Drop diamond (pear shaped)
the Middle Ages, the monopoly of the diamond trade was divided amongst
the Arabs and the Persians, and all the diamonds that reached Europe
were raw diamonds, that is uncut. The first of these large, valuable
stones came to Europe through heists and spoils of war and only in the
Middle Ages did the diamond become the King of Precious Stones, and
remained so naturally for a long time among its peers: at the Royal
Court. The Monarchs treasured the diamond as a sign of prosperity and
power. A man whose name is inextricably linked with this history was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.
This diamond expert from Antwerp brought several diamonds from the
Orient and India into Europe, and among those were twenty stones
between 30 and 50 carats! A couple of diamonds achieved immense fame
later, for example the “Kohinoor” or the
Diamond”, which according to legend were removed from the
of a God, Deity Vishnu.
[Some of the most famous diamonds with their histories… Open here]
Agra | Idol’s Eye | Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond | Cora Sun Drop | Centenary | Cullinan (Great Star of Africa) | Dresden’s Green Diamond | Archduke Joseph | Eureka | Excelsior | Florentine | Golden Jubilee | Great Mogul | Hope Diamond | Incomparable | Jacob Diamond | Jonker | Koh-i-noor | Lesotho Promise | Spoon Maker | Nassak | Orlov | President Vargas | Regent or Pitt | Sancy | Shah | Star of Sierra Leone | Taylor Burton Diamond
This rose coloured Indian diamond, whose exact origin is unfortunately not known, came to Europe in quite an adventurous way. It got its name initially from the lore of the Indian Emperor Babur, the founder of the Mongol Empire in India, who wore this diamond in the battle of Agra in the year 1526. Babur’s relatively small army emerged victorious over the huge army of Ibrahim Lodi, who was killed in battle. With the death of Ibrahim, the Sultanate in Delhi ended, and in its place came the Mogul Empire. During the massive Indian rebellion against the British colonial rulers, (Sepoy Mutiny), in the year 1857, this diamond was found in the possession of the King of Delhi and was then acquired by the English. One comes to know how this diamond was smuggled into Europe from Officer Mosques of Donnegall, who was involved in the fight against the mutiny. This magnificent diamond, in accordance with the customary handling of the other similar war booty, was also brought along for further distribution. This was, however, not liked by the regiment officer and he decided to keep this special diamond for himself. In order to bring it to the ship, which the troops were taking back home, unobserved, the diamond was kneaded into a clump in horse-fodder and then pushed down the throat of a horse. Shortly thereafter, the horse fell sick and was shot. The diamond was secretly removed from the cadaver of the horse, and later sold in England. The diamond then came into the possession of Karl II, Duke of Braunschweig, who was however banished in 1830 by the people of Braunschweig because of his lavishness. From his estate, the diamond reached London once again, where it was auctioned off at Christie’s in 1905. At the time, it fetched the high price of £5100.
The “Idol’s Eye”
This diamond was found sometime in the 16th or 17th century in the diamond mines at Kollur near Golkonda; the exact time of this discovery is not known. The stone weighed 70.21 carats (14,042 gm) and its cut resembled a flattened drop. At the beginning, before the first reports appeared in Europe, many legends surrounded the diamond. Presumably, the diamond had framed the eye of the statue of a Hindustani God in a temple in Bangladesh from where it had been stolen. In any case, one can assume that the name of the diamond originated from this, as it had indeed truly once served as the eye of a God’s statue. In any event it came to London through some unknown way and it was here that it was given its first written record, when it was sold in the Christie’s auction house in 1865. Till its present anonymous owner, the diamond belonged to the following persons: Till 1908, the diamond was owned by the 34th Sultan of the Kingdom of Osmania, Abdul Hamid II. He led a harsh regime and oppressed the people. As the opposition became stronger, Abdul Hamid secured his riches, and the diamond once again appeared in Paris in the possession of the trader Solomon Habib. In 1909, this diamond was sold in an auction house to a Spanish aristocrat. The Spaniard kept the Idol’s Eye securely in a safe deposit box in London and with it, the trail of the Idol’s Eye was lost once again for a longer period. Only after the second world war did the ‘Idol’s Eye’ reappear. In 1947 the diamond was the property of Mrs May Bonfils Stanton, the daughter of the publisher of the ‘Denver Post’. In USA, she was known for her exceptional beauty, and she had the diamond put in a pedant in a necklace. The necklace had 41 brilliant round diamonds with a total weight of 22.50 carats plus 45 smaller diamonds of about 12 carats. In 1962 the diamond necklace was auctioned off, earning a proud price of US$ 375,000. The buyer was the jeweller, Harry Levinson from Chicago, who presented it to his wife Marilyn. In 1979, Harry lent the necklace for an exhibition to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1982, the diamond was sold to the famous diamond trader, Laurence Graff of London, who once again along with two more diamonds sold it to an anonymous buyer in 1983. It is believed that the ‘Idol’s Eye’ is still in the possession of this unknown person.
The “Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond”
This natural blue diamond was found in the year 1666 in the diamond city of Golkonda. The origin of the diamond is unfortunately not known. Before it was re-cut in 2009, the cut diamond weighed 35.5. carats (7.1 gm). Here are some well known stops: In December 1666, in Vienna, King Leopold I married Margarita Theresa of Spain, who got the diamond from her father, King Philip IV, as part of her marriage dowry. Likewise, the diamond came once again as dowry in 1772 to Bavaria, into the House of the Wittelsbach. It was here that for the first time it was recorded in writing as the ‘blue diamond’. The Elector Maximillian Joseph III gave it the classification of the ‘Blue Wittelsbach” in 1761 in his ‘Order of the Golden Fleece,’ which was founded through the knightly order in 1430. In 1806, as Electoral Maximillian Joseph was crowned the first king of Bayern, the diamond became the main stone in the crown. In 1921, the diamond was seen for the last time on the king’s crown at the burial of King Ludwig III. The House of Wittelsbach sold the diamond in 1951 because of liquidity problems and finally after circuiting several jewellers, it ended in 1964 with the department store tycoon Helmut Horten. In 2008, the stone was sold to the London based jeweller Laurence Graff for €1.4 million, who gave it a new cut in 2009. The diamond thus lost 4 carats, and weighs 31.06 (6.212 gm) today. Laurence Graff sold the stone in 2011 for US$ 80 million, the possible buyer being Sheikh Hamid bin Chalifa Al Thani.
The “Cora Sun Drop”
The “Cora Sun Drop” with a weight of 110.3 carats (22.06 gm) is the biggest ever yellow diamond to be found. It was found in South Africa in 2010, but its exact location is not clearly specified. Before its recent sale in an auction by Sotheby’s in Geneva for over €9 Million, it belonged to the diamond manufacturer, “Cora International” in New York, who had cut it in the current, modern drop shape. The intensive yellow colour, named as ‘fancy-vivid-yellow’ by the GIA (Gemmological Institute of America), is also the highest quality for a diamond, and makes it particularly special among the yellow diamonds. The yellow colour arises out of minimal nitrogen deposit in the crystalline structure of carbon atoms of the diamonds. This deposit absorbs the blue and ultraviolet light, so that the reflected light seems yellow.
This 599.10 carat (119.82 gm) diamond was discovered in the year 1986 in the Premier Mine in South Africa with the “Electric X-Ray Recovery System”, whereby the rock was illuminated with x-rays. Two x-ray spectra can be used to identify different materials including diamonds. After the cutter, Gabi Tolkowsky, cut and polished it, this extraordinary diamond weighed 273 carats (54.6 gm). On March 11, 1988, the company De Beers began its 100th year celebration. The management of the company, Julian Ogilvie Thompson, ended his address in the following manner: “We have discovered, in our Premier Mine, a 599 carat diamond of perfect colour – it is, as a matter of fact, the biggest diamond with a colour of the highest quality ever found. Obviously thus, in tune with our hundred-year celebration, this diamond is named “Centenary Diamond”.
