Hello, My Jewels.
Today is the third, and next to last installment of our famous diamond series. On the menu for today are some rocks that are sure to make your mouth water: The Orloff, The Pigot, and The Golden Jubilee.
The Orloff was discovered in the mid-18th century in India. It is a rose-cut, like a half-egg, 195 carat blue-green diamond with a rare level of purity. Stolen, the Orloff passed from hand to hand, resulting in impressive increases in value. So much so that the Persian merchant, Khojeh, was unable to sell it. It was just too expensive, even for crowned princes and kings.
Khojeh’s luck changed in 1773, when he met Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, who, in an attempt to gain the favor or Catherine II of Russia, bought the jewel. A talented manipulator, Catherine, accepted the gift and set it in the royal scepter of Russia. Orlov, upon realizing that he would never be able to conquer her heart, fell into a deep depression and would spend the rest of his days interned in an asylum….
The Pigot seems to be the only diamond in history to have been voluntarily destroyed. Also known as the “Broken Diamond”, the Pigot weighed 61 carats. Offered to George Pigot as a gift from an Indian prince during his term as English governor of Madras, this magnificent diamond was immediately sold upon the death of its owner in 1777. Its whereabouts were unknown for years until it resurfaced in 1818 when Ali, pasha of Ioannina (Epirus) purchased it for 30,000 pounds sterling. In 1822, the pasha was mortally wounded after two years of battle and asked his aide, Captain d’Angas, to destroy his two most precious treasures: his diamond…
and his wife, Vassilika.
He lived just long enough to see his diamond crushed, but died before his wife could be executed. This saved Vassilika’s life. What happened to the diamond? No one knows. But one thing is certain, Vassilika and d’Angas had no financial problems to speak of after the event….
The Golden Jubilee
The Golden Jubilee is no less than the largest cut diamond in the world! This yellow-brown jewel weighs an incredible 545.47 carats (755 carats before the cutting process). Discovered in 1985 in a mine in South Africa, the diamond was bought 10 years later by a Thai delegation who offered it to King Rama IX of Thailand as a tribute to the 50th anniversary of his coronation.
More to come in my next (and final) entry on the most famous diamonds in the world.