Do you believe in curses?
Besides its large size and intriguing color, one of the Black Orlov diamond’s claims to fame is being cursed. The colorful story that has arisen around this gem is largely unsubstantiated, but it’s a fascinating one, nonetheless. According to legend, the 67.50 carat Black Orlov (originally 195 cts), also known as the Eye of Brahma, was discovered in the early 1800s in India, set as one of the eyes in a statue of the Hindu god Brahma in Pondicherry. It is the 7th largest black diamond in the world, despite the fact that many people claim it is more of a gun-metal color.
It was stolen and eventually made its way into the hands of a New York gem dealer and then two Russian princesses (the stone is said to be named after one of them). The Black Orlov is said to have taken its name from the Russian Princess Nadia Vyegin-Orlov who owned it for time during the mid-eighteenth century.
According to this tale, all three owners met grim ends. The curse was (supposedly) broken when a diamond dealer bought the gem. The cutting itself took two years but it was deemed a successful venture in terms of shedding the precious stone of its curse.
In 1932, the diamond was brought to America by J.W. Paris. In 1950, the diamond’s owner was Charles F. Wilson. Mr. Wilson had it cut down even further to the 67.5-carat diamond it is today. The cutting itself took two years but it was deemed a successful venture in terms of shedding the precious stone of its curse. Currently, the stone is set in a 108-carat diamond brooch which is attached to a 124-carat diamond necklace, effectively making it one of the most impressive pieces of jewelry in existence.
The diamond has since passed through the hands of several private dealers, none of whom seem to have been affected by the curse. Currently, the stone is set in a 108-carat diamond brooch which is attached to a 124-carat diamond necklace, effectively making it one of the most impressive pieces of jewelry in existence.
It has even made an appearance at the Oscars, when it was worn by actresses Felicity Huffman, star of the hit TV series and movie Desperate Housewives.
Black Orlov Diamond.
Curses aside, natural-color black diamonds are extraordinary because they are colored by graphite, pyrite, or hematite inclusions that make them notoriously difficult to cut and facet.
Source content: GIA
Image: London Museum of Natural History | Google