India's Prized Possession

The Indian mines of Golconda are regarded as legendary. The diamonds discovered in the mines are extraordinary, having a quality comparable to crystal water. Christie’s Americas Head of Jewelry, Rahul Kadakia, brought the unique pear-shaped Golconda diamond weighing 26.17 carats, with an estimated cost of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000, on Varney & Co. this morning.

“[The Golconda mine] is the first diamond mine ever,” said Kadakia. “[Golconda diamonds] are very, very rare. We sell between our sales in New York, Geneva, London, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Paris, all over the world, about 10,000 lots of jewelry a year. If we see five Golconda diamonds from 3 to 10 carats, that’s a major thing.”

The Golconda mines, which were nearly depleted in the mid 18th Century, have produced the greatest historical diamonds of India, such as the Koh-I-Noor in the Crown Jewels of England, the Agra and the Hope. The diamond’s rarity gives it the value it has today. “If you have a Golconda of a certain color, size and clarity, and a similar stone from a different mine, the Golconda will have a premium from 20% to 30% on another stone of the same quality simply because it came from Golconda,” said Kadakia.

Golconda mines differ from mines found in other parts of the world. “What’s important is that the Golconda mines were alluvia mines as opposed to all of the mines you have today,” said Kadakia. “Golconda was a mine by the riverbed. The stones were washed by the river water naturally for millions of years. A Golconda stone is whiter than a stone you will find anywhere else.”

The 250-year-old pear-shaped diamond displayed during today’s show will be auctioned in Geneva, Switzerland on November 17.