Precious stones are minerals which, by reason of their hardness, lustre, beauty of colour or absence of colour, transparency and, in most cases, rarity of occurrence, are carved out and worked into jewellery. However, most of these characteristics are not so general that they can be used as a basis for judgement. Noble opal, for example, is not hard; and the lustre of most gemstones is no better than that of other minerals. As for colour, even more beautiful minerals are found than those used as gemstones, so that rarity is not a property of all gemstones. It is only certain that it is more characteristic of gemstones than of any other mineral:
Most gemstones are composed of very common and very widespread elements, namely silicon, aluminium, magnesium, calcium, fluorine, carbon, etc., and their compositions, taken as their material alone, are practically worthless. What makes them valuable are the physical properties with which they are endowed. The material of diamonds, so precious, is only as much carbon as charcoal or graphite, and often more precious than diamonds, ruby, and sapphire is nothing but common alumina, the same material which is the most important constituent of potter's clay. If we want to classify gemstones by mineral taxonomy, we have the elements of the mineralogy, sulphides, oxides, silicates, phosphates, sulphates, borates-carbonates, halides and organic minerals.
Gemstones can be divided into two major classes, one of which are the true gemstones (gemmae) and the other are the semi-precious stones (lapides pretiosi).
The most commonly used detailed classification, but limited to the main species, is given in the following compilation:
- Diamond, corundum (ruby, sapphire), precious beryl (emerald, aquamarine), spinel, chrysoberyl.
- Zircon (hyacinth), eucalyptus, topaz, phenakite, precious opal, precious garnet (hessonite, almandine, pirope), tourmaline (rubellite, indigolite).
- Chrysolite (olivine), hiddenite, turquoise.
- Cordierite (dichroite), cyanite, andaluzite, ohiastolite, staurolite, axinite, sphene, vesuvian, opidot, diopside, dioptase.
Semi precious stones (semi-precious stones):
- Quartz varieties: rock crystal, amethyst, smoky topaz, citrine, rose quartz, rose quartz, prismatic quartz, avanturine, cat's eye, tiger's eye, chalcedony, carnelian, jasper, chrysoprase, heliotrope, plasma, agate; feldspar varieties: Moonstone (adular), avanturine, feldspar (albite), sunstone (oligoclase), amazonstone (microcline), labradorite, salmonstone (lapis lazuli), H ersthenes (bronzite, bastite, diallagite), rhodonite, hailyn, malachite, fluorite, apatite, amber, bloodstone (hematite), pyrite, obsidian, moldavite (pseudocrysolite).
- Serpentine, nephrite, soapstone, soapstone, natrolite, prehnite, lepidolite, fibrous gypsum, fibrous limestone, aragonite, silica breccia, alabaster, marble.
The mineralogical and jewellery names for gemstones are very different, so the nomenclature of gemstones is actually different in the mineralogical and jewellery sense. Jewellers call some gemstones that are quite different from one another by the same name, on the basis of certain identical but often quite irrelevant properties, but only distinguish them by the adjective.
The adjectives oriental (eastern) and occidental (western) are very common in jewellery names, not to indicate whether the gem is from the East or a western part of the world, but to indicate a certain degree of beauty of the stone, as the more beautiful and finer is called oriental, the more common occidental.
The explanation for this is that the ones from the East are often the most beautiful, hence the generalisation. In practice, of course, it is more the jewellery name, or the trade name, that is used.
In the following table, the commercial and mineralogical names are listed in alphabetical order. In the second column, the name in brackets indicates the name of the mineral species, whereas the other mineral name is often only a variant of the mineral species in question. Where there is no name between brackets, the mineral name is also the name of the mineral species.
Gemstones can be classified according to several criteria, the following compilation shows the differences according to colour (Candidates are rarer varieties or those that are rarely traded).
- Colourless, water-crystals: diamond, white sapphire, white zircon (jargon), white spinel, topaz (water drop), phonakite, rock crystal, acritic.
- Greenish-blue, sea-green: aquamarine, sapphire, topaz, euclase. diamond, fluorite.
