Contrary to popular belief, diamonds do not originate from coal. In fact, billions of years ago, diamonds originated deep from within the Earth’s mantle as a result of deep source volcanic eruptions. Interestingly, there are other potential sources of diamonds, ranging from plate tectonics to asteroid strikes.
About five thousand years ago, diamonds were first mentioned in ancient writings. The first diamonds were gathered from alluvial deposits in Indian rivers and streams, and the diamond trade dates from that time. Fast forward to 1871, the first year that over one million carats of diamonds were mined. While most people associate diamonds with perfectly clear stones, colored diamonds have been present throughout the entire history of diamond mining and trading.
Colored diamonds have a rich and storied history, and can even be the stuff of legends. On the more practical side colored diamonds are very rare, and can make not only exceptional jewelry, but enduring investments. Due to limited supply and increasing demand experts forecasted rising prices for colored diamonds back in 2010. Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive colored diamonds throughout history.
- Black Orlov: Originally called the Eye of Brahma Diamond, this black diamond weighs 67.5 carats and was cut down from a larger stone originally weighing 195 carats. After passing through the hands of several people who later died tragically, the large stone was cut into three different diamonds in order to “break the curse.” The Black Orlov has since been displayed at New York’s American Museum of Natural History and London’s Natural History Museum.
- Argyle Pink Jubilee: Discovered at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Australia, the 12.76 carat pink dazzler was refined and cut to remove flaws, resulting in a dazzling 8.01 stone named the Argyle Pink Jubilee in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond Jubilee. The stone was donated to the Melbourne Museum instead of being sold at the Argyle pink diamond tender.
- Darya-ye-Noor: Meaning “sea of light” in Persian, the 182 carat pink stone was mined in India and owned by the Kakatiya dynasty, and later became property of the Mughal emperors. Today, depending on whom you choose to believe, the diamond is either in the vault of a bank in Bangladesh, or located in Tehran with the crown jewels of Iran. More interesting, the Daria-i-Noor may once have been part of larger diamond called the Great Table diamond, property of Shah Jehan circa 1642.
- The Koi Diamond: recently certified by the Gemological Society of America, the Koi Diamond originated as a 60 carat raw diamond from the Congo. An anonymous cutter saw something that no one else did in a gem with its unique colored radiations and almost overwhelming flaws. Now the 32 carat pear-shaped diamond sits in a vault in Antwerp, its unique cut and color evoking images of beautiful ornamental carp of Japan.
- The Oppenheimer Diamond: This perfectly formed yellow diamond was donated to the Smithsonian institution by world-famous jeweler Harry Winston, who also owned and donated the Hope Diamond to that same institution in 1958. The diamond was mined at the Dutoitspan mine in Kimberly, South Africa in 1964. The stone weighs 235.7 carats and is one of the largest uncut diamonds in the world
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