace this ―common‖ stone with coloured gemstones. Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires became more popular choices for engagement ring stones among the upper class. In 1880, Englishman Cecil John Rhodes formed De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd in an effort to control the diamond supply. Although DeBeers was successful in their efforts to control the supply of diamonds, demand for the stone was weak. By 1919, diamonds were devalued by nearly 50%.
The History Of The Engagement Ring The use of rings as a symbol of commitment dates back to ancient history, specifically to the betrothal (truth) rings of the Romans. These early rings, often formed from twisted copper or braided hair, were worn on the third finger of the left hand. For Romans, betrothal rings were given as a sign of affection or friendship, and did not always represent the rite of marriage. The history of the engagement ring began in 1215, when Pope Innocent III, one of the most powerful popes of the Middle Ages, declared a waiting period between a betrothal and the marriage ceremony. The rings were used to signify the couple’s commitment in the interim. It was around this same time that rings were introduced as a major component of the wedding ceremony, and it was mandated by the Roman government that all marriage ceremonies be held in a church. In addition to serving as symbols of an intention to marry, these early rings also represented social rank; only the elite were permitted to wear ornate rings or rings with jewels. For the last 3000 to 4000 years, diamonds have held special magic for Kings, Queens and their subjects. Diamonds have stood for wealth, power, love, spirit and magical powers. Kings in olden days would wear into battle heavy leather breast plates studded with diamonds and other precious stones. It was believed that diamonds were fragments of stars and the teardrops of the Gods. The diamonds possessed magical qualities of the Gods and held powers far beyond the understanding of the common man. Because of these beliefs, the warriors stayed clear of the Kings and others who were fortunate to have the magical diamonds in their breast plates. Until the 15thCentury only Kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. Over the centuries, the diamond acquired its unique status as the ultimate gift of love. It was said that cupids’ arrows were tipped with diamonds that have a magic that nothing else can equal. Since the creation of diamonds they have been associated with romance and legend. The Greeks believed the fire in the diamond reflected the constant flame of love. For millions of people around the world, the mystery and magic, the beauty and romance shining out from a simple solitaire says all the heart feels but words cannot express. It wasn’t until 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a diamond ring to Mary of Burgundy, that the diamond engagement ring was introduced. Placing the ring on the third finger of the left hand, dates back to the early Egyptian belief that the Vena Amors, vein of love, runs directly from the heart to the tip of the third finger. This symbolic meaning lends itself well to the diamond’s historic commemoration of eternal love. Discovery And Making The first river-bed (alluvial) diamonds were probably discovered in India, in around 800 B.C. The volcanic source of these diamonds was never discovered, but the alluvial deposits were rich enough to supply most of the world’s diamonds until the eighteenth century, when dwindling Indian supplies probably spurred the exploration
that led to the discovery of diamonds in Brazil, which became the next important diamond source. Beginning in l866, South Africa’s massive diamond deposits were discovered, and a world-wide diamond rush was on. The South African diamond output was unravelled until major deposits were found in Siberian permafrost in l954. And currently Western Canada is the site of the world’s newest diamond rush. Throughout much of history, diamonds were mined from the sand and gravel surrounding rivers. But in South Africa in 1870 diamond was found in the earth far from a river source, and the practice of dry-digging for diamonds was born. More sophisticated mining techniques allowed deeper subterranean digging, as well as more efficient river (and, most recently, marine) mining, than ever before. Cutting The cutting of diamonds into the complex faceted forms we now associate with these gems is actually a relatively recent practice. For centuries, rough diamonds were kept as talismans, and often not worn at all, though natural octahedral (eight-sided stones) were sometimes set in rings. A Hungarian queen’s crown set with uncut diamonds, dating from approximately l074, is perhaps the earliest example of diamond jewellery. The royalty of France and England wore diamonds by the 1300′s. In sixteenth century England, fashionable lovers etched romantic pledges on window-panes with the points of their diamond rings, known as ―scribbling rings‖. The earliest record of diamond-polishing (with diamond powder) is Indian, and probably dates from the fourteenth century. There are also contemporary references to the practice of diamond polishing in Venice. The earliest reference to diamond cutting is in l550 in Antwerp, the most important diamond centre of the period, where a diamond-cutters’ guild was soon to be established. Diamond Routes and Centres: Indian diamonds reached Venice by two Mediterranean routes: the southern route was by way of Aden, Ethiopia, and Egypt, and the northern route was through Arabia, Persia, Armenia, and Turkey. Then, thanks to the Portuguese discovery of the direct sea route to India, Antwerp flourished as a diamond centre, as the city was well-situated to receive vast supplies of rough from Lisbon as well as from Venice. After Spanish attacks on Antwerp in1585, many diamond cutters relocated to Amsterdam. And the Netherlands, with its liberal civil policies, attracted diamond craftsmen (including many Jews) who were fleeing religious persecution in Spain, Portugal, Germany and Poland. In the late1600′s, as the English fortified their interest in India, which was still the world’s central diamond source, London became an important cutting centre. Later, London became the primary world market of diamond rough. Today, there are cutting centres all over the world, most notably in Belgium, India, Israel, South Africa, and the USA.
