Diamonds of legend


Every diamond of note has attached to it a story, that is as colourful and eclectic as the stone itself. Some diamonds may have been cursed, others may have been gifts of undying love and fidelity, still others feuded and lusted after by kings, warlords and monarchs.Whatever the story, these diamonds have become part of legends and myths which have cemented their place in lore and popular culture alike.

From novelas to movies, from comic books to graphic novels and anime, almost all forms of art and storytelling have stories about these gems, either real or inspired by the stone. Movies about the Gem of the Nile, or the Hope Diamond and several others have captivated the imaginations of cine-goers the world over. In this volume, we will take a closer peek at some of the world’s most iconic diamonds with a story.

1. The Hope Diamond: One of the world’s most fabled diamonds, known for its beauty and for a dreadful ‘curse’ that it purportedly carries, the Hope Diamond today rests in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. If there is one diamond that has travelled the world, the Hope Diamond would have to be it. From the time it was discovered in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India, in the early seventeenth century it was said to have been coveted by royalty, and graced the royal court of Hyderabad’s Nawabs and the French monarch Louis XIV. It is from France it is said to have gone to England and then the United States. Another fascinating thing about the hope diamond is the curse it supposedly carries. Rumor has it that since this diamond was allegedly stolen from a statue of Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, it carries with it a deadly curse. Spooky? Most certainly. Beautiful? Absolutely!

2. The English Dresden: A strange tale originates with this stone. One of the first and most perfect stones ever to have originated in South America. Procured in Rio de Janeiro by a Mr. Edward Dresden, in the mid 1800s, this diamond was so stunningly white, that in comparison to it, the fabled Kohinoor, the pride of the British royal crown, looked pale yellow. To Dresden’s great misfortune he was forced to sell the stone to an Indian Maharajah, at a meagre profit. While the diamond ended up in the crown jewels of the Maharajah’s collection, Edward Dresden is said to have regretted selling the most amazing diamond he’d ever laid eyes on!

3. The Taylor-Burton Diamond: Elizabeth Taylor had many suitors, but she truly ever loved only one man, billionaire philanthropist Richard Burton, who when proposing to Ms. Taylor, is said to have presented her with this exquisite stone. Burton is said to have procured the stone at the cost of $1.1 million, making it the most extravagant gift of love ever given. Upon his death, a grief stricken Elizabeth Taylor is said to have auctioned it off for nearly $2.8 million and donated every penny to charity! If that isn’t what love is all about, we don’t know what is!

4. The Kohinoor: Fabled as one of India’s greatest gifts to the world, the Kohinoor is easily the world’s most famous diamond, with its story going back to the time of the Mughal invasion of Malwa. Sultan Babur, was said to have accepted the wondrous stone as part of an indemnity, the ruler of Malwa offered him, in return for the suzerainty of his kingdom! A king’s ransom indeed! Babur is said to have offered the diamond to the Shah of Persia as a token of his esteem, and part payment for the army he had been provided by the latter. From Persia, the diamond made its way back to India a century and a half later, when one of Nadir Shah’s general, offered the diamond as a tribute to Sikh general and warrior King Ranjit Singh. When Ranjit Singh was dethroned, by the British, they came in possession of the stone and promptly interred it into the British Royal crown, where it has resided ever since!

About the author:

Lester Whittingham, is an estate jewelry consultant, who in his spare time loves to blog about diamonds and gems. ‎