The “Cullinan” (Great Star of Africa)
The Cullinan Diamond was found in 1905 in the Premier Mine in Cullinan in South Africa and with a weight of 3106.75 carats (621.35 gm), it is the biggest rough diamond ever to be found. The mine is located 38 km east of Pretoria and the place, just like the mine and the diamond, takes the name of the mine owner. The stone was discovered only nine meters under the earth’s surface in this mine, which is still operational. Meanwhile, the mine has reached a maximum depth of 763 metres. Visitors are also offered an underground tour. The rough diamond was bought by the administration of the British Colony of Transvaal in 1907 and then gifted, as an acknowledgment of thanks for conceding to colonial self-governance, to the British King Edward VII. A year later, the diamond was cut into a total of 105 stones (!), specifically nine big diamonds and 96 smaller ones, by the famous Dutch diamond cutter Joseph Asscher of Amsterdam. The nine big diamonds can be found today, as a part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. The biggest diamond is Cullinan I and weighs 530.2 carats (106.04 gm) and is become famous in the name of ‘Great Star of Africa’. It was cut in a drop shape and put into the royal sceptre of King Edward VII. It can also be removed and worn as a pendant. Queen Alexandra wore the Cullinan II (the ‘Lesser Star of Africa’), as a brooch, for the opening of the Parliament in the year 1909. The Cullinan II weighed 317.4 carats (63.48gm) and was embedded on the front side of the British Royal Crown, along with the Diamonds Cullinan III and Cullinan IV.
The “Dresden’s Green Diamond”
The history of the diamond can be securely traced back to the year 1722, when it was cut from a rough diamond weighing 119.5 carats (23.9 gm) in London. The location where it was found is believed to be in India. With a weight of 41 carats (8.2 gm) it is the biggest cut natural green diamond. As far as its green colour is concerned, it is believed that it was exposed to natural radioactivity in its repository. King August III of Sachsen bought the diamond in the year 1742 and had it incorporated into the ‘Order of the Golden Fleece’. In 1768 Friedrich August I had it inserted as a hat ornament, which became a part of the Sachsen Crown Jewels. When the diamond was brought as war booty to the Soviet Union after the second World War, between 1945 to 1958, it once again became a part of the Green Vault Collection in Dresden, the most extensive baroque treasure and art collection of Europe.
The “Archduke Joseph”
The diamond was found in the Indian mine in Golkonda in the 16th or 17th century and weighs 76.02 carats (15.204 gm). It acquired its name from the Archduke Joseph August of Austria (1872-1962). The Archduke embodied the perfect mix of size, colour and purity. Alfred Molina who had bought the diamond in 1999 from a private anonymous proprietor, had the original 78.54 carats (15.708 gm) diamond cut, in order to eliminate small inclusions, turning it into a magnificently precious ‘D’ Grade (GIA). Since when the diamond came to belong to the treasure of the Habsburg is not known. What is assured is that the Archduke Joseph August of Austria called the diamond his own. Perhaps earlier the stone belonged to Empress Sissi? After all, Auguste, the wife of the Archduke, the grandchild of the Monarch, was not only known for her beauty and intelligence, but also for her weakness for expensive shiny stones. In the jewellery collection of the wife of the Emperor Franz Joseph, not less than 27 bejewelled stars were found, which could be braided into the hair. A diamond like the Archduke Joseph would certainly have done well in such a collection. Joseph August bequeathed the diamond to his son Joseph Franz in his younger years, who deposited it in a Hungarian bank in 1933. After the Second World War, the stone was supposedly passed on to a European Banker. The invaluable diamond was missing for decades, up until 1961, when it suddenly emerged at an auction house in London. The stone found no buyer and once again disappeared from the public eye. When in 1993, it was offered for sale at Christie’s by an anonymous owner, it ensured a sensational result of US$ 6.5 million. But even then the buyer remained anonymous, from whom finally, Alfred J. Molina, the jeweller from Phoenix bought the stone in order to sell it once again to a person unknown to the public. So much lay shrouded in darkness. But this accounted for the charm of the diamond, which is not only known for its rare beauty, but also the fact that it had turned from a piece of coal into a diamond after laying under the earth for millions of years, and was known to be as clear as water and as hard as nothing else natural in this world.
The ‘Eureka’ was the first diamond to be discovered in the year 1867 in South Africa, marking thus the change of an epoch of diamonds from Brazil to South Africa. With a weight of 10.73 carats (2.15 gm), it is not particularly big and because of its colour and a few inclusions, nor is it particularly valuable as a diamond, but it is most famous because of its history. The son of a famer, Erasmus Jacobs found it while playing on the River Oranje, and was attracted by the striking shine of this yellow stone. Erasmus’ mother handed it over to a dealer with the words, “Keep it if you like it!” The diamond is named after the famous claim from Archimedes (“Eureka – I have found it”) and it was exhibited at the Paris World Fair in 1867. Then Sir Philip Wodehouse, the then Governor of the Cape-Province bought it and took it to England. In 1946 the diamond was sold, as a part of a bracelet for £5700, at an auction by Christie’s in London. In 1967, exactly hundred years after its discovery, the De Beers Company bought the diamond and handed it over to the State of South Africa. Today, the diamond can be found in the Mine Museum in Kimberly.
The place of discovery of this rough diamond weighing 995.2 carat (199.04 gm) was the South African mine Jagersfontein. The mine worker received £500 and a horse with saddle and bridle as a reward. Typical for the diamonds of this mine, it too was a beautiful blue-white colour. This huge diamond was additionally of an excellent quality, even though it had a few inner inclusions. The diamond was split into 22 smaller diamonds by the Dutch Diamond Cutter Asscher. These were sold separately, of which three were bought by Tiffany & Co. in New York City. The names of the other buyers are not known. The biggest diamond weighed 373.75 carats and can be found in the possession of Robert Mouawad in Paris.
The “Florentine Diamond”
The “Florentine” was a famous historical diamond with a weight of 137.2 carats (27.44 gm) cut in the shape of drop briolette. It was also called the ‘Grand Duke of Tuscany’ or the ‘Austrian’; it possessed, at the time of its disappearance in the year 1921, a yellow colour, excellent purity and an outstanding brilliance. It was considered to be the fourth biggest diamond in the world. Unfortunately, its origin is unknown and is thus surrounded by several legends and stories, but nothing that is known to be certain. There are several, relatively complex and verbose versions, one of which, I relate here in short. According to this version, the Portuguese armed forces acquired the rough diamond from the King of Vijaynagar in India and brought it to their colony in Goa. Ludovico Castro, Earl of Montesanto, the then Governor of Goa sold it to Ferdinand I, the Archduke of Tuscany. The diamond was then given to the Venetian Pompeo Studendoli for it to be cut. It then reached the House of Habsburg, where it was embedded into the Crown. As a wedding gift for Maria Theresa’s daughter, Marie Antoinette, the diamond was taken to France in 1770. Its whereabouts during the French Revolution are unknown. Napoleon was then supposed to have given it as a wedding gift to Marie-Louise of Austria. After Napoleon had to abdicate his monarchy in 1814, Marie-Louise left France to go to Austria. Her personal possessions were confiscated by the French State, but the diamond reached Austria via an Adjutant, where her father, Franz I, had the diamond inserted into the Austrian royal crown. In the year 1888, Emperor Franz Joseph had the diamond fit into a necklace for his wife “Sissi”. She wore this piece of jewellery only once in the year 1888 during an official visit of the German Emperor. It travelled through the turmoil of World War I, after which the diamond landed in the Swiss National Bank in Zurich and the property of the Habsburg Family was nationalised and title of nobility in Austria abolished. After further turmoil in the family in Hungary, the entire family jewellery was lost and the diamond has been missing since then.
