The lost Indian Diamonds of Iran

The following article is published courtesy of Israeli Diamond Industry Blog

Intellectual Property and all rights belong to IDI BLOG

Author: Roe Kalb

With the mere mention of Iran bearing antagonistic associations, it is easy to overlook the fact that the modern-age nation is descendent from the great, ancient Kingdoms of Persia, which dates back some 25 centuries.

The Taj-E-Mah Diamond (lower left stone). The other four loose diamonds weigh 72.50 carats, 54.50 carats, 47.50 carats, and 54.35 carats. The cushion-shaped one on the top left was probably cut from an even larger diamond.

The original conquering kingdom eventually fell prey to regional and political upheaval, but the royal line forged on, building, among other things, one of the most prestigious collections of royal treasures.

Unfortunately – but as royal treasures often go – many of the pieces were lost over time. Nevertheless, for the past 200 years, the collection of royal jewels and ornaments has been carefully guarded, and though its exact value remains unknown, it is known to contains some of the rarest jewels around.


When the contents of the treasury of the Imperial Jewels of Iran was first made public, displayed at the Museum of The Treasury of National Iranian Jewels in the 1960s, it was found to contain  three legendary Indian diamonds: Darya-i-Nur (“Sea of Light”), Nur-ul-Ain (“Light of the Eye”) and the Taj-i-Mah (“Crown of the Moon”).

The Darya-i-Nur diamond is one of the largest pale-pink diamonds in the world, weighing an estimated 182 carats. The Nur-ul-Ain Diamond, also one of the largest pink diamonds in the world, weighs about 60 carats. Both are believed to have been cut from the same stone – the Great Table Diamond – a legendary pink diamond first reported in 1604, which experts believe weighed 350-450 carats.

The Taj-i-Mah diamond is the largest un-mounted Indian diamond in the collection. It is colorless and weighs 115.06 carats. Darya-i-Nur and Taj-i-Mah are set in a pair of armbands,  a somewhat puzzling choice for gems of this caliber.

Both the Darya-i-Nur and the Koh-i-Noor diamonds are said to have been in the possession of the first Mogul emperor of India, from whom they descended to Mohammed Shah. The latter is believed to have been worn by Fat’h Ali Shah Qajar.

The Koh-i-Noor (“Mountain of Light”)  diamond is legendary in its own right: believed to have predated the time of Christ, at 186 carats it was once the largest diamond in the world. Several theories suggest that it is the Koh-i-Noor diamond, rather than the Darya-i-Nur diamond, which was the companion diamond to the Taj-i-Mah in collection’s armbands.

It has always been conjectured that the Darya-i-Nur and the Taj-i-Mah diamonds were sister stones, but it may not be true form a gemological standpoint,  since the Darya-i-Nur is light pink while the Taj-i-Mah is colorless – like the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

Gemological genealogy aside, we now have three spectacular diamonds. One can only wonder what other prize possessions are waiting to be discovered among the Imperial Jewels of Iran.

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