- Pale blue, bluish white: sapphire, tourmaline, diamond, topaz, quartz, aquamarine, cyanite.
- Blue colours: sapphire, tourmaline (indigolite), cordierite, cyanite, diamond.
- Violet colours: amethyst, violet ruby (violet sapphire), almandine, fluorite, axinite, apatite, spinel.
- Pink colours: ruby, balas (spinel), rubollite, topaz, fluorite, rose quartz.
- Reds: ruby, spinel, rubellite, almandine (cap-ruby), pirope, fluorite, topaz (Brazilian ruby).
- Brownish-red or reddish-brown: hyacinth, hessonite, almandine, staurolite, tourmaline.
- Smoke browns and carnation browns: smoke topaz, morion, axinite, diamond.
- Dawn reds and reddish yellows: hyacinth, hesszonite, oriental hyacinth, rubicell, vermeil garnet, pirope.
- Yellowish brown: topaz diamond, vesuvian, staurolite, sphene, amber, axinite.
- Yellowish: citrine, topaz, corundum, diamond, beryl, yellow sapphire, jasper, amber, amber, sphene, vesuvian.
- Yellow-green and olive-green: chrysoberyl, chrysolite, tourmaline, andalusite, hyddonite, vesuvian, sphene, mouldavite, corundum.
- Green colours: emerald, alexandrite, green corundum, diamond, zircon, tourmaline, demantoid, dioptase, diopside, hiddenite, epidote, andalusite, fluorite, moldavite.
Transparent and opaque:
- Blues: turquoise, bone turquoise, lazulite, lapis lazuli, copper lazuli.
- Greens: turquoise, nephrite, prehnite, plasma, przem, chrysoprase, amazon stone, pleonast, prehnite.
- Reds: jasper, lepidolite, rhodonite.
- Greyish, white, yellowish, greenish, reddish-white: marble, alabaster, fibrous limestone, fibrous gypsum, mudstone, limestone (agalmatolite), soapstone, diamond feldspar, obsidian.
- Blacks: pleonast, hematite, gagate, carbonate, obsidian.
- Yellows: natrolite, pyrite.
- White grey, black, brown, red: marble, onyx, agate, carnelian, jasper, aragonite.
- Greenish undertones: serpentine, malachite, heliotrope.
Sparkling, opalescent and iridescent stones:
- aventurine feldspar: light in colour, with a reddish-yellow sheen,
- aventurine quartz: bright red with a reddish-yellow lustre,
- bastite: greenish or brownish metallic or pearly lustre,
- bronzite: bronze-coloured with a metallic lustre,
- diamond feldspar: greyish blue opalescence,
- hawk's-eye: bluish with a silky lustre,
- girazol sapphire: greyish blue with blue opalescence,
- hypersthene: coppery red, reddish brown, with a metallic sheen and a variegated play of colours,
- cat's eye: brownish yellow or light grey, with a bluish-white sheen,
- labradorite: greyish blue, blue, yellow, red, green with a play of colours,
- moonstone: yellowish, colourless or creamy blue with a wavy pearly sheen,
- obsidian (chatoyante): grey, yellowish, reddish, silvery-white with a shimmer,
- opalescent: colourless, milky white, greenish, reddish, strongly opalescent
- rainbow quartz: colourless, transparent iridescent,
- sunstone: reddish, with yellowish luster inside,
- star sapphire: greyish blue, with star-shaped lustre,
- tiger's eye: yellowish-brown or woody brown, with a metallic luster and a silky sheen with a wavy sheen.
The naturally beautiful colour of gemstones is usually caused by foreign compounds added in small or large quantities to the material.
Most commonly iron, manganese, copper and chromium compounds, but when it comes to the colour of gemstones, there are still many questions as to what could have caused it. Some gemstones derive their colour from organic substances. In some cases, inclusions of foreign minerals can also cause the colour, with microscopic particles of a foreign mineral giving most lustrous gemstones this property.
There are many gemstones that change colour under certain influences.
