There’s a Story Behind Every Great  Diamond of the World

There’s a Story Behind Every Great Diamond of the World

“Every diamond has four Cs – carat, colour, clarity and cut. This basic system has been used for over 100 years to grade the quality of diamonds,” explains Susan Cliff of Robert Cliff Master Jewellers. “These are recognised universally as the four principal characteristics by which both the quality and ultimate value of diamonds are determined. But today there is a fifth C – the Certificate of Authenticity. This document is not a valuation. Rather, it’s a description of the stone itself, assuring either quality or origin. By possessing such a Certificate, you’re assured of getting a genuine stone.”

However, there’s one qualification to the above. You need to make sure the Certificate originated from a Registered Gemmologist and has been issued by qualified Diamond Grading Laboratories.

Perhaps one of the most famous diamonds is the Koh-i-noor diamond belonging to the Royal Family of England. It had been bitterly fought over for centuries having belonged to various Mughal and Persian rulers. Finally, it was seized by the East India Company and became part of the British Crown Jewels when British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli proclaimed Queen Victoria Empress of India in 1877. “Indian legends say the Koh-i-noor diamond originally belonged to Krishna, a Hindu God, and was stolen one night whilst he was sleeping,” Sue comments. “Perhaps that’s why it’s presumed to be cursed. In fact, it has been stolen numerous times over the ages. Various parties warred over the great diamond.

One particularly amusing story occurred in the 18th Century when Nadir Shah of Persia invaded India and all the treasures of the Moguls fell into his hands except the great diamond. When one of the Mogul emperor’s harem informed Nadir Shah that the stone was hidden in the emperor’s turban, Nadir Shah invited him to exchange turbans. Of course, the hapless emperor had no choice but to comply. Later, in the privacy of his tent, Nadir Shah unrolled the turban and the gem fell out. It was then that the Persian proclaimed “Koh-i-noor” which means “Mountain of Light”. Hence, it derived its name.

Other Persian emperors were not so lucky. One descendant of Nadir Shah lost his eyes to a marauder demanding to know the whereabouts of the diamond.

Originally the stone was 186 carats. It’s hard to imagine this size when you consider that the average engagement ring diamond is 1-2 carats in weight. Unfortunately for the Koh-i-noor diamond, Queen Victoria complained that it had insufficient sparkle. So an Amsterdam jeweler was employed to re-cut the diamond. That’s because the more facets a diamond has, the more brilliant (sparkle perhaps) it becomes. The poor Dane laboured over 38 days as he cut the diamond down to 105 carats.

Apparently the pressure to perform was too great as he later suffered a nervous breakdown.

According to the records, the cutting did not add much to the stone’s brilliance. In fact, many maintain that the historical value of the diamond was instead diminished.

But the stone’s history continued to be colourful for the diamond was worn by Queen Victoria as an ornament and through the years ended up as part of a crown made for Queen Mary and another in 1937 for Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) which she wore for her husband’s coronation. The latter crown ended up residing in the Tower of London and was last seen in public adorning Queen Elizabeth’s mother’s (the Queen Mother)casket a few years ago.

“While the British have the Koh-i-noor diamond safely locked away, it hasn’t stopped India from claiming that it was stolen and periodically lobbying for its return,” adds Sue. “Had there perhaps existed a Certificate of Authenticity for the Koh-i-noor diamond, the British would have to have given it back.”

Today the Certificate of Authenticity also tells another bit of information. It should indicate whether or not the diamond is a “conflict diamond”. The United Nations defines such diamonds: “Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognised governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council.”

The movie Blood Diamond with Leonard DiCaprio well illustrated the horrendous circumstances behind such stones. Today people won’t buy such diamonds when they discover their origin.

There are plenty more diamond stories to tell but Susan is saving those for another day. More important is the fact that the people of North and Western Sydney have a Registered Gemmologist and Valuer in their midst. He is Susan’s husband, Robert Cliff, and he is located at Robert Cliff Master Jewellers in Castle Towers in Castle Hill.

Robert Cliff Master Jewellers

Shop 380A Castle Towers
Castle Hill, NSW 2154
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02 8850 7999
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