World Famous Diamonds
For the first time gemstones played only the role of talismans and were not used for adornments (only sometimes people mounted them into rings). So there was no any diamond cutting at this time. Perhaps the first adornment with uncut diamonds was the crown of the Hungarian king dated by 1074 year.
Only four hundred years later the mass production of brilliants began in Europe. In XVI century romantic English youth scratched passionate declarations on the house's walls with diamonds because of this such adornments were named “scratched ones”. The largest world center of diamond cutting for a long time was Antwerp. In 1585 the production of gemstones was carried to Amsterdam after Spaniards attacked this Antwerp. Englishmen made London the second largest center of diamond cutting after they captured India.
Today jewelers from Belgium, India, Israel, South Africa and USA also reached high skill. Famous diamonds left their trace in history pulled after them mysterious trace. People who had passion to this gem sometimes payed too high price for possession of the diamond.
The largest of ever found diamonds up to present time is considered to be “Cullinan”. Initially its weight was 3106 carats. It was called by the name of sir Thomas Cullinan, the president of the company “Premier diamond mine”.
This diamond was found in the mine of this company. Then the gem was sold to the government of Transvaal at 750 000 dollars (of that time). The government of Transvaal solemnly presented “Cullinan” to English king Edward VII in his birthday. Specialists consider that this gem is only the part of larger diamond. Many adventurers up to present time try to find the mystique second part but this stays only a beautiful legend.
Brothers Asher worked with Cullinan who were the famous cutters from Amsterdam. Once they proved their skills in 1903 when they cut the diamond “Excelsior” (the second gem in size in the world) which was found in the mine “Yagersfontein” in South Africa.
It was decided to saw “Cullinan” into many small gems of different weight. On the 10th of February in 1908 the historic sawing of the diamond was carried out. The stress was so strong that Joseph Asher fainted away when he decided that the first determinant section made by him was wrong. But everything was all right and as a result 9 large and 96 small gems were received. Several months were need for their cutting. 65% of mass was lost during cutting. Among the largest gems received after sawing of the diamond “Cullinan” was “Cullinan I” or “The Great Star of Africa” with the weight 530,20 carats. It became the the largest brilliant in the world (other 8 gems were called “Lesser Stars of Africa”). Brothers Asher got 102 diamonds from 105 for cutting from the King. And “The Great Star of Africa” still decorates the king's scepter.
This diamond for the first time was called “The Mountain of Light” in XVIII century. It is not the largest one in the treasury of Britain crown but because of its history this diamond became one of the most legendary gem in the world. Now it is kept in mailed glass in London Tower.
According to Indian legend the child was found on the shore of the river Yamun; the nice diamond shined in his forehead; this was Koh-i-Nor. The daughter of drover of elephants take the new-born child and bring him to the court. This child was Carna, the son of the god of Sun. The gem which pure mass was 600 carats was erected on the statue of the god Shiva in the place of the third eye which caused enlightenment.
In annals this diamond was mentioned for the first time in 1304. At this time it was the property of rajah Malva. During two centuries there was no any information about this diamond. Only in 1526 it was found among treasures of Babur who layed the basis of Great Mughal dynasty.
Mughals kept diamond for two hundreds years up to 1739 when the ruler of Persia Nadir-Shax sacked Deli. After the shax was killed in 1747 his son who inherited the gem preferred to die from tortures but didn't gave out the legendary diamond. Then “Koh-i-Nor” change its owners many times, it was in the hands of Afghans, Sikhs and in 1849 it fell into hands of Englishmen during East Indian company. Brilliant was given by heir of Sikhs who was twelve years old. The heir promised not to pretend to the power in the own country in exchange on the life maintenance and enclose the splendid diamond to the treaty.
The diamond under great guarding was sent on the ship “Medeya” in London where it was presented to the Queen Victoria on the 250th anniversary of East Indian company. It was showed to the society in the World exhibition in the Crystal Palace in 1851.But the gem didn't cause the sensation: because of the Indian cutting its brilliance was dull. The queen called the famous diamond cutter Voorsanger from the company Coster from Amsterdam and asked him to cut “The Mountain of Light”. This cutting decreased the weight of the diamond from 186 to 108,93 carats. After that “Koh-i-Nor” shined with all its facets in the queen's brooch and much more later - in the queen's crown.
