The Black Orlov Diamond: A Jewel Shrouded in Mystery

The Black Orlov Diamond: A Jewel Shrouded in Mystery

Black Orlov Diamond Necklace

Black Orlov Diamond Necklace // London Museum of Natural History



The Black Orlov Diamond, also known as the "Eye of Brahma" Diamond, is a diamond like no other. Its enthralling beauty is magnified by an enigmatic history that has intrigued gem enthusiasts and historians alike. This article will delve into the significant aspects of the Black Orlov Diamond, including its significant owners, alleged curse, intriguing story, size, the original rough stone, and its monetary value.


Origins and Original Rough Stone

The Black Orlov Diamond is believed to have originated from India and weighed an impressive 195 carats in its rough form. The black hue, which gives the gem its allure, comes from the presence of natural inclusions, such as graphite.

Some accounts suggest that the diamond was once part of a larger gem that was set as one of the eyes in a statue of the Hindu god Brahma at a shrine in Pondicherry. It was reportedly stolen from the statue in the early 19th century, giving rise to tales of a curse.


The Curse of the Black Orlov

Black Orlov Diamond

Black Orlov Diamond //


The curse that supposedly haunts the Black Orlov has captured the imagination of many. The legend began after the gem was allegedly stolen from the statue of Brahma. Some believe that the theft angered the gods, causing a curse to befall those who possessed the diamond.

Several owners and individuals connected with the gem met untimely and tragic ends, further fueling the myth of the curse. Two of the diamond's early owners, Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orlov (after whom the diamond is named) and Princess Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky, allegedly leaped to their deaths in the 1940s. These events cemented the belief in the curse, though evidence linking the tragedies directly to the diamond remains scant.


Significant Owners and Journey

The Black Orlov's journey through various owners has added to its mystique. After being stolen, the diamond made its way into the hands of Charles F. Winson, a notable gem dealer, who cut the gem to its current size of 67.50 carats.

From Winson, the diamond was passed through several hands, including those of diamond dealers and private collectors. In 1947, it was purchased by a New York gem dealer, Harry Winston, who sold it to a private client. Later, it was auctioned off and bought by Dennis Petimezas in 2004, who was aware of the curse but considered it a mere myth.


Size and Appearance

Black Orlov Diamond Necklace

Black Orlove Diamond Necklace // De Beers


The diamond's intriguing black color and exceptional brilliance make it one of the most sought-after gems in the world. After being cut from its original rough form, the gem was fashioned into a cushion-cut diamond, weighing 67.50 carats. It's typically displayed in a brooch, surrounded by 108 colorless diamonds, arranged in a magnificent setting.



The value of the Black Orlov Diamond has fluctuated over time, reflecting changes in ownership and market demand. As of the most recent sale, the diamond was valued at approximately $350,000. Its rarity, historical significance, and unique appearance contribute to its high value.


Final Thoughs

The Black Orlov Diamond is more than just a rare and beautiful gem; it's a symbol of intrigue, history, and folklore. Its journey through time, from a sacred statue to the hands of princesses and collectors, is filled with mystery and excitement.

The legends of the curse, though never substantiated, add a layer of mystique that continues to captivate those who encounter it. Its striking appearance and captivating story ensure that the Black Orlov Diamond will remain a subject of fascination for generations to come.

In the world of precious gems, the Black Orlov stands as a testament to the human fascination with beauty, mystery, and the unknown. Whether viewed as a cursed artifact or a breathtaking jewel, its story continues to inspire and enthrall.


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