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The 59 carat Pink Star diamond is about to be auctioned next month and is expected to fetch close to $60 million. Believed to be the most valuable diamond to ever have have been auctioned, the Pink Star is currently on display in London by Sotheby’s, before it goes on auction in Hong Kong. The diamond was mined in Africa by De Beers in 1999 and in its unpolished form, weighed about 132.5 carat.
The Pink Star is one among several diamonds around the world, valued for their quality and historicity. Majority of them have originated in mines of Africa and India, before they made their way around the world, either through foreign occupation or through business transactions.
Here are five famous diamonds that originated in India and are known worldwide for their richness in historicity and brilliance in quality.
Named after the Mughal emperor Akbar, this 73.60 carat diamond is dated back to his possession in the seventeenth century. It is said to have been passed on to the emperor Shah Jahan who engraved it in Arabic with the name of Akbar, its first owner and his own name. Under Shah Jahan, the diamond became a part of the famous peacock throne. By end of the 17th century though, the diamond disappeared. When it did reappear in the nineteenth century, it did so in Constantinople where it was bought by a merchant named George Blogg. The following year, the diamond was bought by the Gaekwad of Baroda, whose family is the last known owner of the piece of jewel.
The largest pink diamond to have been discovered in the world is also the oldest in its colour. Weighing approximately 185 carats, the diamond is currently part of the Iranian Crown Jewels. The diamond is believed to have its roots in the Golconda mines of India and later became part of the property of the Mughals. When Nadir Shah of Persia invaded North India in 1739, the Darya-i-noor along with the Peacock throne and the Kohinoor, became part of his loot and has remained in Iran ever since.
Weighing about 55.23 carats, the Sancy diamond is believed to have its origins in India before it became part of the Louvre museum in Paris, where it rests now. The history of this shield shaped pale yellow diamond can be traced back to its possession by the Duke of Burgundy in the 15th century, after whose death it passed on to King Manuel I of Portugal. The diamond later reached French possession and went back and forth from France to England on several occasions, before disappearing completely after the french revolution. It reappeared again in 1828 when it was purchased by Price Demidov of Russia and remained as part of his family collection till 1865 when it was sold to Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy for £100,000. Between 1867 and 1906 it disappeared once again from historical records, after which it was in the possession of the Astor family. They sold it to the Louvre for $1 million where it now remains.
The Archduke Joseph
Also originating in the Golconda mines of south India, the diamond’s first historical record can be traced back to the ownership of Archduke Joseph August of Austria after whom it is named. How it reached him remains unknown. In 1936 it was sold to an anonymous European banker who deposited in a bank in France where it remained safe from German occupation during the Second Word War. The diamond, known for its brilliance in colour, quality and shape was auctioned in 1961, 1993 and again in 2012 when it fetched more than $21 million.
The Shah Diamond
Historically dating back to the 15th century, the Shah diamond is believed to have first made its royal appearance in the Nizam Shahi court of Ahmednagar in 1591. It was later acquired by Akbar when he occupied Ahmednagar and continued to pass down in his lineage. When Aurangzeb came to power in the 17th century he decorated the diamond above his throne, where it was noticed by the French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. The diamond that weighs about 88 carats, was also a part of Nadir Shah’s loot and remained in Persia for a long time before the Russian government acquired it in the early 19th century and is present there as part of the Kremlin Diamond Fund.