Diamond Magic Diamonds were once believed to hold many magical, mystical and medicinal properties. The phosphorescence of certain diamonds (their ability to glow in the
dark) was considered a proof of the stone’s extraordinary powers. Diamonds were thought to calm the mentally ill, and to ward off devils, phantoms and even nightmares. They were supposed to impart virtue, generosity and courage in battle, and to cause lawsuits to be determined in the wearer’s favour. A house or garden touched at each corner with a diamond was supposed to be protected from lightning, storms and blight. The ancient Indians believed that the human soul could pass through various incarnations, animating gemstones as well as plants and animals. Plato, the Greek philosopher, shared the belief that gems were living beings, produced by a chemical reaction t o vivifying astral spirits. Later philosophers divided precious stones into male and female specimens, and even claimed that they could ―marry‖ and reproduce! Minerals were among the first medicinal ingredients. In the middle ages it was believed that a diamond could heal if the sick person took it bed and warmed it with his body, of breathed upon it while fasting or wore it next to the skin. A diamond held in t he mouth would correct the bad habits of liars and scolds. And diamonds were worn as a talisman against poisoning. Diamond powder administered internally, however, was a legendary poison. The Turkish Sultan Bajazet (1447 – 1513) was perhaps murdered by his son, who slipped a large quantity of powdered diamond in his father’s food. In l532, his doctors dosed Pope Clement VII with fourteen spoonfuls of pulverized gems, including diamonds, which resulted in death for the patient, as well as a very high bill for his treatment. In the same century, Catherine de Medici was famous for dealing out death by diamond powder, and Benvenuto Cellini, the famous s Italian goldsmith, described an attempt on his life by an enemy who ordered diamond powder to be mixed in his salad. But the lapidary responsible for grinding the diamond filched the stone, replacing it with powdered glass (thereby saving Cellini).
A Modern-Day Resurgence In 1947, DeBeers commissioned the services of leading advertising agency N.W. Ayer, and the slogan ―A diamond is forever‖ was coined, later immortalised in the James Bond movie, ―Diamonds are Forever.‖ The premise of this large-scale marketing campaign was the suggestion that diamonds should be the only choice for engagement rings. The DeBeers advertising campaign was wildly successful, and was a contributing factor to today’s widespread embracing of the tradition of diamond engagement rings. In today’s fine jewellery market, more than 78% of engagement rings sold contain diamonds. With the surge in popularity of the precious stone, many companies and organizations began campaigns to educate jewellers and consumers about what to look for when selecting a diamond. As jewellers experimented with ways to enhance the diamond’s visual appeal and presentation, new cutting techniques were adopted to help increase the stone’s brilliance. Over time, several prominent shapes emerged as the most popular varieties, including round, oval, marquise, square (princess), and rectangular (emerald).
Today, the world’s diamond deposits are slowly becoming depleted. Less than 20% of the diamonds mined are of gem quality; less than 2% are considered ―investment diamonds.‖ 75-80% of mined diamonds are used for industrial applications, such as grinding, sawing, and drilling. Typically, more than 250 tons of ore must be mined in order to produce a one-carat, gem-quality stone. The diamond’s rarity, beauty, and strength make it a fitting symbol of the resilience and longevity of marriage. In addition to engagement rings, diamonds are traditionally given as gifts to commemorate the milestone of the sixtieth anniversary. With their rich history, sense of permanence, and lustrous brilliance, diamonds are a natural choice to signify a lasting union.