The “Golden Jubilee”
With a weight of 545.67 carats (109.13 gm), this is the biggest existing cut diamond; as a rough diamond, it weighed 755 carats (151 gm). Like the Cullinan Diamond, it too was found in the Premier Mine in Cullinan in South Africa. At first, it was named ‘The Nameless Brown’ because of its colour. The famous diamond cutter Tolowsky worked on this diamond for a year and turned it into a modern “Fire-Rose-Cushion-Cut” with the colour “fancy-yellow-brown” and a total of 148 perfectly symmetrical facets. Maintaining the total weight of over 72% was extraordinary, because as a rule, the ratio of a rough diamond to the cut diamond is about 50%. In 1995, a Thai syndicate bought the Golden Jubilee from De Beers. This group of investors then gifted this stone in 1997 to King Bhumibol of Thailand on his 50th year throne jubilee. It was at this time that this hitherto unknown diamond, received its name.
The “Great Mogul”
The Great Mogul with a weight of 797.5 carats (159.5 gm) is the fifth biggest and most popular diamond in the world. It was found in the year 1650 in the Indian mine of Kollur in Golkonda. (The information regarding its size varies). It acquired its name from the title of a great Mogul, since it was worn during the time of the Mogul Empire in India. This diamond was a part of the symbol of power of the Mogul Empire in India, like the precious “Peacock Throne” and the “Koh-i-Noor”, another great and famous diamond. A legend claimed that in the 17th century, the diamond was cut like a rose by Hortenio Borgis, a Venetian diamond cutter. Since the conquest of Delhi in the year 1739 by Nadir Shah, this diamond is considered to have disappeared. Other sources state that the “Orlov’, a stone that has been cut in the Indian rose-cut style is a part of the Great Mogul. This theory is however contradicted by several historians.
The “Hope Diamond”
Between 1630 and 1663, the French jeweller Tavernier took many trips to Persia and India, where he visited the diamond cities in order to bring beautiful precious stones back to France. On one of the trips to India, Tavarnier managed to befriend the notorious Mogul King, Aurangzeb, who allowed Tavarnier to visit his enormous collection of crown jewels. One of the diamonds that Tavernier brought along from one of his earlier trips to India, was a deep blue diamond, which was found in a tributary of the Indian river Kooleron. Tavernier’s King, “Sun King” Louis XIV bought this 110.50 carat (22.1 gm) heavy diamond from him and had it cut in the shape of a heart weighing 60.03 carats (13.81 gm). Louis XV, his great-grandchild had it incorporated into the Order of the Golden Fleece, where it stayed until the French Revolution. During the great robbery of the crown jewels in 1792, among others, the blue diamond, also known in the meanwhile as the “Tavernier Blue” or the “French Blue”, disappeared. In the beginning of the 19th century, the blue diamond appeared once again in London in a newly cut form, and was purchased by the famous banker Henry Philip Hope. The diamond acquired its current name, “Hope Diamond” at the “Universal Exposition” in 1855 in Paris. The Parisian jeweller Cartier bought it in 1910, and then it came into the possession of the Evelyn Walsh McLean, who wore it as pendant on a diamond necklace. This piece of jewellery served as a model for “Heart of the Ocean” in the film, “Titanic”. In 1949, the jeweller Harry Winston acquired the diamond, and then sent the “only” 45.52 carat (9.1 gm) heavy “Hope Diamond” with a $151 insurance in a package with $2.44 postage to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, where it is visited even today. Its current worth today is estimated at up to US$ 250 million. The blue diamond, according to legend, was stolen from a holy shrine, before Tavernier purchased it and brought it to Europe. A curse is said to have caused bad luck to many of its different owners - perhaps this was the reason for the generous donations made by Harry Winston?
This flawless diamond with the colour “fancy-brownish-yellow” was found in the year 1980 in Mbugi Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a rough diamond, it weighed 890 carats (178gm), and as a cut diamond with a weight of 407.5 carats (81.5gm), it is the third largest diamond in existence. Initially, the diamond was purchased by the De Beers company, before it was sold off to the Zale Company. A big challenge for the cutter Marvin Samuels was the strong irregular shape and the small cracks on the surface. The decision, whether to let the diamond remain as one big stone (which would have surpassed the size of the Cullinan I Diamond) or be cut and separated in many smaller stones of better quality, as well as on the cut itself, took totally four years. In such time a big diamond with a three corner step-cut and fourteen smaller diamonds of the highest quality was created. The Incomparable was known to have been auctioned off in 1988 in New York, where even the minimum price of US$ 20 million could not be reached.
The “Jacob Diamond”
The Jacob-Diamond was discovered in 1884 (or perhaps 1891) in India. It was a colourless diamond with a weight of 400 carats (80 gm), which was then cut in 58 facets and later weighed “only” 184.5 carats (36.90 gm). In 1891, Alexander Malcolm Jacob attempted to sell the diamond. Very few people worldwide were wealthy enough to be able to afford such a stone. Thus, Jacob offered the diamond to the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahbub Ali Khan. He showed little interest, because the diamond was too big for a ring or a button. However, he bought the diamond at a low price and used it as a paperweight. Its owner till 1995, was the Nizam of the princely state of Hyderabad. After the death of the last Nizam, the Indian government bought the entire jewellery collection of the Nizam for US$ 70 million including the Jacob Diamond. The estimated value of the diamond alone is US$ 150 million. Currently it can be found in the Reserve Bank of India in Mumbai. The Jacob Diamond was also called the “Imperial Diamond” or the “Great White Diamond” and is the seventh biggest diamond in the world. In has never been unequivocally clarified in which mine it was found.
With a weight of 726 carats (145.2 gm), the “Jonker Diamond” is the eight biggest diamond ever to be found. Johannes Jonker, after whom the diamond is named, found it in in 1934 near Pretoria in South Africa and sold it to the then famous jeweller Harry Winston. He commissioned the cutter, Lazare Kaplan with the splitting and cutting of the stone, and from this big rough diamond emerged 13 smaller diamonds. The biggest from all the cut diamonds retained the name Jonker, and it still weighed 142.90 carats (28.58 gm). In 1937 the diamond was cut in a new rectangular form with more brilliance, whereby its weight dropped to 125.35 carats (25.07gm); however, it is considered till today as the most perfect cut diamond! King Farouk of Egypt purchased this diamond in 1949 and then somehow - in an unknown manner, it came into the possession of Queen Ratna of Nepal. Then in 1977, it went under the hammer in Honk Kong in a private auction, fetching a price of US$2.26 million. A few smaller stones were also bought by the Maharaja of Indore and John D. Rockefeller Jr. With a weight of 40.29 carats (8.058 gm), the Jonker II was sold for US$ 1.97 million in 1994 at an auction by Sotheby’s.
The name of this diamond comes from Persia and means “Mountain of Lights”. It is one of the most famous historical diamonds and like many others of this kind, it originated from the central Indian mine of Golkonda. In books, this diamond is mentioned for the first time in 1304, when it was stolen by Sultan Ala du-Din Khalji; it served as a jewel in the magnificent peacock throne in Delhi. The stone reached the hands of the Persian King Nadir Shah after he conquered Delhi in the year 1739. According to legend, a lady from the harem revealed to the conqueror that the famous diamond was hidden in the turban of the Great Mogul. The Shah then proposed to the Great Mogul during a grand ceremony to exchange turbans – a rejection of such an offer would have been a great affront, and that’s how the Shah came into the possession of the diamond. Seeing the diamond, he called out happily, “Koh-i-Noor”. After the murder of the Persian Shah in 1747, the diamond reached the Treasury of Punjab. This state was annexed by British-India in 1849 and the possession of the diamond was passed over to the British East India Company. In 1850 the East India Company celebrated its 250th Founding Anniversary and this diamond was gifted to the British Queen Victoria on this occasion. But she desired more brilliance and fire from the diamond, and she had the original 186-carat (37.2 gm) diamond cut to its current weight of 108.93 carats (21.786 gm). The Koh-i-noor was then used as the centre stone in the crown by Queen Mary during coronation in 1911. Finally, in 1937 it was embedded into the crown of the Queen Elizabeth, the later Queen Mother. The Koh-i-Noor can be seen along with the other British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
The “Lesotho Promise”
This diamond with a weight of 603 carats (120.6 gm) was found in 2006 in the diamond mine Letseng in South Africa. In the list ranking of the biggest diamonds ever found, it lies at number 15. But for its extraordinary, light radiant colour, it occupies the first place for the purity of its colour. In the year 2006, the diamond trader, Laurence Graff bought the diamond at an auction on behalf of the company, Safdico for US$ 12.36 million. He had it split and cut in Antwerp in 26 small single stones of weights between 0.52 and 76.41 carats. All the small diamonds together weighed 223.25 carats (44.65 gm) and all were superfine white. The Graff logo and a number were engraved with laser on the girdle of every single diamond, after which, they were made into a single piece of jewellery: The Lesotho-Promise-Necklace with a pear shaped single diamond as the end. The total value of the diamonds is estimated at approximately US$ 50 million, the purchase price of this necklace is however considerably higher, as it is a unique and exclusive piece of jewellery.
