Black Orlov

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Black Orlov
(Eye of Brahma Diamond)
Weight 67.5 carats (13.50 g)
Color Black
Country of origin  India

The Black Orlov is a black diamond, also known as the Eye of Brahma Diamond. It weighs 67.50 carats (13.500 g).[1] The diamond—originally 195 carats (39.0 g)—is said to have been discovered in the early 19th century in India.[2] 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.[3] According to legend, this theft caused the diamond to be cursed.[2] 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.[3]

Later owners included two Russian princesses called Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky and Nadia Vygin-Orlov (after whom the diamond is named).[1][3] Both women allegedly jumped to their deaths in the 1940s.[2][4] The diamond was later bought by Charles F. Winson and cut into three pieces in an attempt to break the curse; the 67.5-carat Black Orlov was set into a brooch of 108 diamonds, suspended from a necklace of 124 diamonds.[5] The diamond was purchased by diamond dealer Dennis Petimezas in 2004; Petimezas said he was "pretty confident that the curse is broken".[2] The Black Orlov has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City[6] and the Natural History Museum in London.[4]


  1. ^ a b Harlow, George E., p. 45
  2. ^ a b c d Jury, Louise (21 September 2005), "Curse of the 'Eye of Brahma' comes to London", The Guardian, Guardian Media Group, retrieved 10 June 2011 
  3. ^ a b c Fanthorpe, Lionel & Patricia, p. 203
  4. ^ a b "'Cursed' Black Diamond on Display", BBC News, BBC, 20 September 2005, retrieved 10 June 2011 
  5. ^ Lavis, Tom (2 March 2006), "Black Orlov Diamond Reportedly to be Worn by Nominee Huffman During Academy Awards", The Tribune-Democrat, Community Newspaper Holdings, retrieved 10 June 2011 
  6. ^ Balfour, Ian, p. 290