History of the Koh-I-Noor
MYTH-The origin of the diamond is unclear. According to some sources, the Koh-iNoor was originally found more than 5000 years ago, and is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings under the name Syamantaka. According to some Hindu mythological accounts, the Lord Krishna obtained the Syamantaka from Jambavantha, whose daughter Jambavati later married Krishna. Krishna was blamed for the theft of the diamond from Satrajith's dead brother, killed by a lion (itself having been killed by Jambavantha). Satrajith accused Krishna of having killed his brother. Krishna fought a fierce battle with Jāmbavān to restore his reputation and gave the jewel back to Satrajith. In shame, Satrajith offered Krishna his daughter, as well as the Koh-i-Noor. Krishna accepted his daughter Satyabhāmā, but refused to take the Syamantaka. The diamond originated in the Kollur region of Guntur district in present day Andhra Pradesh, one of the world's earliest diamond producing regions, sometime in the 1200s during the Kakatiya rule. This region was the only known source of diamonds until 1730 when diamonds were discovered in Brazil. The term "Golconda" diamond has come to define diamonds of the finest white colour, clarity and transparency. They are very rare and highly sought after. The diamond became the property of Kakatiya kings who installed it as one of the eyes of the presiding Goddess in a temple in their capital city of Warangal. The Khilji rule at Delhi ended in 1320 AD and Ghias ud Din Tughluq ascended the throne. Tughluq sent his commander Ulugh Khan in 1323 to defeat the Kakatiya king Prataprudra. Ulugh Khan’s raid was repulsed but he returned in a month with a larger and determined army. The unprepared army of Kakatiya was defeated. The loot, plunder and destruction of Orugallu (present day Warangal), the capital of Kakatiya Kingdom, continued for months. Loads of gold, diamonds, pearls and ivory were carried away to Delhi on elephants, horses and camels. The Koh-i-Noor diamond was part of the bounty. From then onwards, the stone passed through the hands of successive rulers of the Delhi Sultanate, finally passing to Babur, the first Mughal Emperor, in 1526. The first confirmed historical mention of the Koh-i-Noor by an identifiable name dates from 1526. Babur mentions in his memoirs, the Baburnama, that the stone had
belonged to an unnamed Rajah of Malwa in 1294. Babur held the stone's value to be such as to feed the whole world for two and a half days. The Baburnama recounts how Rajah of Malwa was compelled to yield his prized possession to Alaud din Khilji; it was then owned by a succession of dynasties that ruled the Delhi Sultanate, finally coming into the possession of Babur himself in 1526, following his victory over the last ruler of that kingdom. However, the Baburnama was written c.1526-30; Babur's source for this information is unknown, and he may have been recounting the hearsay of his day and mixed up the Emperor of Warangal with the Rajah of Malwa. He did not at that time call the stone by its present name, but despite some debate about the identity of 'Babur's Diamond' it seems likely that it was the stone which later became known as Koh-iNoor. Both Babur and Humayun mention very clearly in their memoirs the origins of 'Babur's Diamond'. Humayun had much bad luck throughout his life. Sher Shah Suri, who defeated Humayun, died in an accident. Humayun's son, Akbar, never kept the diamond with himself and later only Shah Jahan took it out of his treasury. Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan was overthrown by his own son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. His son, Auranzeb, imprisoned his ailing father at Agra Fort. Legend has it that he had the Koh-i-Noor positioned near a window so that Shah Jahan could see the Taj only by looking at its reflection in the stone. Aurangazeb later brought it to his capital Lahore and placed it in his own personal Badshah Mosque. There it stayed until the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1739 and the sacking of Agra and Delhi. Along with the Peacock Throne, he also carried off the Koh-i-Noor to Persia in 1739 and who is attributed, allegedly, to the name Koh-i Noor since there is no reference to this name before 1739. The valuation of the Koh-i-Noor is given in the legend that one of Nader Shah's consorts supposedly said, "If a strong man should take five stones, and throw one north, one south, one east, and one west, and the last straight up into the air, and the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Koh-iNoor." After the assassination of Nader Shah in 1747, the stone came into the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. In 1830, Shah Shuja, the deposed ruler of Afghanistan, managed to flee with the Kohinoor diamond. He then came to Lahore where it was given to the Maharaja of Ranjit Singh; in return for this Maharaja Ranjit Singh won back the Afghan throne for Shah Shuja. Passage from India Maharaja Ranjit Singh willed the Koh-i-Noor to the Jagannath Temple but after his death the British administrators did not execute his will. On 29 March 1849, the British raised their flag on the citadel of Lahore and the Punjab was formally proclaimed to be part of the British Empire. One of the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, the legal agreement formalising this occupation, was as follows:
The gem called the Koh-i-Noor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk by Maharajah Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the queen of England. The diamond is now set into the crown worn by the female consort to Monarch of the United Kingdom. The Curse of the Koh-i-Noor It is believed that the Koh-i-Noor carries with it a curse which affects men who wear it, but not women. All the men who owned it have either lost their throne or had other misfortunes befall them. Queen Victoria is the only reigning monarch to have worn the gem. Since Victoria's reign, the stone has generally been worn by the British Queen Consort, never by a male ruler. The possibility of a curse pertaining to ownership of the diamond dates back to a Indian text relating to the first authenticated appearance of the diamond in 1306: "He who owns this diamond will own the world, but
will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity."
