16th Conference of the LGF on Golconde Diamonds
The 16th Conference of the LFG was held on 21 September 2017, on the theme « Golconde Diamonds: Myths and Reality » led by Capucine Juncker, a gemmologist and journalist, Annabelle Herreweghe, a gemmologist at LFG and Aurélien Delaunay, head of the LFG.
The Golconde diamond, derived from the mines of the Deccan Plateau, in India, has always been a source of fascination for the general public. This symbolic stone is brimming with magical, medicinal, religious, moral and political values. For almost 3,000 years, India was the only producing country, thanks to the rich deposits of the Golconde Mines. From Antiquity, because of its clarity and hardness, diamond has taken on magical virtues and represented the “tears of God”. Hindus revere it and the stone adorns many a religious object. Diamond remains the reference value throughout the Mogul Empire. The Kingdom of Golconde came into being in the seventeenth century, and thanks to diamond mines, became the main centre of trade for these gems, the place where anyone interested in selling and sizing the stones had to come. Subsequently, with the Kingdom’s decline and the depletion of deposits in the seventeenth century, mining shifted to America, where deposits had just been discovered in Brazil.
European and French explorers in particular took interest in the Golconde mines. The famed traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier negotiated with the Moguls to purchase stones on behalf of Louis the 14th, in particular the Blue Diamond that would become the centrepiece of the Crown’s Jewels.
What remains of the Kingdom of Golconde today? Exceptional stones, which are the pride of many museums and private collections. Among the most famous are the Koh-i-Noor (105 carats) that belongs to the British Crown, the Orloff diamond (189 carats) on exhibit at the Kremlin Diamond Foundation, and the Regent (140 carats) and Sancy (55 carats) that are part of the Louvre’s Collection.