For example, it has long been known that some yellow topazes change colour to pink when suitably heated, jasper becomes colourless when ignited, and carnelian takes on a much brighter red colour when ignited.
Asia produces the world's finest gemstones, notably India and the island of Ceylon, then Siberia and the Urals, then South America, and there Brazil and Paraguay in particular.
North America produces some less important gems, but is generally not rich in precious stones.
The southern tip of Africa and Australia are not abundant, but they produce high quality gemstones.
Europe is out of the question in terms of gemstones (except for the quartz varieties), and the best gemstone producing area is still our country, if the finest precious opal is dug from Hungarian soil.
Most gemstones are found in secondary bedding, and usually several gemstones are found together. The number of gemstones found in their original locality is relatively small.
Precious stones in their raw state are not really precious stones.
To be true gemstones, i.e. to fully exploit their excellent properties, they need to be worked to give them a suitable shape and surface. Only finely cut gemstones have the precious fire without which their effect is greatly diminished.
What is said to be fire in gemstones is nothing other than their great ability to refract and scatter light.
Machining is done by grinding, sanding, smoothing and then framing. In the old days, there were not as many different ways of shaping gemstones and enhancing their graceful characteristics as there are today. Only gradually has it become known how much the effect of the stone can be enhanced by the use of artificially produced tiles. This way of working gemstones is not old and is believed to have been invented by Louis of Bequen in 1456. Since then, based on a knowledge of the mineralogy of gemstones and an eye for the internal composition of the crystals, the cutting has made great progress.
Diamonds are the hardest to work. First, you need to know the orientation of the crystal's facets. Once this has been established, the crystal is cut with a chisel and hammer according to the shape of another diamond. The grinding that follows is the most difficult, requiring the most care and effort, but also the most rewarding part of the cutting process, the effect of the gemstone is enhanced almost infinitely by the facets produced by grinding the surface.
For example, in the case of the 16 facet, diamonds are cut into roses so small that 2,000 of them weigh 1 carat.
The diamond is polished at the same time as it is cut, whereas the other gemstones have to be polished separately after cutting. Stones of such a brilliant lustre as opal are not cut in sheets, but into unbroken convex earth colours (cabochons).
Two parts are distinguished on polished gemstones: the upper part, the crown (pavillon) and the lower part (culasse).
These two parts are separated by a plane of maximum diameter. The outer perimeter of this plane marks the location of the socket.
These are the main forms of gemstones produced by grinding:
1. The brilliant or brilliant form,
roughly an octahedron-like shape, with a large leaf at the top and a small leaf at the bottom, and a series of tiny elongated leaflets, called facets, between the central edges. This form of polishing is used because only part of the light rays that fall on the inner surface of a highly refractive medium and on such a facet can reach the air, while the greater part (about 2/3 of the light rays in the case of diamonds) is totally reflected by the medium due to its high refraction. The result of total reflection is that the facet appears in a brilliant light. The edge facets all act as tiny prisms that split the internal light rays into different colours of the spectrum. This is why the outgoing rays are red, green or blue. This phenomenon is known as the fire of gemstones, which is greater the higher the refractive index of the medium relative to air.
2. Rose shape,
which rises in a round or elliptical gula and has triangular leaves.
3. Table shape,
with a flat top and bottom, not numerous and low sides.
4. Indian figure,
which is essentially the same as brilliant, except that it has fewer cards and is therefore simpler.
5. Gradual shape,
with the tiles forming steps.
In addition to these, there are also a number of complex shapes, which are usually chosen according to the nature of the gemstone. The process by which gemstones are applied to objects to be decorated is called setting.
In general, two types of booking are distinguished: case and frame (á jour) booking.
- Reservation in the case
consists of making a case of gold plate, the size of the stone, and placing the stone in the opening. The edge of the case, cut straight or saw-cut, is pressed onto the stone, or the stone is secured in the case by gold beads soldered to the edge. The case is then soldered or screwed to the object. This method of setting has the great advantage of mitigating the defects that occur inside the stones and cannot be removed by grinding. The case setting allows, among other things, to enhance the effect of the colour and lustre of the stone by means of a backing or so-called doubling.
