India’s love affair with jewellery is without parallel in the world- an unbroken tradition of acquiring diamonds and gemstones spanning 5,000 years. Indian origin diamonds has always had an incredible power over people. For its sake, men risked their lives, and women forgot about the reputation. Diamond mining as an industry appears to have originated between 800 and 600 B.C. in India. The most intensive mining was in a 60 km zone along the river, from the Kollur Mine to Paritala. This area was the source of many legendary gems, including the Koh-i-noor, Hope and Daria-i-Noor. We will have a look at interesting facts about these stones.
Origin- Near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh
Ownership- Legend says that the diamond is 5000 years old and was referred to in Sanskrit writings as the Syamantaka jewel. The Koh-i-Noor Diamond, also known as the Mountain of Light, has perhaps the most storied and turbulent past of all the famous diamonds. The gem is another product of India’s Kollur Mine, with its original weight estimated to be 793 carats (158.6 g) uncut. It was discovered in the 13th century at a recorded weight of 186 carats. It was acquired by the Khiljis of Delhi under the rulership of Alauddin Khilji in 1310. The diamond then kept switching ownership of the succeeding rulers of the Delhi Sultanate. In 1526 Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodi, from whom he acquired the diamond. Babur mentions the diamond in his memoir, the Baburnama.
After Babur, there is record that it adorned Shah Jahan’s Peacock throne. Passing from the hands to Persian ruler Nadir Shah, to Indian Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab after the assassination of the former, it saw many blood shed. In 1849, the British conquered Punjab and the Lahore treaty was proclaimed which mentioned that the stone be given to the Queen of England, by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
But the Koh-i-Noor has been the subject of India-Britain ownership dispute for nearly 70 years
Current Owner- Koh-i-Noor, 105.6 carats (21.12 g) is in the British Crown Jewels, London.
Estimated cost- More than $200 million
Origin- India- Golconda mines
Ownership- Legend has it that the stone became known to the West only after being stolen from a temple, where it was protected by a curse. Over the centuries its owners have enjoyed mixed fortunes. It’s first know owner was French Gem trader Jean- Baptiste Tavernier and was named as the Tavernier Blue. Tavernier sold the stone to King Louis XIV in 1668. Stolen in 1791, it was recut, with the largest section acquiring its “Hope” name when it appeared in the catalogue of a gem collection owned by a London banking family called Hope in 1839. With a weight of 45.52 carat (9. 10 grams). After going through numerous owners, it was sold to Washington socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean who was often seen wearing it. It was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston, who toured it for a number of years before giving it to Washington’s National Museum of Natural History in 1958, where it has since remained on permanent exhibition.
Current Owner- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC
Estimated cost- $350 million
Origin- India- Golcondo mines
Ownership- It was originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty, later it was looted by Turkic Khilji dynasty followed by Mughal emperors.
Daria-i-Noor means “Sea of light” in Persian, is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing an estimated 182 carats (36 g). Its colour, pale pink, is one of the rarest to be found in diamonds. The Daria-i-Noor is in the Iranian Crown Jewels of Central Bank of Iran in Tehran. In 1739, Nader Shah of Iran invaded Northern India and occupied Delhi. As payment for returning the crown of India to the Mughal emperor, Muhammad, he took possession of the entire fabled treasury of the Mughals, including the Daria-i-noor, in addition to the Koh-i-noor and the Peacock throne.
In 1965, a Canadian team conducting research on the Iranian Crown Jewels concluded that the Daria-i-Noor may well have been part of a large pink diamond that had been studded in the throne of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, and had been described in the journal of the French jeweller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier in 1642, who called it the Great Table diamond (“Diamanta Grande Table”). This diamond may have been cut into two pieces; the larger part is the Daria-i-Noor; the smaller part is believed to be the 60-carat (12 g) Noor-ul-Ain diamond, presently studded in a tiara also in the Iranian Imperial collection.
Estimated cost- Not known.