The “Spoon Maker”
The “Spoon Maker” diamond is one of the most famous exhibits at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. With a weight of 86 carats (17.2 gm) it belongs to the 15 biggest diamonds in the world. In 1669, a poor man was said to have found a beautiful stone in the rubbish heap of Egrikapi in Istanbul. The stone was extremely beautiful but the man knew nothing about it. The finder brought his discovery to a spoon maker and exchanged the stone for three spoons. The spoon maker in turn exchanged the stone with a jeweller for ten silver coins. As the jeweller could not correctly estimate its value, he asked another jeweller for advice. This jeweller however realised very quickly the possible value of the stone. Both the jewellers fought loudly over the value of the stone. A third jeweller came along and bought the stone and gave each of the others a sack of gold. The fact that there was a valuable stone in the city could not be concealed from Sultan Mehmed IV. He was so curious that he asked the jeweller to come to his palace with his precious stone. The Sultan took possession of the diamond and had it cut and stitched on his turban. The following Sultans used the Spoon Maker Diamond as a symbol of their reign.
This diamond was found in the 15th century in the Amaragiri Mine in Mahbubnagar in India. From approximately 1500 till 1817, it was the so-called third eye on a Shiva statue in Trimbakeshwar Temple close to the city of Nasik, from where its name is derived. In the year 1818, after the last Maratha war, it came into the hands of the British East India Company and in the same year it was sold to the jeweller, Rundell & Bridge, who cut it in its new shape. Previously, the stone was criticised, it was said to be of great purity but of inferior form. After cutting it, the stone proved to have acquired a captivating brilliance. In 1837 it went into the possession of the First Marquis of Westminster, who had it put into the grip of his parade sword and in the course of the next century, the stone remained in the possession of the noble family. The Second Marquis of Westminster sold the diamond in 1926 to the Parisian jeweller Georges Mauboussin, who then brought it to New York for an art exhibition. The jeweller, Harry Winston bought the Nassak in 1940 and gave it its current emerald cut form, weighing 43.38 carats (8.676 gm). It changed hands many more times after that, and then finally in 1970 it was sold in an auction in New York to a businessman by the name of Edward J. Hand, in whose private possession it can be found even today.
The blue-green and particularly pure Orlov diamond weighing 189.62 carats (37.92 gm) was found in the then Indian diamond city of Golkonda. The year of its discovery is not known. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful Indian stones, its form is extraordinary and was often described as a “halved pigeon’s egg”. Originally, the diamond adorned a statue of the Indian deity Brahma in a temple on the island Shrirangan near Tiruchirappalli in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. When a deserter of the French army, who had at the time fought against England for the domination of the colony in South India, came to know of this legendary diamond, obtained the trust of a Brahman priest fraudulently, and on a stormy night stole the stone from the statue. The Frenchman escaped with the diamond to the nearby harbour of Madras (today: Chennai), where he sold it to a British captain. The stone then reached Antwerp, where it remained at the time with the Russian Earl Grigori Orlov. He bought the diamond and gifted it in 1776 to Tsarina Katharina the Great. She had the diamond, which by this time had come to be known as the Orlov-Diamond, inserted into the royal sceptre of the Russian Tsar. This 189.62 karat Orlov-Diamond (37.92 gm) has been displayed in a permanent exhibition in the Moscow Kremlin armoury since 1967. According to legend, in a prophecy invoked by Brahma after the robbery of the diamond, all the subsequent owners of the stolen diamond had great misfortune. The later assassinations of the Russian House of Tsars, in whose possession the stone belonged till the middle of the 18th century were traced back to this curse.
The “President Vargas”
This diamond was found in 1938 in the San Antonio River near Coromandel in Minas Gerais in Brazil, and weighing in its rough form 726.8 carats (145.36 gm) was considered as the biggest diamond ever to be found, at least in any case, the biggest diamond in Brazil, ever to be found. It is named after Getúlio Vargas, the Brazilian President at the time. In 1941, it was cut into 29 stones, the biggest one in an emerald cut. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything on its current status.
The “Regent” or “Pitt”
The “Regent” was known to be the biggest Indian diamond. It was found in 1701 in the Paritala Mine near Golkonda, and originally it was said to have weighed 410 carats (82 gm). The worker wanted to smuggle the diamond out of the mine and so inflicted a wound on his thigh, enabling him to hide the diamond under the bandage. When he tried to sell it to an English Captain on the coast, he was robbed and murdered. The murdering captain then sold the diamond to Governor Thomas Pitt, who also worked as a jewellery trader. The diamond was then cut to 140.50 carats (28.1gm) and for a short time came to be known as “The Pitt”. It was acquired by the same name in 1717 by the French Crown and since then it came to be known as “The Regent”. With his coronation in the year 1722, the young Ludwig XV wore the Regent in his crown. During the turmoil of the French Revolution, this stone was considered to have disappeared. It was not until 1793 that it was found again through a tip, in the attic of a private house. It was then sold to a businessman from Berlin, salesman Treskow, who on his part sold it to a Dutch banker. Finally, it was acquired by Napoleon who had it inserted into the handle of his sword. Later it was worn by the wife of Napoleon III and then put into a tiara for Empress Eugenie. Today, it can be found in the Apollo Gallery of the Louvre in Paris and still remains one of the most beautiful diamonds in the world.
The 55 carat (11 gm) Sancy diamond was found in India and it appeared for the first time in the 15th century in the possession of Duke Charles the Bold of Burgund. He wore it as a talisman in 1477 in the Battle of Nancy, in which he nevertheless died. A soldier sold it in Portugal. In the year 1570, this light green-yellow diamond was bought by Nicholas Harlay de Sancy, a French Ambassador to the court of Sultan Selim II in Constantinople and this is how it got its name. He used the diamond as security to recruit soldiers and sent it to Solothurn with a messenger. However, the messenger did not reach there, because he was attacked and killed, but not before he had swallowed the diamond. Sancy had the corpse opened up and that is how it remained for the time being into his possession. A few years later, however, he fell into financial difficulty and sold the diamond to the English Queen Elisabeth I. The diamond thus became a part of the Crown Jewels of the English Kingdom. In the ensuing English Civil War in 1642, because of financial problems, the stone came into the possession of King Ludwig XIV and became a part of the French Crown Jewels. In the beginning of the French Revolution, the Crown Jewels were however, stolen from the royal treasury, among which was also the Sancy Diamond. The stone reappeared in 1828 in the possession of a Parisian diamond trader, who then later sold it to a big Russian industrialist, Anatole Demidoff. After the death of his wife in 1904, the diamond was sold in Paris for a million francs to the Family Waldorf-Astor. In 1978 the 55.23 carat (11.046 gm) diamond was sold for 1 million US$ to the Bank of Paris and the “Musées de France”. Since then it has been displayed in the Apollo Gallery in the Louvre.
