Diamonds are the undisputed rulers of the gem world and India has been the classic country of their origin. They have been part of Indian history for more than 3000 years. Even the ancient Sanskrit scripture, Arthshastras that was written in the 3rd B.C., describes the stone’s beauty and brilliance.
It is said that until the discovery of diamond mines in Brazil, South Africa in the eighteenth century, India remained the primary supplier of diamonds to the world. There were many sites in India where diamond was mined such as Borneo (Ladakh), Hindostan and Raolconda. However, what overshadowed all these mentioned sites was the legendary diamond mine in Golconda.
The state of Golconda
Golconda, a south western city in India, was the capitol of the ancient Kingdom of Golconda. The kingdom of Golconda was ruled by the Kakatiya kings, who were one the most important and powerful Muslim sultanates in that region. Qutb Shahi kings later conquered the fort and Golconda remained their capital until 1590, when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. In 1687 Aurangzeb, the great Mogul emperor defeated Qutb Shahi kings and the fort became a part of the Mogul dynasty.
Golconda Diamond mines were located in the lower portions of Krishna and Godavari rivers. These mines were famous for producing the finest and the biggest diamonds with exceptional clarity. In the reign of Kakatiya kings, Golconda was not only a major producer of diamonds but it also became a hub of diamond trade. Many historians and writers such as French traveler Jean Baptiste Tavernier and Venetian traveler Marco Polo wrote elaborate descriptions of these diamonds in their journals. The fame of Golconda diamond mines owes much to the fact that many of the historically significant diamonds have come from these mines.
Some of the most phenomenal diamonds that these mines have produced includes the Koh-i-Noor, The Blue Hope, Darya-i-Noor, Noor-ul-Ail, The Regent, The Witterbach Diamond, Orlov Diamond, Sanc Diamond and the Indore Pears.
At present the diamond sources of these mines are more or less exhausted. Golconda diamonds have also become extremely rare and are mainly found in museums or as part of collections of Indian and European royalties. But, the name Golconda diamonds still remains. The name Golconda with time has become synonymous to diamonds of highest quality and transparency. In 1980s, The Gubelin Gem Lab, Switzerland added a Golconda Appendix to its grading report for exceptional diamonds that show a combination of rare properties such as antique style of cutting, superior color and clarity. To earn this status, the diamonds will have to qualify as type IIa, signifying that the diamonds are free from nitrogen element and are therefore chemically pure.