World's 10 most precious gems
I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can't possess radiance, you can only admire it", wrote actor Elizabeth Taylor long back. Human beings' fascination for gems and jewels is intrinsic. Their color, brilliance and sparkle have caught human attention for ages. Time has only added to their mystique and enthralling beauty. We present here a list of some of the world's most precious, rare and valuable gems.
1. Hope Diamond
Hope Diamond, also known as Le bleu de France is a large, 45.52 carats deep-blue diamond. A French traveler Jean Baptist Tavernier was sold an extraordinary 'blue-violet' stone by a slave. He never knew that it was the largest deep blue diamond in the world. The Hope Diamond dates back to the 17th century India and is said to be cursed. It now rests in Smithsonian Institute Washington DC. It is classified as a Type Iib diamond and has a long history. It is known to have changed hands numerous times on its way from India to France to England and to the United States. After the Mona Lisa, it is the second most-visited artwork in the world. Its estimated value is $2000-$2500 million.
2. Star of India
Weighing a massive 563.35 carats, the Star of India is the largest and most famous star sapphire in the world. It is almost flawless and unusual in that it has stars on both sides of the stone. The grayish blue gem was mined in Sri Lanka and is now kept in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The Star of India was stolen from American Museum but was recovered from a highly unlikely place -- a locker in a bus station!
Also known as the Cullinan I, the Star of Africa is a stunning pear-shaped diamond that weighs about 530.20 carats. The Star of Africa is the second largest cut diamond in the world. It can be viewed with the other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. Its estimated value is over $400 million.
4. The Tiffany Yellow Diamond
Discovered in 1878 in the Kimberly mines of South Africa, this stone weighed around 287.42 carats and is considered to be one of the largest yellow diamonds in the world. The stone was purchased by New York jeweler Charles Tiffany. His gemologist, George Frederick Kunz, studied the gem for a year before beginning to cut it; reducing it from 287 carats (57.5g) to its current size. The cutting was carried out in Paris. It was mounted by Jean Schlumberger. Its estimated value is over $400 million.
5. Queen Marie of Romania's Sapphire
The enormous blue sapphire is of Sri Lankan origin. This giant rectangular cushion-shaped sapphire, in a breathtaking deep blue cornflower color, is also one of the largest and most historic sapphires of the world. Somewhat narrower at one end than the other (creating a sort of drop effect) came up for auction on November 19, 2003 at Christies of Geneva, Lot 382, Sale 1312. The stone's pre-lot text was 'Property of a Noble Family' and the estimate for the stone, set in a necklace, is 1,200,000 to 1,800,000 Swiss francs (about $879,100 to $1,318,600).
6. The Star of Asia
It is a round blue-violet colored six-ray star sapphire. The stone is believed to have been discovered in Myanmar. It can now be seen in the Smithsonian Museum's collection of famous gemstones. It is said to have belonged to the Maharajah of Jodhpur. It was acquired by the Museum in 1961.
This is a 105 carat diamond that was unearthed in Andhra Pradesh. It was once said that whoever owned the Koh-I-Noor ruled the world. It belonged to various Hindu, Mughal, Turkic, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers who fought bitterly over it at various points in history and seized it as a spoil of war time again. It became part of the British Crown Jewels when Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877.
8. The Orlov
One of the largest diamonds in the world, the Orlov can trace its origins to a Hindu temple of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu in the 18th century.
It is a wonderfully rare diamond among historic diamonds as it has retained its original rose-style cut, and radiates a slight bluish-green tint. The Orlov is mounted in the Imperial Scepter, made during the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-96). The shape of the diamond has been described as resembling half a pigeon's egg and its upper surface is marked by concentrated rows of triangular facets, with corresponding four-sided facets appearing on the lower surface.
The Mughal Emerald is a magnificent dark green emerald in the shape of a tablet that dates back to the period of the last of the great Mughal Emperors of India, Aurangzeb. The historic emerald is characterized by two flat rectangular flat faces, weighs 217.80 carats and is about 10 cm high. Originally mined in Colombia, it was sold in India, where emeralds were much desired by the rulers of the Mughal Empire.
It is the world's largest cut black diamond and also the fifth largest diamond in the world. Starting at an uncut weight of 587 carats (117 g), it was taken from its origin in west central Africa and cut by Swiss jeweler De Grisogono.