It’s hard to imagine that such beautiful and precious objects have been the source of so much conflict and have at times exposed the darker side of human nature. The story of diamonds is one of fraud, corruption, exploitation, thievery and murder. Yet in spite of this diamonds represent dignity, reverence and unparalleled beauty. They are the symbols we give to our loved ones to mark special occasions and as a token of our adulation. They are considered exotic, rare and eternal. Our ancestors considered diamonds to have healing and spiritual properties, and they were revered by royalty and statesman as symbols of power, wealth and prominence.
Most of the famous diamonds that we know today originated from the Golconda region of India. India was the first region to be mined for diamonds. In the 18th century South Africa and Brazil became the principle diamond suppliers. Later there were discoveries in Australia, Russia and Africa. There are a number of diamonds that we consider famous today, either because of their size, history or rarity. However most of these diamonds are in museums. There are countless others that have gone missing over the years. These gems have usually been bought by private collectors or been stolen, often never too be seen again.
The Hope diamond: The Hope diamond is a 44.50 carat, rare dark blue diamond. Its past is steeped in mystery and suspicion because many believe it to be the French Blue diamond. The French Blue was stolen from the royal treasury of Louis XIV at the time of the French revolution. The diamond was bought and named by Henry Philip Hope a British collector, and later purchased by Harry Winston who gifted the diamond to its present owners the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
photobucket.com: the Hope diamond.
Koh-i-Noor diamond: Koh-i-Noor means mountain of light in Persian. The diamonds existence can be traced back to 1304, when it belonged to the Raja of Malwa. The diamond was taken by the Mongul Empire who ruled Persia at that time and later, it is written that Nadir Shah, conquer of the Monguls, tricked Mogul emperor Mohamed Shah into obtaining the diamond for himself. The diamond fell into British hands and became the property of Queen Victoria in 1849. In 1936 it was set into the crown of the queen mother and is now on display at the Tower of London.
photobucket.com: Koh-i-Noor diamond.
photobucket.com: the Koh-i-Noor diamond is set in the crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
The Cullinan: In 1905 a humungous diamond was found in the wall of the Premier Mine in South Africa. The diamond weighed an astounding 3,106 carats and is too date the largest diamond ever found. The diamond was taken to Amsterdam where with great precision and difficulty it was cleaved into nine separate gems plus a cluster of smaller stones. The two largest of these cut diamonds was the Cullinan I and the Cullinan II. The Cullinan I weighs 530.20(star of Africa) carats and was set in the royal sceptre of the British crown jewels. The Cullinan II weighs 317.40 and is also part of the crown jewels. It was set in the British Imperial State Crown.
photobucket.com: Cullinan I, Star of Africa.
photobucket.com: Cullinan II.