In a country obsessed with the legend of the Kohinoor, little public attention is paid to the fact that there were far larger diamonds in India until very recently. In fact many made the Kohinoor, look like a poor cousin and they had equally interesting back stories. Take for instance the 245.35 carat ‘Jubilee diamond’ which is the sixth largest diamond in the world today, making it more than double the size of the 105.6 carat Kohinoor – which by the way isn’t even in the list of top 10 diamonds in India. The Jubilee Diamond was once owned by Sir Dorabji Tata and it even helped bailout Tata Steel. In fact we also have the diamond to thank for one of India’s most respected charitable hospitals – the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai.
Till the late 19th century, India and Brazil were the only known sources of diamonds, but the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa in the 1860s, opened a new chapter in the history of the gem. The Jubilee diamond was discovered in the Jagersfontein Mine of South Africa in 1895. It was originally a rough stone of a whopping 650 carats and was acquired by a consortium of London based diamond merchants, who originally named it the ‘Reitz Diamond’ in honor of Francis William Reitz, then president of the Orange Free State (in present day South Africa) in which the Jagersfontein mine is located.
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