The so called “Shah” is one of the historically most interesting diamonds. The 88.70 carat (17.74 gm) stone originates from one of the biggest Indian mines, its first owner was the Sultan of Ahmednagar. Towards the end of the 16th century the Great Mogul, Akbar acquired the diamond as war booty and brought it to Delhi. The infamous Nadir Shah attacked India in 1738 and brought the diamond to Persia. When the Russian Ambassador Alexander Gribojedow was murdered in 1829, Fath Ali Shah had the diamond delivered to Czar Nikolas I as a reconciliation gift. An exceptional characteristic of the yellowish, four-centimetre precious stone is the engraved inscription in Persian letters (Engravings of this kind were known as “Shah” from here). The names of the three owners of the stone were engraved on it: Bourham Nizam Shah, 1591; Jehan Shah, Son of Jehangir Shah, 1641 and Kadjar Fath Ali Shah 1826. The diamond is of utmost purity, hardly processed and retained virtually in its original form of an octahedron. The engraving can be found on the three polished surfaces and on its narrow end there is a groove, which can hold a fine string.
The “Star of Sierra Leone”
This diamond was found in 1972 in the Dominica diamond mine in Sierra Leone. Weighing 968.90 carats (193.78 gm), this was the third largest rough diamond to be ever found. The famous jeweller Harry Winston bought this diamond and had it cut in 17 smaller stones, from which thirteen are flawless and considered as chemically pure. The biggest of the individual diamonds weighing 143.2 carats was not flawless and was split once again and recut into a drop shape, out of which emerged a stone of 53.96 carats. From the original weight of the rough diamond 75% was lost in cutting. Six of the individual diamonds were embedded into a brooch, “Star of Sierra Leone”.
The “Taylor-Burton Diamond”
This diamond weighing 240.8 carats (48.16gm) was found in 1966 in the Premier Mine in the South African city of Cullinan. Splitting it resulted in a 69.42 carat (13.884 gm) drop shaped diamond, which was acquired by Cartier for over a million US$ at an auction in 1969. A few days later, Richard Burton bought the diamond. He wanted to give it to Elizabeth Taylor, his wife at that time, as a gift. After their separation in 1978 Liz Taylor decided to auction off the Taylor-Burton diamond and use a part of the money to finance the construction of a clinic in Botswana. In 1979, the stone was auctioned off by jeweller, Henry Lambert of New York for US$5 Million and then in the same year, it was once again sold to its current owner Robert Mouawad. He had the Taylor-Burton Diamond lightly cut, in which small changes in the girdle and flat surface were undertaken. Its weight today is 68.09 carats (13.618 gm).
[Close list here ...]
Text2 text2 text2
Diamonds and rubies: The Monarchs treasured precious stones as a sign of prosperity and power.
diamond consists of
pure carbon; it is therefore a close relative of graphite, which is for
example found in pencils. Their varying properties occur due to the
differing crystal structures of both materials, which can be explained
by their origin. The diamond crystals, in which every carbon atom is
connected to its four neighbours, and what gives it its grid-structure,
have been developing for several billion years deep in the core of the
earth at a depth of 130 to 700 kilometers at temperatures of more than
1000° Celsius and at an enormous pressure of 40,000 bar and
In graphite, the carbon atoms are arranged in layers, only few of which
are however linked to each other. That is why graphite leaves behind
quickly, a grey trace on paper. Wherever the intensity of temperature
and pressure is less, no diamonds develop, only graphite. Over the
course of time, the diamonds rise with the magma on the
surface. Sometimes they get pushed up with the volcanic eruptions and
sometimes even ejected. Through this volcanic cones with long vents are
formed, which fill up with volcanic stones and within them the embedded
diamonds. This rock is Kimberlite, or called as per its colour
“blue ground”; other parent rocks for the diamond
be Peridot or for e.g. Eklogit.
[More about the origin of diamonds… Open here]
Origin and Properties of Diamonds
On geologist Fredrich Moh’s scale that groups minerals according to each one’s ability to crack the others, the diamond is placed right on top. It can only be destroyed through fire with a temperature of over 800° Celsius, when simultaneously, adequate oxygen is also available. Such a diamond and its close relative, the graphite, which is for example found in pencils, are not so different. Chemically, they both have the exact same material: Both consist of pure carbon (A pencil, today, is made up of a mixture of burnt graphite-clay).
However, a diamond can cut everything, even glass and steel, whereas, graphite gets abraded by only a little pressure. How have these different properties come about? This question can be answered at a glance through the varying materials of their crystal structure. In a diamond crystal every carbon atom is connected with four of its neighbours, which gives it a fixed lattice-structure, with the links building a tetrahedron. On the other hand in graphite the carbon atoms are arranged in layers one above the other. Within the layers, the bonding of the atoms is closely linked, but the individual layers are connected with each other only through very few links. If both structures are placed under great pressure, only the diamond structure with its close linkages from all sides will uphold its state. With graphite on the other hand, the few linkages between the layers will fracture, shift against each other, or dissolve. That is why, graphite leaves behind quite quickly a grey trace on paper. These varying lattice structures can be explained through their origin. Billion of years ago, partially optimal conditions for the development of diamonds prevailed deep in the earth’s core. Wherever overall, in depths of 130 to 700 km under the earth’s surface if huge quantities of carbon were present, the carbon atoms bonded with each other and in time they crystallized to form diamonds. The prevailing temperature of more than 1000° there, as well as the enormous pressure of 40,000 Bar were the ideal conditions for their formation. If the temperature and pressure were less, then graphite would form in place of diamonds.
Diamonds come through the molten rocks or magma from the earth’s mantel on to the earth’s surface. Due to the difference in heat in the earth’s mantel, the so-called convection currents are formed, i.e. warm rocks rise up and cold ones sink below (thermal convection); thus magma laden with diamonds rises up in course of time and is finally flung out in the form of violent volcanic eruptions. Thereby relatively small volcano craters with long pipes are formed, which are filled with volcanic rocks, mantel fragments and embedded diamonds within them. Today, these rocks are known as Kimberlite or according to its colour “blue ground”. The first such Kimberlite pipes were discovered in the 1870s in South Africa. Other source rocks of the diamond can be – Peridotit, Eklogit and Lamproite, all rocks from the earth’s mantel. The speed of transportation from the depths is estimated to be a few hours altogether; due to the speed no phase transformation could take place towards graphite.
The largest diamond deposits are found in Russia, Africa, especially in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone, in Australia and in Canada. However, diamonds have been found in all continents. The world production of natural diamonds (according to the Rio Tinto Group) is about 20 tons per year and does not cover the global demands of the industry.
All of earth’s discovered diamonds today are quite old. Geologists have found out that in the earth’s interiors small amounts of diamonds have formed about 100 million years ago for the last time. Most of the diamonds are according to this theory much older: they must have formed 1 to 3 billion years ago. And according to these geologists, there will be no further replenishment of diamonds, because the conditions for the formation of diamonds in the earth no longer exist. Whether diamond stocks can still be found in the depths of the earth, and have the likelihood of coming out to the earth’s surface with the help of volcanic eruptions – they however do not know. The last time these coveted diamonds had come up to the earth’s surface through the “Great Push” was about 70 to 150 million years ago.
[Text on Formation of Diamonds … Close here]
Poço Azul, Chapada Diamantina, Brazil
first the discovery of diamonds was restricted to secondary deposits,
that is, in eroded rocks close to rivers, the alluvial deposits. The
process of extracting diamonds consisted simply of sieving and washing
of the riverbeds, as with the old Brazilian Garimpeiro System
(see my photo documentary: “Cago – In Search of Freedom”)
wherein the soil of the riverbed is sifted with a sieve. With the
discovery of the diamond deposits in South Africa, this simple method
was no longer adequate and through experience with ore mines, the
mining of diamonds became a widely evolved technique right from the
beginning. Just like the mining of the alluvial deposits initially, so
also the superficial mining of Kimberlite-pipes, the so-called primary
mining, began in surface mining. After a depth of about 100m the safety
of the workers in surface mining is no longer guaranteed and the
transition to underground mining becomes necessary. The ore containing
diamonds is mined or loosened through blasts, ground and then washed.
There is always a demand for huge quantities of rock, in order to
obtain a few valuable precious stones. For 1 carat of diamonds, a few
tons of rocks are necessary for mining.
[More about the mining of diamonds… Open here]
More about the mining of diamonds
One differentiates between:
• Primary deposits: Mines that are expanded below the surface, when surface mining is no longer viable.
