Diamonds are formed deep down the earth between the earth’s core and crust. This region of formation of diamond is known as the earth’s mantle and diamonds exist at depths between 150-250 kilometers (100-150 miles) in this region although some may exist at depths deeper than 500 kilometers (300 miles).
SCIENTIFIC BILLION YEARS OLD DIAMONDS
That a diamond is tagged ‘real’ doesn’t make it a natural diamond –synthetic diamonds are also tagged real diamonds. While the discovery and use of synthetic diamonds dates back to a few hundred years ago, natural diamonds are nearly as old as the earth. According to scientist, most naturally occurring diamonds are aged between 1 billion and 3 billion years, some even 4 billion; while the earth is estimated to have been in existed around 4.5 billion years ago.
A group of scientist claimed to have discovered the world oldest diamonds in Australia from the Jack hills region which they claimed is at least 4 billion years old. These diamonds were found as inclusions in Zircon deposits found in that region and are thought to be around a billion year older than naturally occurring diamonds found in any rock on earth. In another instance, a group of scientists claimed that the diamonds they found in diamonds field in North-West Canadian territories were the oldest diamonds on earth. They claimed the diamonds were formed around 3.5 years ago when the earth was forming its first continents.
HISTORICALLY OLD DIAMONDS
Billions of years old diamonds have only been proven to have existed from a scientist’s point of view; however these scientific claims hold no ground in history since they were not human evidence and historic records. In history, the first sets of diamonds were recorded in ancient Sanskrit texts in India at around 4th century BC, although there has been speculations that diamonds have been discovered in India way long, between the 17th and 25th century BC. Others believe the discovery of diamonds in India was much later, around the 10th century BC. Surprisingly, as age long as this discovery, diamonds were useful in so many ways. They were used for personal embellishment and also as cutting tools just as they are used in modern times. They were also used for medicinal purposes.
Early records of diamond also existed in the Bible (Christian Holy Books) in one of the books written by Prophet Jeremiah who probably lived between 650 and 570BC.
RECORDED OLDEST DIAMONDS IN HISTORY
At around 17th and 18th century more precise records of diamonds were kept. Most of these diamonds recorded in ancient times were colored diamonds and they were mostly linked with India. Many have said to have been discovered with alluvial deposits in and around rivers and streams in India. Some of these diamonds include:
- The Florentine
The light yellow diamond weighing slightly above 137 carats is believed to have originated from India. The name Florentine was derived from the name of a city known as Florence. This diamond remarkably made up of 126 facets and 9 sides have passed on from one owner to another (many of these so-called owners possessing it illegally). Records of this diamond were first theorized by the famous traveller and Jeweler, Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Jean Tavernier was a French man who was also the first person to take records of some other ancient historical diamonds like the Nur-ul-Ain and the popular hope diamond. He claimed to have seen the stone in 1657 among the possessions of Ferdinando II de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The last record of the whereabouts of Florentine was taken in the 1920s when it was recut and sold in the US.
- The Hope Diamond
Of all the old diamonds recorded in the 17th century, the Hope diamond still stands as one of the most popular. It is dark grayish blue in color. The stone sits in the hall of minerals in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC at over 40 carat. It was recorded to have been bought as a triangular 112 carat diamond by popular Jeweler, Tavernier in the mid-1600s and sold to King Louis XIV. From King Louis the stone was moved from one owner to the other. It was later donated to the Smithsonian Institute by Harry Winston.
Darya-i-Nur, translated ‘Sea of Light’ in English is a light pink stone which is estimated to weigh between 175 and 195 carats. The stone was initially belonging to the Katakiya Dynasty during the early 11th century. Over time, the possession of this stone was transferred from one person to another. The stone today is the most celebrated diamond of all the Iranian Crown Jewels.
The stone Nur-ul-Ain, also known as ‘The Light of the Eye’ is a light pink stone weighing about 60 carats. Jean Tavernier, the popular jeweler of the 17th century also claimed linkage with this stone. He claimed to have seen it in 1642 at the Golconda mine in Southern India. This stone is believed to have been cut from the large and pale pink Diamanta Grande Table weighing 400 carats.
The 105.6 carat stone is part of the British Crown Jewel belonging to the Queen of England. It was also part of the stones belonging to the Katakiya Dynasty. It was first discovered in the Golconda mines of India. The stone is also referred to as ‘Mountain of Light’. It is believed to have magical powers that empowered whoever is in possession of it to rule the world.
The Internally flawless diamond, naturally colored deep fancy blue, Wittlesbach-Graff was also from the Golconda mines of India. It was discovered in the mid-1600s as a 35.5 carat diamond originally known as Der Blaue Wittelsbacher. Over time the diamond has changed ownership and has also been cut to a smaller stone.
- Briolette of India
The Briolette of India is the oldest colourless diamond in History. It is also the oldest diamond on record in the world. Like many other old diamonds its origin is traced to India. This diamond is Briolette shaped.