10 Legendary Diamonds from History
The famous saying about diamond is that “Diamonds are forever” because a diamond symbolizes eternal love, purity and strength. Diamonds were formed at least 990 million years ago, although some are estimated to be as many as 4.25 billion years old. A diamond is known by its 4 C’s. There are four different characteristics- the Carat, the Color, the Cut and the Clarity. A number of large or extraordinary diamonds have gained fame, both as exquisite examples of the beautiful nature of diamonds, and because of the famous people who wore, bought, and sold them. A list of most famous diamonds in history follows.
The origin of the diamond is unclear, although rumors abound. According to some sources, the Koh-i-noor was originally found more than 5000 years ago. Some mythological beliefs held about it are that the diamond was from the Sun God to his avatar which produces 1000 kg of gold daily. Krishna got the blame of stealing the diamond from the avatar’s brother who is killed by a lion. Krishna, to restore his reputation, fought a fierce battle with Jāmbavān and gave the stone back to the avatar. Now being ashamed with himself he offered his daughter’s hand to Krishna along with the stone. Krishna accepted his daughter hand but refused to take the stone.
10. Tiffany Yellow Diamond
The Tiffany Yellow Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered; it weighed 287.42 carats in the rough when discovered in 1878 in the Kimberley mine in South Africa. Founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837, Tiffany & Co. came to the fore among diamond merchants during the second half of the 1800s. During the political disturbances in Paris in 1848, which cumulated in the overthrough of King Louis Philippe, the firm bought a large quantity of jewels. At the sale of the French Crown Jewels in 1887, Tiffany’s bought a great diamond necklace of Empress Eugénie, considered at the time to have been the finest single item to go on sale.
9. Centenary Diamond
On March 1, 1988, De Beers was having a big bash to celebrate their 100 years in business. Chairman Julian Oglivie capped off his speech with a little tidbit that stunned the crowd – De Beers’ Premier Mine had recently uncovered a diamond that was perfect in color and weighed 599 carats. It had been found nearly two years before; the company kept it quiet for the sole purpose of flaunting it at their 100th anniversary. It didn’t get to keep all 599 of those carats, though – it had to be cut down to remove some cracks around the edges and it took 154 days to cut 50 carats away. That was just the beginning of the stone’s overhaul – when all was said and done, the Centenary ended up weighing 273.85 carats with 247 facets. It was on loan to the Tower of London for a number of years (have any of you seen it?), but it’s rumored that the stone has since been sold. De Beers remains mum on the subject, saying they respect their clients’ anonymity.
8. Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond is a large, 45.52 carats (9.10 g), deep-blue diamond, housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. The Hope Diamond is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure. It is famous for supposedly being cursed. The legend holds that the original form of the Hope Diamond was stolen from an eye of a sculpted idol of the Hindu goddess Sita and the specific legends about the Hope Diamond’s “cursed origin” were invented in the early 20th century to add mystique to the stone.
7. Orlov Diamond
The Orlov (sometimes spelled Orloff) is a large diamond that is part of the collection of the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin. The origin of this resplendent relic – described as having the shape and proportions of half a hen’s egg – can be traced back to 18th century in southern India. The particulars of the Orlov’s story have been lost with time, but it is widely reported that the diamond once served as an eye of the statue in a temple in southern India. The man held responsible for its removal was a French deserter, a grenadier from the Carnatic wars who apparently died after touching the gem. The Orlov is a rarity among historic diamonds, for it retains its original Indian rose-style cut. Its colour is widely stated as white with a faint bluish-green tinge.
6. Klopman diamond
The Klopman diamond is a fabulous, legendaryand huge diamond, said to have a curse associated with it.
The Klopman diamond was originally the subject of a traditional joke, a typical version of which is:
- A businessman boarded a plane to find, sitting next to him, an elegant woman wearing the largest, most stunning diamond ring he had ever seen. He asked her about it.
“This is the Klopman diamond,” she said. “It is beautiful, but it’s like the Hope diamond; there is a terrible curse that goes with it.” “What’s the curse?” the man asked. She said “Mr. Klopman.”
Due to the use of the name “Klopman” and the somewhat dark humor, and the fact that it was one of Myron Cohen’s standards, this joke is sometimes characterised as Yiddish in origin. Some commentators maintain that names other than Klopman would not be as funny, and point to the fact that this joke has survived essentially unaltered for decades.
A later joke of Myron Cohen, similar in nature, goes as follows:
The very same Mrs. Klopman was told by her doctor that she had a fatal condition and would never outlive her husband. She immediately commissioned a world-famous portrait artist to paint her portrait, which was to be hung above the mantel in the living room. As she posed for the portrait, she asked the artist “When you’re done…if you have some paints left….I vant you should add some things to the painting….. I vant you should paint on my wrist a three-tiered diamond tennis bracelet,” she said. “Also, paint on Tahitian black pearl earrings the size of grapes.” She continued in this vein, asking him to paint several rings on her fingers and a ruby and diamond tiara for good measure. The artist did as he was told, and turned out a dazzling portrait. When the job was finished, before he left, the artist said, “May I ask you a question, Mrs. Klopman?” “Sure, go ahead,” she replied. “Well,” said the artist, “painting the Klopman diamond was easy, but I had a heck of a time dreaming up all the other jewelry you wanted me to add on. Tell me, why did you want it?” A crafty gleam lit Mrs. Klopman’s eyes as she explained, “because when I’m dead and my husband brings the next Mrs. Klopman into this house, I want her to look at my portrait and go crazy trying to find all that stuff!”
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