Monday, October 24, 2011

The World's Best Diamonds Are...

The Hope Diamond Necklace
Photo of the Hope Diamond courtesy of the Smithsonian

Most people in the U.S. know that the largest deep blue diamond in the world, the Hope Diamond, is housed at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.  What you may not know--I did not know--is that it is believed to have been mined from the legendary and now depleted Golconda diamond mine in India.  The diamonds that came from the Golconda mine are identified by a complete lack of nitrogen, making them the most beautiful diamonds in existence, with their own special classification of IIa.  Only 2% of all diamonds qualify for this classification.  Golconda diamonds are some of the largest diamonds in the world, and are also characterized by their unique "old-world" cuts.

The Golconda mines were opened in about the 4th century B.C., and were depleted by the mid-1800's.  Some of the most famous diamonds in the world come from the mine, including the pink Darya-i-Nur (Sea of Light) that is set in a brooch, and the pink Noor-ol-Ain that is set in a tiara, both of which are in the collection of the Iranian Crown Jewels; and the Orlov that is set in the sceptre of Catherine the Great.

For more information, see the DiamondVues website, and the AllAboutGemstones website.

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