Famous Black Diamonds
Of the 100 largest known diamonds, a couple of the largest are black diamonds. The largest of these is the 'Black Star of Africa' diamond which is a massive 202 carats. This black diamond was seen for the last time in Tokyo in 1971. Another large black diamond is the 'Table of Islam' emerald cut diamond weighing in at an impressive 160.18 carats.
Black Orloff Diamond
Unfortunately we do not have a picture of either of these diamonds to show you. We do however have a photo of the Black Orloff (Orlov) cushion cut diamond (shown below) which still weighs in at a very respectable 67.50 carats. It is reported to have belonged to a nineteenth-century shrine near Pondicherry, India, and to have weighed 195 carats in the rough. Set in a diamond and platinum necklace, the Black Orloff has been widely exhibited. In 1969, the stone was sold for $300,000. It was resold in 1990 at Sothebys for $99,000. Also called the Eye of Brahma Diamond. The diamond is currently owned by Dennis Petimezas, a diamond dealer from Pennsylvania who bought the diamond for an unspecified sum in 2005.
History of the Diamond
The Black Orloff diamond was discovered in India in the early 1800s. The curse of the diamond is said to be responsible for three deaths. Known as the Black Orlov, or “The Eye of Brahma,” the jewel is haunted by a curse that reportedly began when the original 195-carat diamond was removed from the eye of the idol of Brahma at a shrine near Pondicherry, India.
The diamond is tied to the deaths of three former owners who apparently killed themselves. In an attempt to break the curse, the diamond was re-cut into three separate gems and since has been owned by a succession of private owners, all of whom seem to have escaped the curse.
At least three former owners have apparently killed themselves. In 1932, J W Paris, the diamond dealer who imported the stone to the United States, jumped to his death from one of New York's tallest buildings shortly after concluding the sale of the jewel. And 15 years later, a pair of Russian princesses, Nadia Vyegin-Orlov and Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky, leapt to their deaths within a month of each other.
The diamond itself is set in a 108-diamond brooch suspended from a 124-diamond necklace. Black diamonds are very rare and get their colour from the presence of tiny mineral traces, mainly the iron-oxide minerals magnetite and haematite. Only one in 10,000 diamonds mined is coloured.