• Secondary deposits: Regions wherein diamond deposits are mined in alluvial accumulation found along rivers. This method of production can be carried out either industrially or manually, as is the case with the so-called "Garimpeiros" in Brazil.
• Deposits in coastal and marine regions
From their deposits in pipes, in which they stay intact because of their hardness, the diamonds can be transported through natural erosion. They are then deposited in sedimentary rocks, which constitute the main source of minerals today. These deposits are called alluvial. They are also recovered from the pipes of the extinct Kimberlite volcanoes that go vertically downwards. They are first mined in open pits and then under the surface. The source rock is pulverized in order to acquire the diamond. In Namibia in Southwest Africa, diamonds are also found in the deserts and coastal regions under water at sea. For mining in water, special ships are used, that wash diamonds out of the sand. The age of the diamond can be determined on the basis of its inclusions. These inclusions, which the diamond encloses, grow along with the diamond and often comprises of silicate minerals from the surroundings. By means of this data, it can be determined today if the diamond formation took place again and again at different times of all geological eras, and that not only are they old diamonds, with an age of more than three billion years, but also younger diamonds that could have reached the age of over hundred million years.
The preparation begins with the mechanical crushing of the mined Kimberlite or “blue ground” rock. The rock crusher used is so constructed, that the diamond inside, remains intact. Subsequently, the diamonds are carried through a sieve in a rotating wash pan. Because diamonds as a rule stick well with fat, one uses this strong adhesion to lead the grains that have in the meantime merged with the heavy minerals on to the fat coated bands, which are then passed over vibrating grates and cylinder sieves. The strength of the adhesion is so great that even water flowing over the bands cannot break the bond. Finally, the raw diamonds gripped in the fat are freed by melting and draining the fat. Another alternative preparation method for diamonds is working with x-ray luminescence, which was invented by engineers in Russia at the end of the fifties. A further alternative procedure is to take advantage of extremely weak electrical conductivity of almost 100% of the diamonds and perform an electrostatic separation. The benefit of this procedure is that even the smallest of diamonds are not lost. After all these elaborate steps of preparation, the extracted diamonds are sorted and their quality is evaluated. Further processing takes place only with diamonds that are suitable for the manufacture of jewellery. Since the industry is constantly concerned about the extraction method and associated cost savings, some of the proposed methods will certainly be further developed in the future and the techniques improved. Also the development and application of new procedures is expected.
[Text on the Mining of Diamonds… Close here]
Different distribution channels for diamonds
company, De Beers, alone employs 20,000 people worldwide. A large
portion of the raw diamonds is sold further through its own
“Diamond Trading Company” (DTC) in London,
Kimberley and Windhoek. The DTC is a part of the supply chain of the De
Beers Group, the “Central Selling Organization”
which consolidates the supply of raw diamonds from different sources
into a single wholesale offer. The diamonds, which are sold according
to a traditional ritual to the two customer groups,
“Sightholders” and “Accredited
even today. At these events, diamond cutters, jewellery manufacturers
and wholesalers are called for the sale of the so-called
“Boxes”. Each customer is led individually in a
he can examine the “Boxes” with the diamonds.
price – per box today is on an average about $ 500,000
are not for discussion, the choice is only between buying and not
buying, payment is made by cash.
The market power of De Beers has however drastically decreased in the last few years. The reason is the break-up of the cartel through the diamond mine in Argyle, Australia, as well as the rising competition from independent diamonds producers, primarily in Canada and Russia. As a reaction to the decline of its market share, De Beers started a massive campaign through its own marketing firm, with the slogan, “A diamond is forever”. For this the company developed a new technology, of engraving a logo, “Forevermark”, invisible to the naked eye, in the table of the diamond, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.
give myself a better idea of how the diamond cutting is done in India
today, I paid a visit to the city of Surat. As I arrived in Surat,
however, I had to first solve a small problem, because I had forgotten
two of the locking screws of my Manfrotto-tripod head at home; they
were lying in another bag, and without which, the tripod-head is
[The tripod story... Open here]
“The tripod story”
After a telephone call to the contact person of the company, Sanghvi Exports, Mr. Jayendra Shah, what occurred, I believe was quite “Indian”. A couple of phone calls were quickly made and it seemed that the biggest photo shop of the city, “Photochromy” was already closed; it was about 19.00 hours. However, we drove somewhere fast and I did not know what was going on – that happens sometimes in India. Best is to then perhaps accept your destiny and leave things as they are. We stopped somewhere; I was greeted by someone; Mr. Jayendra said goodbye and left, together with the driver and the car. We went into a big building and I immediately found myself in a typical Indian living room: dark brown furniture, Ganesha-figurine, a small altar in the corner. A woman brought us “chai” and some pastries and I spoke with the man about photography and my tripod problem.
He laughed, went outside, and came back 3-4 minutes later heavily laden with 4 or 5 big tripod bags! He unpacked everything - nothing but Manfrotto-Tripod heads and said: “Here, you choose what you want.” He turned out to be the owner of the photo shop, “Photochromy”: Mr. Rajen M. Shah, a person, truly obsessed with photography. Together, we looked at many of his beautiful photographs on his Smartphone and exchanged stories. I found two appropriate locking screws, which he wanted to gift to me, but in the end we agreed on – a more likely token – price; additionally, a sturdy tripod bag was also chosen, because so often I have found the zipper of my bag broken. It was simply wonderful. At the end, someone from the household brought me to my hotel on a motorcycle along with my “new” tripod. Once again thank you very much, Rajen, for the screws, the bag, the tea and the pastries, for the hospitality and most of all for the wonderful story! Now back to the diamonds!
[Tripod Story… Close here]
procedures and organizational structure of diamond processing for both
the firms that I visited, “Sanghvi Exports
and “Hari Krishna Export” are a little different.
sake of simplicity I have structured the procedures and mixed the
photos from both the firms. Whoever had ever imagined, that at a
diamond-cutting factory, everybody just cuts, saws and drills, is
The main activity, before the cutting is even thought of, is of starting all the computers. Hundreds of employees just sit in front of the computers! That means, one already knows today, before the cutting, what the raw diamond will look like at the end. How many stones, what clarity, how many carats, which form etc.
But first things first.
How are raw diamonds purchased in the first place? As the surface of a raw diamond is normally clouded, very little can be said in the beginning about the quality and the actual purity of the diamond used later in jewellery. Through the analysis of a raw diamond, a buyer must be able to determine exactly, what the weight of the diamond is going to be after cutting and polishing. Additionally, he examines the form, the crystallization, the internal tensile stress and the deformities of the raw diamond. The equipment required for the examination of the raw diamonds includes a scale, a 10x magnifying glass and a diamond tester. The diamond tester measures the thermal resistance of a raw diamond and displays its thermal conductivity.
[Examination and Price Calculation of raw diamonds... Open here]
Buying Raw Diamonds
One understands a raw diamond as an uncut and also otherwise untreated diamond. Because the upper surface of the raw diamond is normally a little clouded, very little can be said about the actual quality of such a diamond; these are evaluated according to the “5Cs”, the five criteria for determining the quality of a diamond, as described in detail on the next page. It states practically nothing about the actual purity of a raw diamond – whether for e.g. it has inclusions, how big they are and whether they are in the middle or on the border.
Normally the raw diamonds are sold further on the diamond exchange directly to diamond cutters and also intermediaries, even though there are now dealers who will offer the raw diamonds directly to the end customer. “Diamantkring”, founded in 1930 is the main trading centre for raw diamonds and is located in Antwerp. Here, every year about 80% of the raw diamonds are acquired by diamond cutters globally. The most important diamond exchanges in Antwerp are:
• For cut and polished diamonds: "Antwerpen Diamond Bourse" (Beurs voor Diamanthandel)
• For cut and rough diamonds: "Diamond Club" and "Vrijediamanthandel"
How is the price for raw diamonds determined?
