The 'Golconda Diamonds' are Indian diamonds mined in a specific geographic area within the historic Golconda Sultanate (present day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states of India). Diamonds from these mines were transported to the city of Hyderabad to be cut, polished, evaluated and sold. Golconda 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 largest diamonds in the world. Thus, the legendary name 'Golconda Diamond' became synonymous with Golconda itself.
One of the most popular diamond mines was Kollur Mine (presently in Guntur district). 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:
- 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 Great Mogul Diamond, 280 carats (56 g) cut, 787 carats (157.4 g) rough; lost after Nādir Shāh sacked Delhi.
- The Pitt or Regent Diamond, 140 carats (28.0 g); in the Apollo Gallery, Louvre Museum, Paris.
- Nizām Diamond, 340 carats (68.0 g); currently owned by the Government of India.
- The Orloff Diamond, 300 carats (60.0 g).
- Daryā-ye Nūr, 182 carats (36.4 g); in the Iranian Crown.
- 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 Hope Diamond, 67 carats (13.4 g); in the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
- Dresden Green Diamond, 41 carats (8.2 g); "The New Green Vault" in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.
- Princie Diamond, 34.65 carats (6.930 g) cut; auctioned by Christie's in New York and purchased by an anonymous collector.
- Archduke Joseph Diamond, 78.54 carats (15.708 g) cut; auctioned by Christie's in New York and purchased by an anonymous collector.
- Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, 31.06 carats (6.212 g) cut; currently owned by Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former ruler of Qatar.
- 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.[permanent dead link]
- "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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