Nobody knew the real origin of “Koh-i-Nor”. But it be suggested that this diamond was found in the diamond mines of Bijapura in the center of India which was the single source of diamonds in the world up to XVIII century.
Not only the English queen can boast by splendid adornments. The famous brilliant “Orlov” crowns the tsar's scepter of Russia. The diamond which became the base of this brilliant with green and blue tint and mass in 200 carats (or 40 grammes) was found in Golconda in India in the beginning of XVI century.
The diamond was cut in the form of “high rose” with mass of 300 carats. Shax Jehan was not satisfied by its cutting and the brilliant was remade. So the diamond got the modern form and its mass decreased to 200 carats. The diamond was put in the throne of shax Nadir whoa occupied Deli in 1737. At this time its name was “Derianor” (“The Sea of Light”). The brilliant was stolen and appeared in the market of Amsterdam where count Orlov bought the diamond for 400 thousands of rubles in 1773 for Catherine II. Tsarina enjoined to put the brilliant in her golden scepter.
By its color and shining the brilliant is similar with the diamond “Koh-i-Nor”. Shax Nadir put this diamond in pair with “Koh-i-Nor” in peacock's throne. The diamond was the second eye of the tsar bird. The researchers consider that both diamonds are the parts of the giant diamond The Great Muhgal (787,5 carats). This brilliant was lost in mysterious circumstances. Some time later “Koh-i-Nor” and “Derianor” (“Orlov”, “Amsterdam”, “Lazarev”) began their travel from hand to hand.
The alternative version
The Armenian merchant Shaffras soiled the brilliant from East in Europe in the middle of XVIII century and put it in Amsterdam bank. Then he sold a half of the diamond to Lazarev – by this we can explain many of the names of the diamond and the significant change in the weight. Single cutting can cause such loss of the weight. The initial weight of the diamond was over 400 carats and today – less then 200 carats. The signatures of Lazarev and Orlov were in the documents but the history with the present seems to be doubtful. Most likely they operated with fiscal money because it's not possible to tsarina to buy gemstones with doubtful reputation. The favourite made this for her.
Today “Orlov” is among seven best gemstones of Diamond Fund.
The history of the diamond “Sancy” is very complicated: perhaps the history of two and more gemstones were interlaced. In description the diamond has almond-shaped form and is covered with many small facets in both sides. Probably it's one of the diamonds bought in 1570 in Constantinople Nrcola Arle by senior de Sancy who was the ambassador of France at the court of Ottoman.
In the end of the century when he was the ambassador at the court of Saint Jacob Sancy sold the diamond to the Queen Elisabeth. Over 100 years later the gemstone was sold by Jacob II to Louis XIV, the king of France for 625 000 franks (over 25000 pounds). Later it was valued at 1 000 000 franks (over 40 000 pounds). On the 17th of August in 1792 it was stolen. It was 55 carats in weight. There was the version that the diamond belonged to Carl the Brave and was stolen from his dead body on the fatal field in Nancy in 1477 by marauder but there is less of evidences for confidence. Next mention about the gem is referred to 1828 when it was sold to prince Demidov. “Sancy” was demonstrated on the Paris Exhibition in 1867 and then it was bought by lord Astor as a wedding present for son.
The diamond was again demonstrated in Paris on the exhibition “Ten centuries of France jewelery business”; it was still belonged to Astor family.
The destiny of an other nice gem belonged to Russian manufacturer Pavel Demidov – the famous “Sancy” is still unknown. For a long time it was in the treasury of Indian rulers and then by unknown ways fall into Europe. According to the legend the man who wore this diamond was invulnerable for any kind of arm, because of this one of its famous owners – Carl the Brave commanded to put the gem into his galea. During one of the fight the galea was lost and on the next day Carl died. Swiss soldiers found it and sold it for one gulden.
In the end diamond turned out in the collection of marquis de Sancy and got its own name. Once somebody tried to steal the brilliant but faithful servitor had time to swallow the treasure and then died. Soon the diamond passed to french kings and decorated the fastening of the Louis XIV (the king-sun) for a long time. But during French Revolution “Sancy” was stolen from royal treasury. Pavel Demidov bought the brilliant as the present to his dear wife who soon unfortunately became a widow.
