The Golconda Diamonds are Indian diamonds mined in a specific geographic area in the present-day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states of South India. During the rule of the historic Qutb Shahi dynasty (16th century–17th century CE), also known as the "Golconda Sultanate", diamonds from these mines (especially Kollur Mine) were transported to the city of Hyderabad to be cut, polished, evaluated and sold. Golconda in Hyderabad established itself as a diamond trading center and, until the end of the 19th century, the Golconda market was the primary source of the finest and one of the largest diamonds in the world. Thus, the legendary name 'Golconda Diamond' became synonymous with Golconda itself. The Golconda region has produced some of the world's most famous diamonds, including the colorless Koh-i-Noor (now owned by the United Kingdom), the blue Hope (United States), the pink Daria-i-Noor (Iran), the white Regent (France), the Dresden Green (Germany), and the colorless Orlov (Russia), Nizam and Jacob (India), as well as the now lost diamonds Florentine Yellow, Akbar Shah and Great Mogul.
One of the most popular diamond mines was Kollur Mine (presently in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh). There were also other mines around the River Krishna in South India. Along with diamonds, the region also became a trade center for metalware, pearls, spices and textiles. According to The New Indian Express (22 October 2016), "the Hyderabad based historian, Muhammad Safiullah says such was the trade that the estimated output from all mines in Golconda was estimated to be around 12 million carats".
Earlier, Golconda sultanate was located in between the two major sea ports of India, Surat and Machilipatnam. The town was developed as a trade center and, under the patronage of the Qutb Shahi rulers, a thriving market particularly of diamonds was developed nearby the Golconda fort, the work force involved in the diamond trading was up to 100,000 people. The medieval diamond trade drew travelers from around the world and the ruling patrons constructed facilities and provided security for traders to stay and do business, particularly those travelling from Europe and central Asia. According to Manu S. Pillai, (The Hindu, 05 November 2016), Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, renowned French traveller and jeweller, claimed to have seen a flat diamond called the Great Table diamond kept in a dungeon in Golconda. Jean de Thévenot and François Bernier were also French traders in 'Golconda Diamonds'.
Some of the most famous diamonds from Golconda are:
- The Nizam Diamond, 340 carats (68.0 g).
- The Great Mogul Diamond, 280 carats (56 g) cut, 787 carats (157.4 g) rough; lost after Nader Shah sacked Delhi.
- The Orlov Diamond, 189.62 carats (37.9 g) cut; currently part of the Diamond Fund at the Moscow Kremlin, Russia.
- The Jacob Diamond 184.75 carats (36.950 g) cut; currently at the Reserve Bank of India vaults in Mumbai.
- The Daria-i-Noor, 182 carats (36.4 g); in the Iranian Crown.
- The Regent Diamond, 140 carats (28.0 g); in the Apollo Gallery, Louvre Museum, Paris.
- The Florentine Diamond, 137.27 carats (27.5 g); lost.
- The Koh-i-Noor, 105.6 carats (21.12 g) (793 carats (158.6 g) rough, 186 carats (37.2 g) cut, further cut for Crown Jewels); in the British Crown Jewels, London.
- The Nassak Diamond, 43.38 carats (8.676 g) cut; with Edward J. Hand since 1970, Greenwich, Connecticut, US.
- The Sancy Diamond, 55.23 carats (11.046 g) cut; in the Galerie d'Apollon, Paris.
- The Shah Diamond, 88.7 carats (17.74 g) cut; in the Diamond Fund, Kremlin, Russia.
- The The Hope Diamond, 67 carats (13.4 g); in the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
- The Dresden Green Diamond, 41 carats (8.2 g); "The New Green Vault" in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.
- The Princie Diamond, 34.65 carats (6.930 g) cut; auctioned by Christie's in New York and purchased by an anonymous collector.
- The Archduke Joseph Diamond, 78.54 carats (15.708 g) cut; auctioned by Christie's in New York and purchased by an anonymous collector.
- The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, 31.06 carats (6.212 g) cut; currently owned by Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former ruler of Qatar.
- The Noor-ul-Ain, 60 carats (12 g) cut; currently in the National Treasury of Iran.
Out of 38 diamond mines of India, 23 were located in the Golconda Sultanate, making it the 'Diamond Capital' of the past. It was considered a point of pride by any ruler to be the owner of one of the Golconda Diamonds. The top four pink diamonds of the world are from Golconda.
Currently, most of the world famous diamonds are from Golconda, and several monarchs and legendary personalities keep them as a mark of pride.
- the Koh I Noor Diamond, at the center of the Queen Mother's Crown in the Tower of London;
- the Regent Diamond, in the hilt of Napoleon's sword;
- the Idol's Eye, 70 carats, formerly owned by Sultan of Kashmir;
- the Agra Diamond, worn by the Babur Mughal emperor in the center of his turban, 1526;
- the Wittelsbach Diamond, sold to King Philip IV of Spain.
- Gomelsky, Victoria (20 March 2011). "The Market for Golconda Diamonds Has Mushroomed". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Shanker, K Shiva (22 October 2016). "Famed golconda diamonds may still fetch record prices". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Srivathsan, A; Venkateshwarlu, K (17 June 2016). "Golconda diamond fetches world record price". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Pilli, Manu S (5 November 2016). "Delving into the rich and often bloody history of Golconda Fort". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "Is Telangana sitting on a bed of diamonds?". Zee News. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- Gupta, Harsh K (2000). Deccan Heritage. Indian National Science Academy and University Press. p. 141. ISBN 9788173712852. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- Erlich, Edward; Hausel, W. Dan (2002). Diamond Deposits. SME. p. 3–4. ISBN 9780873352130. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- "On Golconda Rock". Outlook India. 12 November 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
- "Princie Diamond: Rare Indian gem sells for $39m". BBC News. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
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