- With a bezel or crown setting the gemstone is set on the edges of the largest diameter plane, leaving the top and bottom of the stone completely free. For the setting of white stones, namely diamonds, silver or platinum is used instead of gold.
The value of a gemstone is determined by its beauty, rarity and, most importantly, how sought after it is, i.e. how fashionable it is.
Size is also a very important factor in determining value, but it is related to rarity, as larger gemstones are much rarer than smaller ones. Much also depends on how much is found at any one time and how much is traded. It is impossible to establish a general series by value. There are quite a few gemstones that were once very valuable, but today their value has plummeted.
The value of a gemstone is greatly reduced by its flaws. The flaws of most gemstones are such that only careful examination and expertise can lead to them. The source of flaws may be primarily the colour of the gem, fading, or in water stones, less than perfect clarity is a significant flaw, but their detection is not easy. The interior of the stone can show a wide variety of defects. These defects may include featheriness, cloudiness, sandiness and porosity.
- a stone is feathery if it has small cracks, fissures, holes and other similar material defects inside,
- cloudy if the stone shows greyish, white, dirty-coloured, cloudy patches,
- sandy, if there are foreign inclusions in the stone in the form of small eyes,
- dusty, if the eyes are very small and very numerous in the stone.
To detect these internal flaws, it is a good idea to look at the gemstone under test by dipping it in water, canada balsam or oil, when the flaws are more obvious.
The unit of weight by which gemstones are measured is the carat, which is 0. 205 grams (see Carat).
The carat weight of the buyer's place of residence or country of origin is usually used as the standard when making a purchase.
Gemstones have created huge industry and trade.
The main places for gem trading:
London, Paris, New York.
The centre of the gem trade is London. The low-rise houses of Halton Garden are home to jewellery shops, from ground floor to attic, where gem dealers and agents work. In the larger cities, there are also special jewellery markets for agents, such as a café on Lafayette Street in Paris.
The most famous places for gem-cutting:
Amsterdam, then Anvers (Antwerp), London, Paris, New York and since the 1970s even Hanau in Germany.
The high value of gemstones has long tempted people to counterfeit them, and recently not only rare and skilfully crafted fake gemstones and imitation gemstones, but also real artificial gemstones have been traded. Nowadays, not only is it impossible for the layman to distinguish fake gemstones from the real thing, but it is also extremely difficult for professionals to recognise them, especially when they are not imitations but artificially created gemstones with identical material and properties to the natural one. The most characteristic property of real gemstones, and the one that makes them easy to identify, is their hardness. In addition to hardness, to determine whether a gemstone is genuine or imitation, we also need to look at its optical properties. More recently, even the optical properties have been imitated in some cases. The imitation of precious stones is practised on a large scale in France, especially in Paris, where the industry has an annual turnover of at least 6 million francs and employs 30,000 people.
Imitation gemstones are usually made of rhinestone glass.
More recently, thallium has been added to these materials to enhance the optical properties of the glass. Instead of rhinestones, glass is also made from the following mixtures for imitation gemstones: quare, soda, burnt borax, minium and saltpetre. The dyes used for rubies, for example, are Cassius's gold-biron, iron oxide, antimony pentasulphide (Goldschwefel) and hypermanganic acid potassium; sapphire is best imitated from the glass mentioned above by adding cobalt carbonate; aquamarine, rhinestone, iron oxide; emeralds are dyed with iron oxide and copper oxide; topaz with uranium oxide; amethyst with manganese oxide. Otherwise, there are as many factories, as many makers, as many recipes, as many procedures for such paintings and for the preparation of the paste.
To be distinguished from imitations of precious stones are those which are produced in order to present stones of similar colour but of much lower value as being of similar value instead of those of higher value, or to give a gem of lesser value an artificial colour which is identical to that of a much higher value.
- A clear rock crystal (Maramaran diamond, Rhenish flint) is used instead of diamonds, or a decolourised corundum or zircon.