TEN FAMOUS DIAMONDS The Great Star of Africa 530.20 Carats - the Cullinan I or Star Africa diamond is the largest cut diamond in the world. Pear shaped, with 74 facets, it is set in the Royal Sceptre (kept with the other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London). It was cut from the 3,106-carat Cullinan, the largest diamond crystal ever found. The Cullinan was discovered in Transvaal, South Africa in l095 on an inspection tour of the Premier Mine. The Cullinan was cut by Joseph Asscher and Company of Amsterdam, who examined the enormous crystal for around six months before determining how to divide it. Legend has it that immediately after applying the hammer, Asscher fainted fearful that he may have broken the diamond. It eventually yielded nine major, and 96 smaller brilliant cut stones. When the Cullinan was first discovered, certain signs suggested that it may have been part of a much larger crystal. But no discovery of the "missing half" has ever been authenticated.
The Orloff 300 Carats when found, colour: slightly bluish green, clarity: exceptionally pure, cut: Moghul-cut rose, source: India. This gem may be found in the Diamond Treasury of Russia in Moscow. There are so many historical episodes involving the Orloff. First, it may have been set at one time as the diamond eye of Vishnu's idol (one of the Hindu Gods) in the innermost sanctuary temple in Sriangam, before being stolen in the 1700s by a French deserter. However, the deserter just dug one eye from its socket, because he was terrorstricken at the thought of retribution, so he couldn't take the other. He went to Madras, and sold the stone quickly to an English seacaptain for 2,000 pounds. The time passed, the stone arrived at Amsterdam where the Russian count Grigori Orloff, an ex-lover of Empress Catherine the Great was residing. He heard about rumours of the stone, and he bought the diamond for 90,000 pounds and took it back to Russia for Catherine's favour. The stone has been called the Orloff since then. Catherine received his gift and had it mounted in the Imperial Sceptre. She gave a marble palace to Grigori in exchange for the Orloff. However, Grigori couldn't get Catherine's love. Grigori Orloff passed away at the nadir of disappointment in 1783. In 1812 the Russians, fearing that Napoleon with his Grand Army was about to enter Moscow, hid the Orloff in a priest's tomb. Napoleon supposedly discovered the Orloff's location and went to claim it. However, as a solider of the Army was about to touch the Orloff, a priest's ghost appeared and pronounced a terrible curse upon the Army. The Emperor, Napoleon scampered away without the Orloff.
The Centenary Diamond 273.85 Carats, discovered at the Premier Mine, in July 1986. The 'Centenary' diamond weighed 599.10 carats in the rough. Together with a small select team, mastercutter Gabi Tolkowsky took almost three years to complete its transformation into the world's largest, most modern-cut, top-colour, flawless diamond. Possessing 247 facets - 164 on the stone and 83 on its girdle - the aptly-named 'Centenary' diamond weighs 273.85 carats, and is only surpassed in size by the 530.20 carat 'Great Star of Africa' and the 317.40 carat 'Lesser Star of Africa', both of which are set into the British Crown Jewels.
The Regent 140.50 Carats, although it is now surpassed in weight by other famous diamonds, the exceptional limpidity and perfect cut of the Regent give it an reputation as the most beautiful diamond in the world. Discovered in India in 1698, it was acquired by Thomas Pitt, Governor of Madras, who sent it to England where it was cut. In 1717 the Regent purchased it from Pitt for the French Crown. It first adorned the band of Louis XV's silver gilt crown (in the Louvre) at his coronation in 1722, going then to Louis XVI's crown in 1775. Later in 1801 it figured on the hilt of the First Consul's sword (Fontainebleau, Musée Napoléon 1st), and then on the Emperor's two-edged sword in 1812. In 1825 it was worn on the crown at the coronation of Charles x, and during the Second Empire it embellished the "Grecian diadem" of the Empress Eugenie. It can be seen today at the Louvre in Paris.
Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) 105.60 Carats, an oval cut gem, now part of the British Crown Jewels. The name of this diamond means "Mountain of Light" and its history, dating back to1304, is the longest of all famous diamonds. It was captured by the Rajahs of Malwa in the sixteenth century by the Mogul, Sultan Babur and remained in the possession of later Mogul emperors. It may have been set in the famous Peacock Throne made for Shah Jehan. After the break-up of the Persian empire the diamond found its way to India. It may have travelled to Afghanistan with a bodyguard of Nadir Shah, who fled with the stone when the Shah was murdered, to be later offered to Ranjit Singh of the Punjab in exchange for military help (which was never delivered). After fighting broke out between the Sikhs and the British, The East India Company claimed the diamond as a partial indemnity, and then presented it to Queen Victoria in 1850. When the stone came from India, it weighed l986 carats; it was later recut to l08.93 carats. It was first worn by the Queen in a brooch. It was later set in the State Crown, worn by Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary, and 1937 was worn for by Queen Elizabeth for her coronation. It is kept in the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels.
The Idol's Eye 70.20 Carats, a flattened pear-shaped stone the size of a bantam's egg. Another famous diamond that was once set in the eye of an idol before it was stolen. Legend also has it that it was given as ransom for Princess Rasheedah by the Sheikh of Kashmir to the Sultan of Turkey who had abducted her.
The Taylor-Burton 69.42 Carats, Pear-shape. It was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine in South Africa. The rough, which weighted 240.80 carats, was cut into a 69.42 pear shape diamond. Richard Burton bought and named this stone as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor. Richard Burton bought it $1,100,000. He also named this stone as an engagement. After Burton's death in 1979, Liz Taylor sold the stone for charity and reportedly received $2.8 million. She donated in his memory to a hospital in Biafra. It was last seen in Saudi Arabia. Sancy Diamond Little is known of the Sancy Diamond before the 14th century when it was most likely stolen from India. It was first recorded as measuring 100 carats when it was part of the dowry of Valentina, Galeazzo di Visconti's daughter in 1389. She married Duke d'Orleans who was the brother of Charles VI of France. This began a long history of the diamond being used as collateral and going in and out of pawn over the next few hundred years. Duke John of Burgundy acquired the stone as a spoil of war victory and passed it down through his family for several generations including Charles the Bold. Charles brought the stone into battle believing it was good luck. This turned out not to be true as he lost the battle and his life and the stone was missing for 14 years. It then turned up in the possession of Jacob Fugger who sold it to the King of Portugal. When Phillip II of Spain Invaded Portugal he claimed the Sancy, however, the king escaped with several other jewels which he sold the French and English Crown. The Sancy found itself in the ownership of Elizabeth I, who also owned the Three Brothers stone which was also lost by Charles the Bold. Elizabeth secretly pawned the stone to finance a Dutch war against Spain. The diamond changed hands again and found a new owner Nicolas Harlay de
Sancy whose wife had an appetite for diamonds. Elizabeth I wanted the diamond back and Sancy who eventually went bankrupt was convinced to sell it back to James I of the English Crown. The diamond disappeared again for 25 years long enough for the statue of limitations to expire, when it surfaced to be purchased by Nicholas Demidov, who gave it to his wife. It was then sold to Sir Jamsetee Jeejeebhoy and eventually to William Astor in 1865. The Astor family kept possession of the stone until 1976 when they sold it for an undisclosed amount to the Louvre Museum where it still resides today.. Most experts agree that the Sancy was part of a much larger diamond that was re-cut at some point however there is no consensus which diamond it originally came from.
Hope Diamond The Hope Diamond is the previous record holder for being the largest faceted diamond and is probably the most well known and historically interesting of all diamonds. The Hope Diamond was originally known as the Tavernier Blue which was a crudely cut triangular diamond. According to legend, it was stolen from an Indian statue of Sita and purchased by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier around 1660. The diamond was sold to King Louis XIV of France who had it cut into a 67.125 carat stone. It was renamed the French Blue and worn for ceremonial functions in France. The diamond was rarely seen until Louis XVI gave it to Marie Antoinette who added it to her jewellery collection. When the French Revolution started the diamond was stolen and resurfaced in La Havre four years later. The diamond disappeared for another 20 years (which coincidentally is exactly how long it took for the statute of limitations to run out on the crime) when it resurfaced in the hands of a London diamond merchant Daniel Eliason in 1812. Henry Philip Hope purchased the diamond in 1824, after his death his heirs fought over the diamond. It
passed through three generation s of the Hope family until Henry Francis Hope PelhamClinton Hope fell into bankruptcy and was forced to sell the stone. The diamond continued to change hands until Pierre Cartier acquired it in 1910. They reset the stone and sold it to socialite Evelyn Walsh McLean. She left the stone to her heirs, however it had to be sold again to settle outstanding debt. The stone was purchased by legendary jeweller Harry Winston who had the lower portion of the stone cut to increase its brilliance. After having the diamond as part of his traveling exhibit known as "the court of jewels," he donated it to the Smithsonian Institution where he sent it through the US postal service in plain brown wrapper. The diamond is said to have been cursed by the Hindu God from whose statue it was originally stolen because financial ruin or sudden death occurred to many who owned it. The diamond was also the inspiration for the fictional "Heart of the Ocean" in the movie Titanic. In 2005 new computer research proved that the Hope Diamond was indeed the French Blue that was stolen from the jewellery collection of Marie Antoinette.
