The Famous Orlov Diamond

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Orlov's genealogy, as well as the stories of other historical diamonds, is covered with veil of vague legends and mysterious contradictions, the only way to get closer to the truth is to compare different historical facts.

One can assume that this famous stone was discovered at the dawn of the17th century in the mines of Golconda (Southern India), it was a fragment a larger fissile crystal. Stone's initial weight was about 400 carats.

Famous Orlov Diamond

When the Great Moguls Empire annexed Golconda, the stone became property of Shah Jahan. According to one version, he ordered to cut the diamond into Indian rose shape, while diamond's crown was cut into a row of 180 small facets, with just a few facets cut on the pavilion. After the cutting, diamond weight decreased almost by half.

According to the legend, the diamond, together with another, equally beautiful and large stone, served as an eye of the statue of Buddha in a temple in the southern city of Srirangam. It has been speculated that its spouse was the "Koh-I-Noor" diamond.

It has been know that when Nadir Shah conquered most of India in 1739, the diamond was transferred to Persia by its new owner. In 1747 after the Shah was assassinated, the empire he built collapsed. During the riots in Isfahan the diamond disappeared. Years later, an Armenian merchant named Gregory Saphrus came into possession of the resplendent relic by circuitous means.

Gregory Saphrus tried to sell the diamond in the city of Astrakhan, but after failing to find a buyer, he sold the ownership rights of half of the stone to his nephew, a wealthy banker and jeweler Ivan Lazarev.

"On Oct 29 1772 it is indicated that the royal jeweler Ivan (Johann Lazarovich') testified, that Gregory Spurs sold me half of his diamond, weighing one hundred and ninety-five carats for 125 thousand rubles ... The same year, the said diamond was sold by me to HRH Prince Orlov, for 400 thousand rubles".

Prince Orlov presented the diamond to the Empress Catherine the II on her Birthday on 24th of November 1773, it was a diamond of an unseen size and beauty, the stone was daily displayed in front of the visitors of the Imperial Palace.

During the Royal Guards' parade, when the aristocrats admired the beauty of the stone, one of Empress's ladies-in-waiting, Princess Galizina exclaimed: "No, gentlemen, this Orlov is really something!", since that day, the diamond received the name "Orlov". Later it has been set in the royal scepter. Special international committee estimated its value at 2 million 400 thousand rubles.

Orlove's destiny often intersects the fate of many other famous diamonds, such as "Regent", " Darya-ye Noor ", and "the Great Mogul". Researchers will probably continue to explore this famous stone's miraculous life. Today "Orlov" is the largest of the world's renowned diamonds. It is the pride of the collection of the famous Diamond Fund of Russia.