The stars among diamonds
There won’t be many who haven’t heard of the famous Kohinoor diamond.One of the largest known diamonds, it weighed a massive 793 carats when it was in the hands of the Mughals but then it went to the British, got cut to 106 carats, and is now part of the British crown jewels. But how many other famous diamonds can you name?There are many, many large and famous diamonds out there. And some of them also have amazing stories attached to them too. Here are a few that we found worth writing about:
The Cullinan Diamond, mined from South Africa, is one of the largest rough diamond of gem-quality ever found. It weighed an enormous 3106.75 carats. It was cut into many smaller pieces, the largest of which, at 530 carats, is called the Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa. The pear shaped Cullinan I is the largest cut diamond in the world. It is set in the head of the scepter of the British crown jewels. The second largest stone cut from the Cullinan diamond is the Cullinan II. It is 317 carats and is also called the Lesser Star of Africa. This too is part of the crown jewels.
The Akbar Shah diamond is another famous Indian diamond. The stone is believed to have been a part of the Peacock Throne of the Mughal emperors. The pear-shaped stone had two inscriptions on it: “Shah Akbar, the Grand King, 1028 A.H.” and “To the Lord of Two Worlds, 1039 A.H. Shah Jehan”. But the historic inscriptions were destroyed when it was re-cut from a whopping 116 carats to 71.7 carats by a London merchant, George Blogg. Blogg bought it in 1886 in Istanbul. Sadly, no one knows where the stone is now.
The largest pink diamond in the world too is from India—the Daria-i-noor. Weighing around 175 to 195 carats, the stone is now part of the Iranian crown jewels. The exact weight of the light pink stone is unknown as it has been mounted in its brooch setting for more than 130 years. Another famous pink diamond is the Pink Star or the Steinmetz Pink Diamond. Weighing 59.60 carats, it took eight jewelers almost 20 months to create. The Pink Star is internally flawless. And, no, the Pink Panther is not a real diamond.
Another famous diamond is the Hope diamond. Named after its buyer, Henry Thomas Hope, the Blue Hope as it is otherwise known is believed to have been cut from the Tavernier Blue Diamond of India. Brought to Europe in 1642, the 112 carat Tavernier Blue was purchased by King Louis XIV and cut into 67.5 carats. Described as one of the most famous diamonds of the world, this blue rock is believed to be cursed. It is on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.
Yet another on our list is the Orloff. The 300 carat diamond is said to be one eye of an idol of Vishnu before it was stolen in the 1700s. The terrified thief, a French deserter, gouged out only one eye for fear of retribution. He is believed to have sold the stone to an English seaman in Madras. The stone was later sold to the Russian count Grigori Orloff in Amsterdam. Orloff, who was a former lover of the Empress Catherine the Great, took the stone to Russia to present it to the empress and gain back her favour. Catherine is said to have received his gift, but refused to give her love in return. Grigori Orloff, it is said, passed away a disappointed man in 1783. The diamond has since been known as the Orloff.
But probably the most romantic of them all is the Taylor-Burton. Pear shaped, 69.42 carats, and internally flawless, this diamond was mined from South Africa in 1966. The rough stone weighted 241 carats. But it was only when the actor Richard Burton bought the diamond for his wife Elizabeth Taylor that it became so famous. The diamond originally belonged to Harriet Annenberg Ames. It was later purchased by Robert Kenmore, the owner of Cartier, for a then record of $1,050,000, making it the first million-dollar diamond. The sale of the diamond to Burton is said to have brought so much publicity for Cartier that he is even said to have refused to take payment for it.