The Hortensia Diamond is a pale pink, orange diamond that was originally part of the jewel collection of the French Crown. named after the Queen of Holland, the stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte, this gem is part of the French Crown Jewels and may be viewed at the Louvre in Paris. It was lost/stolen with all of the other gems in Marie Antoinette's collection during the French Revolution. A man named Depeyron confessed its secret location while on the chopping block facing execution. The Regent Diamond was also recovered from the secret hiding spot. The diamond gets its name from Hortense de Beauharnais the Queen of Holland who wore the diamond. It was also mounted on the epaulette braid of Napoleon for a short time.
MORE FAMOUS AND HISTORIC DIAMONDS
Archduke Joseph Diamond: The Archduke Joseph Diamonds is one of the Golconda diamonds (an ancient Indian diamond mine), what makes it unique is its colour and clarity. It measures 74.65 carats and is rated a flawless D. The diamond is a family heirloom of the Hapsburg Family from Hungary. During World War II the gem was put in hiding in France. The whereabouts of the diamond were unknown until 1961 when it came up for auction. In 1993 it went on auction a second time and sold for 6.4 million dollars. It is set in a remarkable necklace and is quite often lent to celebrities for special functions. Celine Dion wore the necklace on her return performance on CBS in April of 2002 when she premiered "A New Day Has Come". Allnat Diamond: The Allnat diamond is a cushion cut fancy vivid yellow diamond. Prior to 1950 there is no recorded history for this diamond although experts guess it came from the premier diamond mine in South Africa. In 1950 Major Allnat commissioned Cartier to make a setting for the diamond. The stone was re-cut from 102.07 carats to 101.29 carats and it was regarded as a vivid fancy yellow increasing its value. It's currently in the "Splendour of Diamonds" collection at the Smithsonian Museum.
Centenary Diamond: The Centenary Diamond is the third largest diamond to have been extracted from the DeBeers mine in South Africa. Its 273.85 carats is internally and externally flawless with a D colour rating. It was displayed in its uncut form at 599 carats for the DeBeers Centenary Anniversary. It was displayed in the Tower of London for several years before it was removed. While no sale price was ever made public it was insured for over 100 million.
Darya-ye Noor Diamond: Is one of the Crown Jewels from the country of Iran. It is well known not only for its large size of 182 carats but also its pale pink colour which is exceptionally rare in diamonds. Modern research also indicates this may have been part of a larger stone that was originally part of the throne of Mughahl Emperor Shah Jahan.
The Noor-ol-Ein is also part of the same stone.
Dresden Green Diamond: The Dresden Green Diamond is the largest of the very rare natural green diamonds. It is 41 carats and its green colour comes from natural and not artificial irradiation. The diamond was discovered in 1722 before the technology for artificial irradiation existed. This diamond is currently part of a research project to help identify diamonds which are naturally coloured. The diamond is named after the Saxony Capital in Germany. For most of its history the diamond has stayed in Germany, except during World War II when it was in the Soviet Union.
Excelsior Diamond: At the time of its discovery in 1893 the Excelsior Diamond was the largest diamond discovered at 971 carats. It was displaced by the Cullinan Diamond in 1905. The stone had a blue and white colour and was eventually cut into 13 stones ranging from 68 carats to 13 carats.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond: The Golden Jubilee is currently the world's largest faceted diamond displacing the Cullinan I or Star of Africa by over 15 carats. The diamond is cut into a fire cushion shape and weighs a total of 545.67 carats. What's most remarkable about the stone is its yellow brown colour. It was presented as a gift to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his coronation. It is currently part of the crown jewels in the Royal Thai Palace.
