Last updated on June 12, 2023
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond is known for its impressive weight and a history spanning centuries. It has been passed down through the hands of various emperors and monarchs, including those of the Mughal and Persian Empires. Today, the diamond remains an enduring symbol of the wealth and power of these empires and a fascinating piece of history that continues to captivate the world.
The Origin of the Daria-i-Noor Diamond
The origin of the Daria-i-Noor Diamond is shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to have been mined in the legendary Golconda mines of India, which were renowned for producing some of the world’s most famous diamonds. The diamond’s exact date of discovery is unknown, but it is thought to have been in the possession of various Mughal emperors in India, including Shah Jahan, who commissioned the Taj Mahal.
One theory suggests that the diamond was originally part of the Great Table Diamond, owned by the King of Golconda in the early 17th century. When the Great Table Diamond was cut, it is believed that the Daria-i-Noor was one of the resulting stones. Another theory suggests that the diamond was found in the Kollur mines of India, which were also known for producing high-quality diamonds. The diamond may have been brought to the Mughal court as a tribute or gift from a local ruler.
Regardless of its exact origins, the Daria-i-Noor quickly became one of the most prized possessions of the Mughal Empire and was passed down from emperor to emperor for generations.
The Diamond’s Journey Through Mughal and Persian Empires
The Daria-i-Noor’s journey through history took it from the hands of the Mughal emperors in India to the Persian Empire. In 1739, the Persian ruler Nader Shah invaded India and looted many of the Mughal treasures, including the Daria-i-Noor and the Koh-i-Noor Diamond. Nader Shah was so impressed by the diamond’s beauty that he named it the “Sea of Light” and had it added to his own collection of jewels.
The diamond remained in the Persian royal treasury for centuries, passing from ruler to ruler, including Fath-Ali Shah Qajar, who ruled Persia from 1797 to 1834. During this time, the diamond was mounted in a special frame and was worn by Persian rulers during important ceremonies and occasions.
In 1829, the diamond was briefly taken by the British during the Anglo-Persian War. However, it was returned to Persia as part of a peace treaty signed in 1850. During this time, the diamond was also shown to various European monarchs, including Queen Victoria, who was fascinated by its beauty.
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond and European Monarchs
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond has fascinated European monarchs for centuries, ever since it was first brought to the attention of the West in the 19th century. Queen Victoria of Great Britain was one of the first European monarchs to see the diamond during a display of the Persian Crown Jewels in 1851. She was so impressed by its size and beauty that she commissioned a painting of the diamond, which remains in the Royal Collection today.
Other European monarchs were also intrigued by the Daria-i-Noor. The diamond was briefly displayed at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855, where it was seen by Emperor Napoleon III of France. He was reportedly so captivated by the diamond that he offered to buy it from the Persian ruler, but his offer was declined.
The diamond was also shown to Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary in 1887 during a visit to Persia. The emperor was so taken with the diamond that he offered to trade his entire collection of jewels for it, but again, the offer was refused.
Today, the Daria-i-Noor remains a fascinating piece of history that continues to captivate people around the world. Its journey through the hands of various emperors and monarchs, and its enduring beauty, have secured its place in the annals of gemstone history.
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond Today
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond remains an important part of the Iranian Crown Jewels and is considered one of the most valuable diamonds in the world. It is estimated to be worth over $20 billion, although its true value is considered priceless due to its historical significance and rarity.
The diamond is currently mounted in a brooch along with 457 smaller diamonds and is on display at the Central Bank of Iran in Tehran and is open to public viewing.
Despite its importance, there have been rumours and debates about the possibility of the diamond being sold or traded. However, the Iranian government has made it clear that the diamond is not for sale and will remain an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.
In addition to its value as a cultural treasure, the Daria-i-Noor Diamond is also seen as a symbol of strength and resilience. It has survived centuries of wars, invasions, and political turmoil and has remained an important symbol of Iranian history and culture. It continues to be a source of pride for the Iranian people and a reminder of their rich and complex past.
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond Characteristics
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond is a type IIa diamond, which means that it is almost entirely devoid of impurities such as nitrogen and other trace elements. This gives the diamond a remarkable level of clarity and brilliance, which is part of what makes it so valuable.
The diamond is also notable for its size and weight. It is one of the largest diamonds in the world, weighing approximately 186 carats. However, the precise weight is uncertain as its removal from its mid-19th-century setting may result in significant damage. The dimensions of the diamond are roughly 41.40 mm x 29.50 mm x 12.15 mm.
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond has a pale pink colour, which is characteristic of some of the diamonds found in the Golconda mines in India. The diamond’s shape is also distinctive. It is a rectangular cushion-shaped diamond with a table or taviz cut, which gives it a unique and striking appearance. The diamond is relatively flat, which allows it to be mounted in a brooch or other piece of jewellery without appearing too bulky or heavy.
Despite its age and the fact that it has passed through many hands over the centuries, the Daria-i-Noor Diamond remains in excellent condition. Its clarity, colour, and shape have remained remarkably consistent, which is a testament to the skill and care of the diamond cutters who have handled it over the years.
The Symbolism of the Daria-i-Noor Diamond
The Daria-i-Noor Diamond is not just a rare and valuable gemstone, but it is also a symbol of history, culture, and spirituality. The diamond has been imbued with numerous meanings and interpretations over the centuries, and its symbolism continues to be a source of fascination for many people.
For the people of Iran, the Daria-i-Noor Diamond is a powerful symbol of national pride and identity. It is seen as a reminder of the country’s rich cultural heritage and its enduring strength and resilience in the face of adversity. The diamond is also associated with the Persian Empire and its legacy and is seen as a symbol of power and authority.
In addition to its cultural significance, the Daria-i-Noor Diamond is also considered to have spiritual and mystical properties. Some believe that the diamond has the power to enhance mental clarity and intuition and to promote peace and harmony in relationships. It is also believed to be a protective stone, capable of warding off negative energy and promoting positive vibrations.
The diamond’s symbolism is not limited to Iran or the Persian Empire, however. It has been viewed as a symbol of wealth, prestige, and opulence by European monarchs and other wealthy elites throughout history. Its size, rarity, and beauty have made it a coveted treasure for centuries, and it continues to inspire awe and fascination in those who see it.
The symbolism of the Daria-i-Noor Diamond is complex and multifaceted, reflecting its long and storied history. Whether viewed as a cultural treasure, a symbol of power and authority, or a mystical talisman, the diamond continues to be a source of inspiration and wonder for people around the world.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons