The Koh-i-noor diamond often evokes an emotional response from Indians followed by a strong desire to get it back to India from the UK. But that is not the only rare diamond to have originated in India and ended in foreign hands. There are several more that are worth millions of dollars and ended up in the hands of the French, Russians, Persians, Americans, Austrians, Dutch, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese, Poles, Hungarians, and others through various routes. Here are a few -
The Regent Diamond or Le Regent or The Pitt Diamond - Owned by the French state and currently on display at The Louvre museum in Paris and valued at around $50 million, The Regent has made it to the handle of Napoleon’s sword, mounted on the crowns of Louis XVIII, Charles X and Napoleon III, and even to adorn a hat belonging to Marie Antoinette.
Story goes that in 1698 a slave found the 410 carat uncut diamond in Kollur mine (in Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India) and hid it inside a large wound in his leg. An English sea captain stole the diamond from the slave, killed him and sold it to an Indian merchant. Thomas Pitt, the British Governor of Fort St. George, acquired it from a merchant in Madras in 1701, so it is sometimes also known as the Pitt Diamond. Thomas Pitt had the diamond cut in London, between 1704 and 1706, into a 141 carats cushion brilliant and sold it to the French Regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, in 1717 for £135,000. In 1792, during the revolutionary furore in Paris, "Le Régent" was stolen along with other crown jewels of France, but was later recovered before being redeemed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1801.
The Hope Diamond or Le Bijou du Roi (The King's Jewel) or Le bleu de France (The Blue of France) or The Tavernier Blue - It’s a 45.52-carat deep-blue diamond valued at around $250 million, and now housed in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Like the Koh-i-noor, The Hope diamond also carries a supposed curse to the effect that it brings misfortune and tragedy to persons who own it or wear it.
The gemstone originated in India in the Kollur mine in the Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh as well, though it is unclear who had initially owned it or where it was found or by whom. But the first historical records suggest that the famous French traveler to India, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier obtained the stone in the mid-1600s, possibly by purchase or by theft. Tavernier brought to Paris a large uncut stone which was the first known precursor to the Hope Diamond. This large stone became known as the Tavernier Blue diamond. It was a crudely cut triangular shaped stone of 115 carats.
In 1678, Louis XIV commissioned the court jeweller, Sieur Pitau, to recut the Tavernier Blue, resulting in a 67.125-carat stone which royal inventories thereafter listed as Diamant Bleu de la Couronne de France or The Blue Diamond of the Crown of France. Later English-speaking historians have simply called it the French Blue. On 21 January 1793, Louis XVI was guillotined and Marie Antoinette was guillotined on 16 October of the same year: these beheadings are commonly cited as a result of the diamond's "curse".
The stone was later reported to have been acquired by a rich London banker named Thomas Hope and finally ended up in the US.
The Orlov Diamond - It has the shape and proportions of half a chicken’s egg, it is currently part of the collection of the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin. Probably mined at the Kollur Mine in Andhra Pradesh, it appears in history as far back as the 2nd century CE, when it was mounted on the idol of Sri Ranganathaswamy in a temple, situated on an island in the Cauvery River in Tamil Nadu. It was stolen in 1747 by a French soldier who had frequented the temple for many years prior to the theft, and who had been (or pretended to be) a devotee of the Lord.
The as yet unnamed stone passed from merchant to merchant, eventually appearing for sale in Amsterdam. Shaffrass, an Iranian millionaire who then owned the diamond, found an eager buyer in Count Grigory Grigorievich Orlov who paid a purported 400,000 Dutch florins. Years before the purchase, Grigory Orlov had been romantically involved with the young Catherine the Great of Russia, an affair beginning while she was Empress Consort of Russia, married to the Emperor Peter III of Russia. Their affair continued as Grigory Orlov led the way in the dethronement of her husband in a coup d'état and the elevation of Catherine to power. Catherine named the diamond after the Count, and had her jeweller, C. N. Troitinski, design a sceptre incorporating the Orlov. Now known as the Imperial Sceptre, it was completed in 1784.
The Black Orlov Diamond or The Eye of Brahma Diamond - A black diamond weighing 67.50 carats, it was originally 195 carats and is said to have been discovered in the early 19th century in India. It supposedly featured as one of the eyes in a statue of the Hindu god Brahma in Pondicherry, until it was stolen by a monk. According to legend, this theft caused the diamond to be cursed.