Great Moghul Diamond: The Great Moghul diamond is the most legendary diamond of the ancient world. It was first described by traveller Jean Baptiste Tavernier from a visit to India he made in 1665. The Great Moghul Diamond was said to have measured 240 carats, a size unheard of in the ancient world. However the stone disappeared and hasn't been seen for thousands of years. Experts are
divided some believing that the Koh-i-Nor diamond is the Great Moghul Diamond other experts believe it's the Orloff Diamond. Heart of Eternity: The Heart of Eternity diamond is one the most famous fancy blue diamonds. It came from the premier mine in South Africa which has the largest production of fancy coloured diamonds. The heart of eternity is the sister stone of the Millennium Star which were both cut from the same stone. They were part of the DeBeers Millennium Jewels Collection and were the target of an unsuccessful diamond heist at the Millennium Dome during the year 2000 celebration. The gem is 27.64 carats and is classified as fancy vivid blue.
Idol's Eye Diamond: Where the Idol's Eye diamond originally came from is something of a mystery. Many claim it was the eye of an idol or statue from a temple in Benghazi. That is highly unlikely since that area has been Muslim since the 8th Century and devoid of idols. The diamond first appears in recorded history at a Christie's auction in 1865. At the time of the auction the buyer was anonymous, but history later revealed the buyer was the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Towards the end of his rule Hamid sensed he was going to be forced out of power and started to move his wealth to a secure location, this included his collection of jewels. However the person responsible for moving the jewels stole them and turned up in Paris. The diamond was purchased by a Spanish Nobleman who kept them in London. The gemstone remained hidden until after World War II when a Dutch Merchant acquired them and sold it to Harry Winston. The Idol's Eye diamond is a triangular old mine cut measuring 70. 21 carats and has a slight bluish colour. Incomparable Diamond: The Incomparable Diamond was the fourth largest uncut diamond when it was discovered. In 1984 owners Marvin Samuels, Louis Glick, and David Zale of Zales Jewellers had the diamond cut. The largest stone was 407.48 carat triolette shape. There were also 14 smaller diamonds from the same stone. The largest diamond retained the name Incomparable diamond and is golden in colour. The smaller stones range from colourless to deep rich brown. The Incomparable diamond made an unexpected appearance on the internet auction site EBay in November of 2002 with a reserve price of 15 million pounds sterling but remained unsold.
Lesotho Promise: The Lesotho Promise is a new diamond that was discovered in 2006. It was discovered in the Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho. In its uncut format it is 603 carats in size and the diamond sold for 12.4 million in its uncut form. Millennium Star: The Millennium Star is the sister stone to the Heart of Eternity diamond as both were originally cut from the same stone. Unlike its sister stone Millennium Star is a colourless diamond rated a flawless D. It's also the second largest D diamond in the world measuring at 203.04 carats. This diamond is part of the DeBeers Millennium Collection and was part of the exhibit at the Millennium Dome. The stone was also the target of a failed diamond heist. When the police, security, and DeBeers officials learned of the planned robbery a duplicate stone was created and placed on display as a precaution. The thieves failed to get their hands on the real diamond or the replica. Moussaieff Red: The Moussaieff Red is the largest fancy red coloured diamond known. It measures 5.11 carats and has a trillion style cut. The stone was discovered in Brazil. The stone was originally known as the Red Shield until it was bought by the Moussaieff Jewelers Company. The diamond was also part of "Splendour of Diamonds" show at the Smithsonian along with the Millennium Star, Heart of Eternity, Hope Diamond, and Dresden Green. Nizam Diamond: The Nizam Diamond was an old world diamond from India. It was a convex shape with irregular facets measuring 277 carats. It was owned by Nizams of Hyderabad in the 1830's, however, it was lost, stolen or was re-cut as a result of becoming a spoil of war.
Noor-ol-Ein Diamond: this diamond is also known by the alternate spelling Nur-UlAin Diamond. It's one of the largest pink diamond in the world said to have originated from India. It's an oval diamond brilliant cut diamond that measures 60 carats. It is currently set in a platinum tiara with other pink, yellow, and colourless diamonds. The tiara was fashioned by Harry Winston for Empress Farah for her wedding to the last Shah of Iran in 1957
Red Cross Diamond: The Red Cross Diamond was discovered in the Kimberly Mines in 1901. It's a canary coloured cushioned shaped diamond that measures 205.07 carats. It is very distinct having a Maltese Cross visible from the top. The diamond was auctioned at Christies in 1918 with the benefits going to the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John. The stone later passed in an unknown member of the royal family of England and then to an unnamed American businessman who put it up for auction in 1973. The stone failed to meet its reserve price and the auction was removed and tried again in 1977. The stone again failed to meet the reserve price and was withdrawn, the current owner and location are unknown. Regent Diamond: The Regent Diamond has long past with many unexpected twists and turns. According to legend it was discovered by a slave in a diamond mine in 1692 in India. He stole the diamond and hid it in a wound inside of his body. The slave was killed on a ship and the captain took the diamond. It was sold to Thomas Pitt a well known merchant trader in India. He finally managed to sell it to Philippe II, Duke of Orleans in 1717. It was set in a Crown for the Coronation crown for Louis XV and then in another crown for Louis XVI in 1775. He gave it to Marie Antoinette
who added it to her jewellery collection. The diamond was, stolen, hidden, and eventually recovered. It then found its way into the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801. It was set into his sword until his death when it was sent to Austria. It was eventually returned to France and was set into the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III. It was then set in a Greek style Diadem crown for Empress Eugenie where it remains today, and is displayed in the Louvre Museum. The diamond measures 140.6 carats and is a cushion style cut. It is white with a slight blue tint in colour.