After her death “Sancy” by strange way passed to lord Astor and then mystically appeared in collection of Elisabeth Teylor. But nobody exactly can say what really was happened with this gemstone and where it is today.
The Star of South Africa
“The Star of South Africa”. In 1869 in the area of Houptown herdsman Bouy found the diamond with pure weight 83,50 carats. He brought the diamond to the farmer Shalk Van Naiker who lived near. The farmer bought this diamond for 500 sheep, 10 bulls and his horse. The news of this find caused the inroad of thousands of adventurers. The diamond of the herdsman Bouy called “The Star of South Africa” after its cutting as “droplet”began to weight 47,75 carats. In 1974 it was sold by auction “Christis” for 552000 dollars and turned out in Geneva.
“Regent” . One of the famous historic gems, the largest (mass 136,75 carats)among diamonds kept in Louvre. It was found in mines of Golconda, India by Indian slave in 1700 who cut his hip and hid it in the wound under the bandage. English sailor promised freedom to the slave for the diamond but when he got the gem he killed the slave. Then sailor sold the diamond for 1000 pounds to Pitt - English governor of the St. George fort.
Up to 1717 the gem carried his name. In 1717 the duke Orleanskii – regent of France – bought the gem for Louis XV for 3375 thousands franks. In 1792 during the plunder of the Royal Palace the diamond was lost but later was found. The republic government of France pawned the diamond to the rich Moscow merchant Treskov.
The general Bonaparte (Napoleon I) got it out of pawn and commanded to put it into sword-hilt. In 1886 during the sale of treasures of french crown “Regent” was sold for 6 millions franks for museum Louvre.
“The Centenery”. The weight of the diamond before cutting was 600 carats, after cutting it became 274 carats. It has 274 facets. It got its name in De Beers one hundredth anniversary. It was found in the mine “Premier” in July 1986. Group of cutters need three years for cutting of this diamond. It takes the third place in the world and let in the weight only “The great Star of Africa” and “The Lesser Star of Africa”. It is the largest gemstone without defects of the highest color category. It was exhibited in the museum of London Tower for the first time in 1991.
The Hope Diamond. The famous blue “Hope Diamond” is considered to be the most unhappy and powerful in the world. It killed his owners with methodicalness of killer.
According to the legend this diamond was found in the mines of Collur near Golconda. French traveler Tavernie saw it in Indian temple. The gem decorated one of the gods in the temple. Tavernie became the owner of the diamond and in 1669 he brought it to France. At that time it s weight was 112 carats and in size was as the ball for golf. It was in three times larger then today.
Collection of the traveler was enjoyed by Louis XIV and he payed for it over 100 millions dollars in modern money.
King of France liked the large blue diamond best of all. Four years later the king decided to give the diamond more shining. After polyshing and cutting the gem became like a “heart” and his weight decreased on 67 carats. The news about this diamond spread all over Europe. The diamond was called “French Blue's”.
The wicked fate of the diamond showed later. First the king changed his favourite whom he presented this diamond. Then his son, brother, grandchild and his wife died.
In September 1715 the King-Sun also died. All treasures were inherited by his great-grandson. First of all he commanded to decorate the order of Golden Fleece with blue diamond.
Only after French Revolution all who wanted could see the treasures of the crown. The guarding of the exhibition was bad as a result many diamonds from royal collection was stolen. The most of gems were returned by policy but the blue diamond disappeared. It was impossible to sold this diamond so the new cutting was necessary. Cutting was made in Amsterdam.
In 1812 the blue diamond (its size became 2,5 cm)appeared in London. New owner Eliason sold the diamond in 1830 at 30 thousands pounds (1,1 millions of dollars) to Henry Philip Hope. Form that time the diamond is called under his name.
Today Hope Diamond is in the Museum of natural history in Smit Institute in Washington. His weight today is 45,52 carats. It is cut in the form of a pillow. It's color is Fancy dark graish-blue. The color of this diamond is connected with the presence of boron in it which provides blue tinge and features of semiconductor. Blue diamonds often can phosphorescent (the type of luminescence) – the ability to light after radiation with the source of ultraviolet lightening. The color of luminescence is red.
Today the blue Hope Diamond decorates the diamond necklace whose author is Pierre Cartier. The central gemstone is surrounded with 16 colorless diamonds cut in the form of pear. 45 colorless diamonds are fixed in the chain of necklace.