- Instead of rubies, spinels or garnets of the same colour are often sold as ruby spinels.
- Artificially produced by annealing, pink topaz and tourmaline are often offered instead of ruby spinel.
- Blue tourmaline, as well as blue-stained quartz, is quite often used as a sapphire.
- Topaz is adulterated with citrine of the same colour.
The hardness test is usually sufficient to detect it, but there are other accurate methods of testing, which are listed in all major books on gemstones.
The most common way of counterfeiting is by what is known as doubling, i.e. combining a more valuable stone with a less valuable one so that only the more valuable one is visible.
In this case, the crown and the lower part of the cut gemstone are different pieces. The two are glued together with mastic, so that the framing makes the gluing invisible.
There are several types of doublet:
- genuine: both the top and the bottom are genuine gemstones,
- semi-genuine: the upper part is a gemstone, but the lower part, or a similar colour, is a much lower value gemstone, or a fake rhinestone,
- hollow: the crown is made of rock crystal and drilled in the shape of a hemisphere, a coloured liquid is poured into the hole and the mouth is glued with a rock crystal slab.
Triple stones, triplets, are also made with both the top and bottom being gemstones, but with glass in between.
The production of doublets has been perfected to such an extent that the two halves, namely the lower part of the glass and the crown, are not glued together, but fused together in such a way that it is difficult to detect a forgery.
In the case where the doublet is glued, it is very easy to detect by placing the stone in boiling water when the glue softens, so that the individual parts fall apart.
In fused, of course, the pieces do not separate, so the bottom part, the glass, will be known by its softness. In addition to this, it is very useful and a fairly reliable method of detection to examine the refractive index.
Some methods of counterfeiting are intended to do nothing more than enhance the beauty of the gemstone.
This is the case of gilding, when metal plates (gold, silver, copper, etc.) are attached to the underside of the stone and painted or polished to improve its colour or fire. Sometimes the lower part of the stone is painted without the metal flakes to improve the colour.
Another way of embellishment is often used on rubies, for example, to enhance their fire. A hole is drilled in the ruby and filled with bright gold to make it shine. Some gemstones (smoky quartz, amethyst, topaz, zircon, etc.) can be changed or made more beautiful by roasting, as mentioned above. The process consists in heating the gemstone in a crucible, embedded in lime, iron filings or sand, ash, etc., until the stone has changed colour to the desired one. Gemstones of lower value, notably agate and other varieties of quartz, are also stained by pickling.
Recently, gemstones have also been made that are perfectly identical in material to the originals - these are called artificial gemstones. They are made in a laboratory, by fusing together the same materials that make up a natural gemstone. Nowadays, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and turquoises are the main types of stone that are artificially made so that they can be used and traded instead of the originals. A precisely defined amount of quartz is fused with aluminium oxide and lead oxide in a crucible. Lead glass is formed with colourless or white corundum crystals. To turn corundum into ruby, about two per cent of potassium bichromate is melted into the mass, and a little cobalt oxide is added if you want to make sapphire. Crystals made in this way can also be used as gemstones. So far, ruby, sapphire, violet ruby, leucosapphire, oriental topaz, red and blue spinel and alexandrite have been the main artificially produced crystals. Long ago, turquoise was produced, which resembled the natural one in every way. Most important is the artificial production of corundum, especially ruby. When a mineral called bauxite is melted in an electric furnace and slowly cooled, corundum is obtained, which is very suitable for technical purposes. Corundum crystals are also produced as a by-product. The artificial ruby was produced by Gaudin in 1837, but the crystals were very small and useless. In 1902, Verncuil produced beautiful artificial ruby crystals using a downward-directed uranium gas igniter. The flame is directed towards a cone of clay and above the cone is a platinum grate through which an electrically driven hammer throws the powder (alumina, a small amount of potassium hydroxide, potassium chloride and potassium bichromate) into the flame. The molten particles are absorbed by the clay cone, and end up forming a large drop-shaped ruby in the cone, weighing several grams and consisting of a single crystal. The amount of potassium bichromate can be used to control the ruby colour. Colourless corundum can also be produced (without the addition of potassium bichromate) and is marketed as white sapphire. Blue sapphire is produced by dyeing with cobalt oxide, but the material will not be crystalline and will not show the physical and optical properties of natural sapphire; artificial rubies, if completely flawless, cannot be distinguished from natural ones. There is scarcely a more remarkable gemstone that has not been produced artificially by fusion of its constituent parts. Most, of course, are very small and of more scientific value than of practical value. The practical application of artificial gemstones is also severely hampered by the fact that they are very expensive to produce, with the ones that have been produced so far being much more expensive than natural ones.