Shah Diamond: The Shah diamond traces its history back to India at about 1450. In 1591 it was given to the court of Nizam, who ordered that it be inscribed with "Burhan-Nizam-Shah Second. Year 1000″ on one of the facets. That same year Emperor Akbar seized the throne and the diamond. When his grandson took the throne he had another inscription put on the stone "The son of Jehangir-Shah Jehan-Shah. Year 1051.″ The diamond remained in India until 1738. That year Nadir Shah attacked and took the stone as a spoil of war back with him to Persia. In 1824 another inscription was made on the stone "The ruler of the Kadgar-Fath ali-shah Sultan. Year 1242.″ In 1829 Alexander Sergeevich Griboedov a Russian Diplomat was murdered in Russia. This put a lot of strain and pressure on the relations between Russia and Iran. The Shah of Iran sent his son Hosrov-Mirza to St. Petersburg where they gave the diamond as a gift to the Russian Government. The diamond remains part of the Russian Diamond Fund and is housed in the Kremlin. The Shah diamond weighs 90 carats, is 3cm long, and is extremely clear with a slight yellow tint. Spirit of de Grisogono Diamond: The Spirit of de Grisogono Diamond has the honour of being the world’s largest cut black diamond, measuring 312.24 carats. There are only two other black diamond’s of noteworthy size the Black Orloff and the Amsterdam Diamond. Spoonmakers Diamond: There are several stories surrounding the origin of the Spoonmakers diamond, however, here is the one favored by most leading jewelers and gemologists. In 1774 a French officer purchased a diamond from the daughter of the Maharajah of Madras. The diamond was put up for auction and was purchased by Napoleon's mother. When Napoleon was sent into exile, his mother sold the diamond to try save her son. The diamond was purchased by an agent for Tepedelenli Ali Pasha. Pasha was sentenced to death for crimes against the state and all his assets were seized including the diamond. All of his possessions were moved to the treasury of the Ottoman Empire.
Lesser Star of Africa: The Lesser Star of Africa is the sister stone to the Star of Africa also cut from the Cullinan Stone. Also known as the Cullinan II this stone measures 317.40 carats. The Lesser star of Africa is part of the Crown Jewels of the tower of London and is mounted in the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain. The stone also has two small loops that allow it to be worn as a brooch, by itself, or with the Star of Africa. Star of the South Diamond: The Star of the South was the first Brazilian Diamond to achieve world recognition. It was found by a slave worker in a mine 1853. Her master freed her and also agreed to pay her an annual stipend. After passing through several buyers and sellers, the stone made its way to Amsterdam for cutting. The result is a stone that measures 128.42 carats and is a light pinkish brown colour. The stone was displayed in the London Exhibit in 1862 and the Paris Exhibit in 1867, after which it was purchased for $400,000 as a gift for Sita Devi, the Maharani of Baroda. The stone was then purchased by Cartier in 2002 for an undisclosed sum.
Tereschenko Diamond: While the Tereschenko Diamond was known to be in existence for 100 years, it wasn't known by most of the world until it went on auction in 1984. It was part of the Tereschenko family as a loose stone until it was set in a diamond necklace by Cartier in 1915. Just after its completion and right before the Russian Revolution in 1916 the stone was removed from the country for safekeeping and eventually sold to a private collector.
Tiffany Diamond: The Tiffany Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. It was discovered at the Kimberlite mine in South Africa in 1878 and was originally 287 carats. After being cut and polished into a cushion shape, it measured 128.54 carats and was classified as a fancy yellow. The diamond is part of the collection at the Smithsonian Museum. The diamond is also part of the promotion material for the film Breakfast at Tiffany's featuring Audrey Hepburn. Acknowledgments: To many and most of all to the class of Wndow Shoppers.
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