The following significant criteria have an influence in the price calculation of raw diamonds. The crystalline structure of the raw diamonds must be examined with the utmost care and diligence, in order to sort the diamonds in the existing classifications. Crystalline forms of raw diamonds of jewellery quality:
Stones: Very beautiful stones over 1 carat
- Octagonal: 8 triangular surfaces, 12 edges, 6 points
- Dodecahedron: 12 pentagonal surfaces, 30 edges, 8 points
- Cube: 6 surfaces, 12 edges, 8 points
- Rhombic Dodecahedron: 12 rhombic surfaces, 24 edges, 14 points
Fancy colours: Diamonds, whose colours do not fall in the bluish white and yellowish. The colours of the fancy coloured diamonds are blue, green, canary yellow, brown and pink
- Closed: Single crystals of beautiful shape, which are good for sawing and polishing
- Spotted: Single crystal of beautiful shape, which are nor pure (pikee), whose impurity can be removed by cutting
- Irregular stones: Octagonal or Dodecahedron of irregular shape – they have to be cut directly
Double crystals (“macle”): Twin stones: Deformation of crystallization. They have to be split.
Cleavage: Cleavable stones. They have to be split.
Coated: Unclear stones, they are covered by a skin or film, so that the inner part of the stone lies hidden. The stone can remains opaque or reveal another beautiful stone
Flat: These are in general twin stones, which are frequently used for the rose cut.
The Sands: These are small stones (under 0.10 carats) for the 8/8 cut
The common goods: They have a very inferior quality and are in the lowest rung of quality for use in jewellery
The rejection stones: These are from very low-grade quality and have to be thus sorted out.
The correct classification of the crystalline structure of rough diamonds is crucial in price calculation. In fact, not all crystalline forms of the diamond are equally economical.
With a raw diamond type, “Stone - Octagonal”, one can assume that in course of cutting, a loss of 50% will arise. That means, a diamond with a gross weight of 2 carats will weigh only about 1 carat after cutting. It can also be that after cutting, one need not keep the one-carat diamond as it is, instead have two diamonds such that their weight together is 1 carat each. The price of two diamonds, each cut into 0.5 carats will not correspond to the value of one diamond of 1 carat. It is therefore important to not only base one’s calculation on the price that could be obtained for the total value in carats, but one must also think about the number of diamonds that are cut, and also reflect on the ground weight that the individual stones have.
Empirically, a diamond with the crystalline form, “Shape” or “Cleavage”, has a yield between 35% and 45%, with diamonds with properties of “Macle” or “Flat”, however, only between 25% and 28%. Example of price calculation of a raw diamond (with simulation not actual prices):
Here in the example there is a diamond of 5 carats in the octagonal form (Stone). It is well-formed with the colour “G” (fine white) and purity of “VS2”. Assuming that with “Stones”, one can after cutting, calculate a profit of 50%, then the result is
• 5 x 0.50 carat = 2.50 carat cut and polished
It is very likely that this rough diamond will result in 2 Brilliants of equal weight:
• 2.50 carats / 2 = 1.25 carat per polished diamond
The price of the official "Rapaport list" is in this type of cut, this weight and this quality US $ 2,500 per carat. The result is
• 2,500 x 1.25 = 3,125 US $
For the two cut diamonds this results into a price of
• 6,250 (3,125 x 2)
Normally one buys at least 40% below the “Rapaport Price”:
• US $ 6,250 - US $ 2,500 (40%) = 3,750 US $ for the two diamonds
In order to obtain the purchase price for this 5-carat diamond, one has to deduct one’s own profit margin, for example, 50%. It would result in:
• US $ 3,750 x 0.50 = 1,875 US $: That would be the purchase price for this rough diamond.
Now one can through this calculate the purchase price per carat for these rough diamonds:
• 1,875 US $ / 5 carats = US $ 375 per carat.
• The purchase price of rough diamond for a diamond factory on 5/2015 was: Diamond in the rough with a chance of 1 carat, "River D", "VS": about 10,000 INR (€ 139.00).
[Examination and price calculation of raw diamonds… Close here]
The examination of diamonds requires a lot of experience
a measure against conflict diamonds, also known as “Blood
Diamonds” – the “Kimberly Process
Scheme” (KPCS) was devised at a meeting held in May 2000 in
Kimberly, South Africa by the south-African diamond producing nations,
which guaranteed an unambiguous and pristine origin of the diamonds.
Its aim was to prevent these diamonds from invading the market flow of
raw diamonds. A “Blood Diamond” is a diamond, the
of which are used to finance violent conflicts. They are mostly
illegally prospected and sold in conflict areas in order to finance
insurgent and invading troops. The raw diamonds from the other diamond
mines worldwide are supplied to the relevant global stock exchanges in
Antwerp, New York, Dubai, Ramat Gan (Israel), Johannesburg and Paris
Use of the map with friendly approval from www.diamanten-infos.com
[Active diamond mines world wide... Open here]
Active diamond mines worldwide
Active diamond mines are found today in the following countries:
Angola | Australia | Botswana | Brazil | China | Democratic Republic of Congo | India | Canada | Namibia | Russia | South Africa | Tanzania
The Angolan diamonds are of very good quality; they have a beautiful shape and are of good purity. The areas containing diamonds are located in the north of the country, in the Luanda Norte province, as well as in the centre of Angola in the Bie and Luanda Sul provinces. More than 80% of the diamonds produced in Angola are of jewellery quality. That is why it is also remunerative for small production companies. The country is rich in primary deposits, and with more than 700 having been discovered, several of them have turned out to be profitable. The ninth mine with the highest performance efficiency is the Catoca mine. It was first founded in the year 1997 and since then its production has increased steadily. In the year 2007, 6.1 million carats of diamonds were mined here! Mines: Argyle, Catoca.
Australia is one of the biggest diamond producers in the world. Currently, mining is being carried out in the primary deposits of Argyle under the name “AKI”, which is located in the Kimberly region of Western Australia – not to be confused with Kimberly in South Africa. It has the most productive mine in the world. In 1998 it reached its peak; over 43 million carats were mined in that year. The concentration of diamonds is many times higher here than the average concentration in other deposits. The flue gas duct “AKI” contains up to 7 carats of diamonds per ton of rocks. It has largely cheap gemstones; very rarely are exceptional pink diamonds found in these deposits, which are of particular interest and as a rule sold in distinct and special auctions. The Australian diamonds are mainly used as industrial diamonds. The diamonds of the Aryle mine are on an average of low quality. Just 5% of the mined diamonds are of jewellery quality; in global comparison this is 20%, and the rest of the 95% are divided in near jewellery quality and industrial diamonds. 80% of the Argyle diamonds are brown, 16% yellow, 2% grey, 1% pink and green. The Argyle mine is the only consistent deposit for red diamonds, but it produces 90% to 95% of all pink and red coloured diamonds. Most of the Argyle diamonds are classified as Type 1 and have a low content of impurities with nitrogen, and whose colour results from a defect in the crystalline structure. Argyle diamonds tend towards being fluorescent under ultra-violet light and blue or dull green and blue-white under X-ray. Mines: Argyle, Merlin.
Most of the diamonds here have a beautiful shape and are of a good purity grade and that is why the diamonds mined in this country are of a very good quality. More than 70% of the diamond production in Botswana is of jewellery quality. With 21.34 million carat diamonds mined in 1999, Bostwana is the second largest diamond producer in the world, only after Australia. The Jwaneng and Orapa mines alone have attained more than 20% of the world production of diamonds of jewellery quality. A majority of the diamond production comes from the regions north and west of the city of Gaborone. Today, the Jwaneng mine produces a large part of the global requirement of diamonds for jewellery and is the second most productive diamond mine. Only less than 1 percent of the mined stones are not suitable for the jewellery industry. All mines in Botswana are operated by the Debswana Diamond Company Ltd. It has an alliance with the De Beers Company and the Botswana government with each having equal shares in this company. Mines: Jwaneng, Lethakane, Orapa.