The behaviour of gemstones against X-rays
X-rays can be of great help to the examiner in determining the quality of gemstones, especially when the gemstones are set, as they all have different behaviour and transmission to X-rays. Different versions of the same gemstone of the same material behave differently. X-rays are also very useful for finding inclusions, and even for detecting doublets. More recently, the effect of radium rays on gemstones has also been studied in detail and it has been found that radium rays have mostly the opposite effect to ultraviolet rays.
An original Eastern belief that certain gemstones worn have either good or harmful effects on the human body.
In the East, it is still practised today and the following order is followed month by month for those who can:
The over-imaginative people of the East dreamed of a garden of gems, a treasure cave where the wizard of the magic word could load up on jewels and make himself rich for life. It is difficult to define what these gemstones of happiness are, since they are not just stones, because in the trade, gemstones include real pearls, pearl shells and jewellery made of coral. It is also not quite right to classify gemstones into a separate class because of their hardness, lustre, colour, transparency or rarity, because the precious opal is a gemstone, but it is not lustrous, it is not hard and there are a whole host of minerals whose colour and lustre are different from gemstones.
Yet the brilliant spectacle of great hardness, the dazzling splendour of refraction and the rarity of occurrence have made gemstones precious since ancient times.
Archaeologists have found shell necklaces and bracelets in cave tombs, and later, from the time when humans knew metals, a wealth of fine jewellery can be found next to skeletons. Precious stones are mentioned in the earliest written records of the Egyptians, and the great Greek poet Homer already knew and appreciated them.
The art of stone carving also developed from a love of gemstones in ancient times, and figures and scenes were carved into the gemstones or semi-precious stones. The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians and Assyrians were highly skilled in this craft, but it was perfected by the Greeks. Of course, the hardest gemstones were not engraved, but mostly the less hard semi-precious stones were used to make the engraved gems, such as rock crystal, amethyst, cat's eye, jasper, chalcedony, etc., while the poorer ones were used to make impressions of the gems engraved in glass paste.
The popularity of gemstones was also increased by the fact that they were all believed to have superstitious powers, and were therefore all associated with deities, a superstitious belief that was extended in the Middle Ages. Gemstones influenced every manifestation of life, each month having its own gemstone to protect the wearer from harm.
- The diamond was a symbol of strength, loyalty, stability, innocence, it was believed to be used against plague, fright, insomnia and to keep love between spouses. Most curious was the superstition that the diamond 'would turn boyish', which was still sacredly believed in the 16th century. In particular, the diamond of the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg was believed to give birth to new diamonds from time to time.
- Rubies were considered lucky by the ancients, but it was an ominous sign if they were dimmed. So Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, soaked her rubies in the blood of freshly hatched pigeons every day to keep them from losing their fire.
- The hyacinth stone was worn around the neck as an amulet and was believed to protect its owner from the plague.
- The most beloved gemstone of Roman women was amethyst, whose Greek name means 'anti-drunkenness' and was believed to mean that anyone who drank from an amethyst glass would never get drunk.
- Sapphire was also highly prized, which was believed to open all locks, break chains and have miraculous healing powers. Wizards also used it for exorcisms.
- Jasper cured fever and dropsy; agate was a love talisman and a protection against robbers.
- The grenade or carbuncle was a love potion.
- The onyx drove away the night terrors.
- Emerald was also an excellent medicine.
- Beryl is used against liver disorders.