In 1932, diamond dealer J. W. Paris is said to have taken the diamond to the United States and soon after committed suicide by jumping from a skyscraper in New York City. Later owners included two Russian princesses called Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky and Nadia Vygin-Orlov (after whom the diamond is named). Both women allegedly jumped to their deaths in the 1940s. The Black Orlov has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum in London.
The Briolette of India - The oldest diamond on record in the world, even older than the famous Koh-i-Noor. Its history was thought to date from the 12th century, when it was first acquired by Eleanor of Aquitaine, the Queen consort of King Louis VII of France between 1137 and 1152. The Briolette of India is a colorless diamond weighing 90.38 carats that was found in India and is cut in a briolette shape.
The diamond was in the possession of several famous historical figures such as King Richard the Lion Heart, who carried it with him to the third crusade, and King Henry II of France who presented it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. The Briolette of India has disappeared from records for long periods, sometimes even for several centuries, before resurfacing again. It is currently believed to be in the possession of a European family.
Daria-i-Noor or Darya-ye-Noor - It means “Sea of light” in Persian; One of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing an estimated 182 carats, it is pale pink in color and one of the rarest to be found in diamonds. The Daria-i-Noor is in the Iranian Crown Jewels of Central Bank of Iran in Tehran.
Like the Koh-i-Noor, it was also mined at the Kollur in Andhra Pradesh, India and originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty. Later it was looted by Turkic Khilji dynasty and to Mughal emperors. In 1739, emperor Nader Shah of Persia invaded Northern India and occupied Delhi. As payment for returning the crown of India to the Mughal emperor, Muhammad, he took possession of the entire fabled treasury of the Mughals, including the Darya-i-noor, in addition to the Koh-i-noor and the Peacock throne.
Noor-ul-Ain - Meaning “the light of the eye” in Persian, it is one of the largest pink diamonds in the world, and the center piece of the tiara of the same name.
Along with Koh-i-Noor and Daria-i-Noor, the Noor-ul-Ain was brought into the Iranian Imperial collection after Persian king Nader Shah looted Delhi in 1739. The Daria-i-Noor and the Noor-ul-Ain may have been originally part of a larger diamond that was called the Great Table Diamond. The Noor-ul-Ain is the principal diamond mounted in a tiara of the same name made for Iranian Empress Farah Pahlavi's wedding to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1958. The tiara forms part of the Iranian crown jewels, held at the National Treasury of Iran in the Central Bank in Tehran.
Nassak Diamond or The Eye of the Idol - Weighing 43.38 carats, it originated as a larger 89 carat diamond in the 15th century in India. Found in the Amaragiri mine located in Mahbubnagar, Telangana, India, the diamond was the adornment in the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik, in the state of Maharashtra, India from at least 1500 to 1817.
The British East India Company captured the diamond through the Third Anglo-Maratha War and sold it to British jewellers Rundell and Bridge in 1818. Rundell and Bridge recut the diamond in 1818, after which it made its way into the handle of the 1st Marquess of Westminster's dress sword. The Nassak Diamond was imported into the United States in 1927, and was considered one of the first 24 great diamonds of the world by 1930.
Dresden Green Diamond - It’s a natural green diamond, potentially internally flawless, weighing 41 carats, which probably originated in the Kollur mine, Andhra Pradesh in India.
It is named after Dresden, the capital of Saxony, Germany where it has been on display for most of the last two centuries. Today, the diamond is shown in the "New Green Vault" at Dresden Castle. The Dresden Green Diamond has a historical record dating back to 1722, when a London news-sheet carried an article about it. It was acquired by Augustus III of Poland from a Dutch merchant in 1742 at the Leipzig Fair.
Archduke Joseph Diamond - A colorless, antique cushion-shaped brilliant, weighing 76.45 carat, it’s yet another rare diamond from the Golconda mines in India. It was named after Archduke Joseph August of Austria, its first recorded owner who had it deposited in the vault of the Hungarian General Credit Bank on 1 June 1933. This was the first record of the existence of the Archduke Joseph diamond. How it made its way into the ownership of Archduke Joseph August of Austria is not known.
In 1936 it was sold to an anonymous buyer who is believed to have been a European banker and kept in France, locked away in a safe deposit box, where it remained undiscovered from the German occupation powers during World War II. It surfaced at auction (but not sold) in 1961 in London and again at Christie's in Geneva in November 1993. On November 13, 2012 the Archduke Joseph was sold for $21 million to an anonymous bidder.
Besides the above, there are others like the Tereshchenko diamond, the Sancy diamond, the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond, the Princie diamond, and many others that continue to dazzle with their brilliance.