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Famous diamonds : The Imperial Russian diamond named Orlov

Orlov diamondProducer Max Neufeld in his movie “The diamond of the Tsar” adapted the legend of the Orlov diamond considered by some historians as being a part of another famous diamond, the Great Mogul. This stone weighs more than 193 carats and can be admire at the Kremlin museum in Moscow.

The Orlov has a fantastic history and its uncertain origin reads like a myth. According to tales, this diamond used to be found on a sacred Hindu statue in a temple located in the South of India in the Golconda region. Allegedly a French grenadier who left the army without permission stole it in 1750. The latter converted to Hinduism and won the respect of local priests, which made it possible for him to access the diamond. Once he stole it, he ran away to Madras where he most probably sold the stone to a British captain.
 
The diamond went from hands to hands before ending in Amsterdam and being owned by an Armenian merchant named Saleras who sold it in 1775 to Gregory Orlov, a Russian count in love with Empress Catherine. There is no proof to date as to know if the count bought it with his money or on behalf of the empress but what is sure is that he gave it to her in 1776 on the St Catherine's day hoping to win her back which did not happen. From that day, the diamond is officially known as the Orlov and was mounted on the imperial sceptre in 1784. This bejewelled work of art is made of three distinctive parts set with eight rings of 30-carat diamonds and fifteen of 14 carats.
 
The Orlov is set on the upper part of the sceptre and features one hundred eighty facets, measures 32x35x31 mm and has a slight indentation on one side. It is easily recognisable thanks to its Indian rose-cut (flat on the bottom with a facetted dome) and is very appealing with its blue-green colour and its clarity that is typical of the most beautiful Indian diamonds. For a long time academicians such as Alexander E. Fersman and scientists drew a parallel between the Orlov and the Great Mogul, believing that the first came from the recut of the second, however today most of the experts think that those diamonds are different entities. They do not weigh the same and the Great Mogul is not to be found since the plundering of Delhi in 1739.

A mysterious origin and an incredible destiny... Those two diamonds inspire people who are passionate about gemstones and get happily lost in their sparkles.