Though Brazil has a two-hundred year history of diamond mining, there is however virtually no systematic description of diamond mining. That is why it is difficult to find reliable information. The time period till the end of the 19th century appears to be better documented as compared to the end of the the 20th century till now. Diamond mining in Brazil today is meager and does not play an important role globally. Between 1972 and 1990, the De Beers Company searched for new mining sites, but could not find any Kimberlite mineral deposits whose exploitation would have been worthwhile. The company, Rio Tinto, which had mined diamonds in Australia and Canada, had scouted for diamond deposits in Rondonia in the year 1990, but had then withdrawn. Three small Canadian companies have since then become active. Diagem International Resource Corp., near Juina in Mato Grosso; Brazilian Diamonds Ltd., on the Paranaiba River in Minas Gerais and Bahia; Valdiam Resources Ltd., in southern Rondonia. While the company Valdiam Resources Ltd. had temporarily incurred the indignation of the government authorities, it successfully carried out mining activities in two places: Duas Barras in Minas Gerais, not very far from Rio Jequitinhonha and Chapada in Mato Grosso. The annual production is about 60,000 or rather 30,000 carats; they are sold to Lev Leviev Diamond Group. The only notable Brazilian company is the Mineração Rio Novo Ltd., which till now was active with dredges in upper Rio Jeqitinhonha. The mining method to pull out diamonds, with divers diving at a depth of up to 8 meters and with the help of excavation pipes and water pumps was implemented in the year 1980.
The diamonds from China are of good quality and shape, excellent purity and good colour. They are mined in the province of Shandong. A few are heavier than 100 carats. China is presumably rich in diamonds, but at the moment it lacks modern mining methods. The main deposits of diamonds are found in the southern region of Shandong, in Tshanghu and near Mongün.
Democratic Republic Congo
About 85% of the Congo diamonds are good quality industrial diamonds, their colour ranges from yellow to brown. The deposits are concentrated in the eastern region of Kasai, near Mbuji-Mayi, as well as in the western region of Kasai. One also finds diamonds in the provinces of Bas-Congo, Haut-Congo, Maniema, Équateur and Bandundu. One must, very often, clear the overlying layer of the riverbed, before one reaches the layer of gravel containing diamonds (Mbuji Mayi). Mine: Mbuji Mayi.
Till about 1725 all diamonds came from India. Many of the large and famous diamonds came from here, among them are, the famous “Kohinoor”, the “Great Mogul”, the “Orlov” or the “Blue Hope”. The Indian deposits today are however, irrelevant; the only active diamond mine today is located in the city of Panna.
The diamonds mined in the Ekati mine have an average value of $30 to $150 per carat. The Canadian diamonds are, on an average, relatively small and the quality of the diamonds, depending on the pipe, is different. The regions containing diamonds are in the Northwest Territories and also in Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec. No less than 500 companies are exploring these extensive regions in the search for new diamond deposits. Approximately 200 Kimberlite pipes were discovered in the Northwest Territories. The majority shareholder, BHP Diamonds Inc., only bring gems of high quality into the market. Every diamond from the Ekati mine must have a weight of at least 0.3 carats and each is delivered with three certificates in total: the “Certificate of Authenticity and Quality of the American Gem Society Laboratories” (AGS), the “Certificate of the Government of Canada Northwest Territories”, which confirms that the diamond is of Canadian origin, and lastly the firm’s own certificate, which guarantees, that the stone comes from the Ekati mine. The mine on the mainland is only accessible in winter on frozen terrain. Mines: Diavik, Ekati.
The Namibian diamonds are of very good quality; almost 98% of the diamonds are of jewellery quality! A large part of the production comes from the estuary of the Orange River and is mined by the company Nambed Diamond Corp., a subsidiary of De Beers. Many diamonds are mined using costly offshore procedures. Here, the material containing diamonds is drawn up from the ocean floor by ships. Despite these difficulties many big companies are investing in this new method, because more and more diamond reserves in the big mines are drawing to a close. Mines: Namdeb Marine, Namdeb Onshore.
The Russian diamonds are big and have a very good, if not the best quality, at the moment. There are very beautiful octahedral crystals of 40 to 100 carats mined here. Thus Russia is since many years one of the most important diamond producers. The diamond mines are located in Siberia, and in the northern city of Perm. Many rich regions can also be found in Yakutia in the Republic of Sacha. The low winter temperatures ranging between -30 and -60 degrees Celsius create major problems for the people mining here. The ground can be frozen up to a depth of 400 meters. Mines: Jubilee, Udachny.
The diamonds have an octahedral or dodecahedral shape with a light convex upper surface and angle; the colours of the diamonds vary depending on the deposits. In Kimberly colourless diamonds with very weak yellow reflection are mined and in the premier mines brown, violet, green-blue and reddish diamonds are mined. The regions containing diamonds are located in the environs of the city of Kimberly, and in the north as well as west of the country. These include Kimberlite pipes, alluvial deposits and sediments in oceans. The stones are on an average bigger than in other deposits in the world and their quality is normally very good. About 37 percent of the diamonds are suitable for use in the jewellery industry. They are mined under extremely demanding conditions; the temperatures sometimes drop a few degrees below freezing point. The most productive mine in the South African Republic is currently the Finsch Mine – 165 km east of Kimberly, Northner Cape. Mines: Cullinan, Kimberly, Koffiefontein, Finsch, Namaqualand, The Oaks, Ventia, Marsfontein.
More than half of the diamonds from Tanzania are small, however from that 70% are of jewellery quality. The diamond mines of Mwadui produce coloured diamonds, particularly pink and green coloured diamonds of very good quality. In this country, more than 300 Kimberlite have been discovered, and 44 from these contain diamonds. The diamond mining regions are located close to Victoria See in Mwadui in the northern part of the country. The Kimberlite vents are relatively young here and have therefore not suffered extensive erosion. Mine: Williamon.
[Active Diamond Mines… Close here]
Room with Galaxy Scanners
Diamond in the bracket of the scanner
Inside of a Galaxy 3D-Scanner
3D-scan with the positions of all the inclusions of a diamond
all the incoming diamonds are examined and their passage through the
company is determined. The stones that are smaller than 0.20 carats (so
called “Mêlée-goods”) go a
different way than
the bigger ones, from which most of them at first are subject to a 3D
scan. The Israeli company, “Sarine” is the global
leader for its scanners with the brand, “The
This 3D scanner recognizes and localizes automatically, all the impurities of the raw diamonds, the so-called “Inclusions” even on the inside. The data obtained is then directly transferred to a specially developed diamond planning software. Thus the actual value of the cut diamond can be exactly determined beforehand, in accordance with the fundamentals of the “4Cs”.
In the next step the inclusions recognized by the 3D-Scan in the diamonds are marked digitally. These markings help the Planning Division at a later stage to prepare the stone correctly for processing. The planners study the stone with help of special CAD Software on the basis of the Galaxy-3D-Scans and the marked inclusions.
The CAD-Software is so progammed that every cut diamond with all possible cuts and positions of the diamond can be simulated in the raw diamond – that is truly fascinating. The Software shows the price of the suggested solutions immediately, according to the weight, clarity and colour. Here, it is also decided on the PC, how the raw diamond is going to be processed and in how many single diamonds it is going to be divided and where the laser cutting or cuttings will be carried out.
There are innumerable possibilities for raw diamonds, which must be played through and thus the decision is not easy. The rule is to first get one or more cut diamonds in their purest form, because here the price differentiation is the greatest. Thus, first of all, the marked inclusions have to be avoided. A small diamond with the characteristics “IF” (internally flawless) can be more expensive than a bigger diamond with the characteristic “VS1” (very small inclusions1).
As the decision of this activity decides the profitability of the business, the results of the department are compared to the results of a second planning department. The final suggestion is then once again finally controlled by the chief planner.
Once the decision is made, the raw diamond is marked with a laser marking, a very fine black line, which shows the colleagues in the laser room, how the diamond has to be cut.
The inclusions are marked digitally (green)
Planning of the splitting of the diamond on the PC
Laser marking for the cutting
The position of a possible diamond in a 3D-scan. Green represents inclusions that can be avoided, red is an unavoidable inclusion.