- The heliotrope was expected to bring long life, prophetic talent and fame.
- And the cat's eye gave its owner a fortune.
- But one of the strangest gemstones was the precious opal, which the ancients believed to strengthen the heart, render poisonous vapours in the air harmless and was long used as a medicine for constipation, an opal powder ointment.
Once upon a time, there was a superstition that opal would bring evil upon the wearer.
From then on, this gemstone gradually fell out of fashion and became devalued. It is typical of the superstitious belief that the catastrophe of the Spanish-American War was attributed to an opal ring, to which a whole series of horror stories were attached. This opal ring of rare beauty once belonged to the beautiful Countess Castiglione. The beautiful woman was its prisoner for many years. King Alfonso XII. of Spain when, to the dismay of the Countess, the King unexpectedly married. The disappointed woman vowed revenge and sent her sinister opal ring to the king. Queen Mercedes was very pleased with the ring and asked for it, slipping it on her finger. From that day on, she fell ill, went to bed and died a few months later. The fateful ring was given to the king's grandmother, Queen Christina, who also wore it for only a few months because she died suddenly.Then Maria del Tilar, the king's sister, received the ring, but she too died a few days later. After so many blows, the king refused to give it to anyone, but bore it himself, and after twenty-four hours he died. The ring was inherited by his second wife, Maria Christina, but she no longer dared to wear it, and hung it around the neck of the patron saint of the house. The Spanish people firmly believe that the ring was the cause of the calamities in the royal family and that it was the ring's fatal power that caused the Spanish to lose the war with the United States.
Similarly fateful but real events are associated with many gemstones, especially the famous diamonds. The Sancy diamond belonged to Prince Charles the Bold of Burgundy and was brought to Europe from the diamond fields of Golkonda in India. When Charles the Bold was killed in action, the diamond fell into the hands of mercenaries who gave it away in secret, and it was only a century later that it reappeared in the treasury of King Antony of Portugal, who pawned it to Count Sancy. The Count sold the diamond to King Henry III of France and sent it with his loyal servant. On the way, the servant was attacked by robbers and only found his body, but the diamond was gone. Count Sancy was searching for the gem and had given up hope of finding it when his faithful servant appeared in his sleep and mysteriously pointed to his lips. The Count dug up the corpse and the diamond was found in the servant's mouth, which became the treasure of the French kings until it was lost during the Revolution and later discovered in Russia as a treasured treasure of the Tsar's family.
The most valuable of the French crown diamonds was the Regent, found in the diamond field of Kistna in the East Indies by a slave who could only hide it by cutting the flesh from his leg and sticking the diamond in the wound. He fled with his treasure and sold it to a ship captain, who threw it overboard instead of paying him. The Regent came to France via England and is still kept in the Louvre. The famous Great Mughal diamond was found in the diamond field of Golkonda around the 17th century and was in the treasury of Jehan Shah, but when the Persian Nadir Shah captured Delhi, the diamond was lost. It is likely that whoever stole it broke it into small pieces to make it easier to sell.
Fatal importance was also attached to the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which made the wife of Mohammed Khan a traitor, caused the death of Nadir Shah's son, brought a series of misfortunes to the rulers of the Afghan empire, and unleashed the greed of the English on Randsit-Sing, the lord of Punjab, to end up in the possession of the English royal family.
The Orlov diamond was once a substitute for the eye of an Indian Brahma statue and was stolen in the early 18th century to be bought after a long adventure by the Russian Prince Orlov, a minion of Catherine II. The diamond adorned the Russian tsar's government wand until it was taken to America for auction by the Bolsheviks after the extermination of the tsarist family. These diamonds came from the diamond mines of Lahore, Golkonda, Kistna in the East Indies.
For a long time it was thought that only India had such gems, when the diamond fields of Brazil were discovered in the mid-19th century and the diamond deposits of South Africa at the end of this century. The latter now account for two-thirds of the world's diamond production. It was here that the largest diamond known to date was found: the Cullinan, which weighed 3025 carats when unpolished and when processed yielded nine large pieces and several small ones.