Diamond Mining In India That You Must Know

We Indians have a great affection towards jewelry. India is known to have the fastest influence on gold, silver, and diamonds.

Apart from the fact that jewelry emphasizes the beauty of women. Jewelry in India is also considered to be a symbol of richness as it holds great economic value.

History of Diamond Mining In India:

A diamond (from the Ancient Greek: ἀδάμας adámas, meaning “unbreakable”, “proper”, or “unalterable”) is one of the best-known and most demanding gemstones. Diamonds have been used as decorative items since ancient times; some of the earliest references can be traced in ages.

The high reflection light, hardness, and durability—giving the diamond it’s characteristic “fire”—make it useful for industrial applications and desirable as jewelry.

Diamonds were explored from various places across India, but most of the diamond mining took place in the bank of the Pennar and Krishna rivers in present Andhra Pradesh state. The diamonds in eastern countries came to know as Golconda diamonds, and in Europe, the word Golconda came to mean a place of great wealth.

From ancient times, India was the only source of diamonds in the world over 3000 years until the discovery of diamond deposits were located in Brazil and South Africa.

In 2013, India mined over 37,515 carats of diamonds, from one industrial-scale mine and many artisanal mines; this was less than one-tenth of one percent of the world production of 132.9 million carats in the whole world.

India’s distinctive status as a producer of diamonds continued to enrapture Europeans. Marco Polo as he was heard about diamonds being found in deep mountain valleys made nearly inaccessible by heat, lack of water, and venomous snakes, made him travel along the coast of India in 1292. The French traveler Jean Baptiste Tavernier visited the Krishna River diggings in 1665 and estimated that about 60,000 people were mining diamonds.

India continued to be the world’s supreme source and nearly the only source of diamonds until diamonds were discovered in Brazil in 1726. At first, Brazilian diamonds were not much reputed and did not command as high a price as the Indian diamonds. To obtain remarkable prices, Portuguese traders began shipping Brazilian diamonds through Goa, and then to Europe to be sold as genuine Golconda diamonds. Indian diamond mines declined rapidly in the 1700s, due to a combination of exhaustion of known deposits and competition from Brazil, India loses its monopoly over simultaneously.

Diamond Mining In Panna Region:

India has diamond reserves in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh (MP). Currently, the Panna diamond mine in MP is the only diamond-producing mine in the whole of Asia that is under operation. It is run by state-owned National Mineral Development Corporation(NMDC).

Diamond mining in the Panna region was initiated around 1675 AD during the rule of Chhatrasal, the Bundela ruler. From that time Diamond mining has continued in Panna region.

As of 2017, there was one industrial-scale diamond mine in India, the Majhgawan mine, in the district of Panna, Madhya Pradesh. The deposit is in a kimberlite or lamproite pipe 6.5 ha in area and yields a minimum of  10 carats to the maximum to the ton. Mining is done by an open pit, which was 85 m deep as of 2011. The extraction process of drilling has established that the pipe continues down to at least 330 m. The mine is operated by the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). The NMDC  employs 199 people and has a productive capacity of 84,000 carats per year. The mine began regular production in 1967, and to date, has yielded significantly more than a million carats of diamonds.

There are also a number of artisanal-scale mines. In the Panna mining district, the Madhya Pradesh government leases 8x8m plots to individuals, who wash the gravel for diamonds. All diamonds found are required to be handed over to the government diamond office in Panna, which markets the gems, and gives the sales proceeds to the finders, fewer taxes, and 11.5 percent royalty. In 2016, there were officially reported  952 artisanal mines, which yielded 835 carats of diamonds. But, there is an unknown number of small illegal mines and an unknown amount of diamonds sold on the black market.

The Rio Tinto Group discovered the Bunder diamond deposit in 2004 in Chhatarpur district near Buxwaha. The deposit is in an ecologically sensitive area. The  Rio Tinto Group, in February 2017, quit work on the project and gave the deposit and all on-site equipment to the state government of Madhya Pradesh.

There were 38 diamond mines in India, 23 were located in the Golconda region of Andhra Pradesh. Golconda is known as Diamond Capital of India, most of the world famous diamonds are from Golconda, Paritala and Kollur are listed below.

  • Koh-i-Noor
  • Daria-i-Noor
  • Great Mogul Diamond
  • Regent Diamond
  • Nizam Diamond
  • Hope Diamond
  • Golconda Diamond
  • The Kolluru Diamond
  • Dresden Green Diamond
  • Nassak Diamond
  • Orlov Diamond
  • Noor-ul-Ain
  • Prince Diamond
  • Tavernier Blue Diamond
  • Wittelsbach Graff Diamond

Kollur Diamond Mining:

 Kollur diamond mine was one of the most productive diamond mines in India.

The Indian diamonds mined in a specific area within the historic Golconda Sultanate (today’s Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states of India) are known as ‘Golconda Diamonds’. Diamonds from these mines were transported to the Hyderabad for further cut, polished, evaluated and sold. The mine was established in the 16th century and operated until the 19th century.

Till the end of the 19th century, the Golconda market became the primary source of the exceptional, supreme and largest diamonds in the world.

One of the largest and most popular diamond mines in Golconda region was Kollur Mine (presently in Guntur district).  Along with diamonds, the region also became a trade center for pearls, metalware, spices, and textiles. In an interview of The New Indian Express (22 October 2016), “the Hyderabad based archivist, Muhammad Saifullah says such was the trade that the estimated output found from all mines in Golconda was estimated to be approximately 12 million carats”.

 Kollur mines produced many large diamonds that are or have been a part of crown jewels.
This area was evacuated in the 2000s to make way for the Pulichintala irrigation project and is submerged by 50 feet (15 m) of water for most of the year.

 

Some of the most famous diamonds mined in the Kollur mines are:

  • The Great Mogul Diamond, 280 carats (56 g) cut, 787 carats (157.4 g) rough, – Lost after Nādir Shāh sacked Delhi
  • The Pitt or Regent Diamond, 140 carats (28.0 g) – in the Apollo Gallery, Louvre Museum, Paris
  • Nizām Diamond, 340 carats (68.0 g) – currently owned by the Government of India.
  • The Orloff Diamond, 300 carats (60.0 g)
  • Daryā-ye Nūr, 182 carats (36.4 g) – in the Iranian Crown
  • The Golconda, 135 carats (27.0 g) – belonging to Ducklings Jewellers, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Koh-i-Noor, 105.6 carats (21.12 g) (793 carats (158.6 g) rough, 186 carats (37.2 g) cut, further cut for Crown Jewels) – in the British Crown Jewels, London
  • The Hope Diamond, 67 carats (13.4 g) – in the American Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington
  • The Kolluru Diamond, 63 carats (12.6 g) – Purchased by Tavernier and present location unknown.
  • Dresden Green Diamond, 41 carats (8.2 g) – “The New Green Vault” in the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

 Some More Information About Famous Diamonds:

  • Nizam Diamond is named after its original owner HEH Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of Hyderabad.it was believed to have been the most famous diameter and during the 1800s.
  • Cullinan I, the largest pink diamond in the world, approximately 182 carats (36.4 g), originally from India but now part of Iranian Crown Jewels it is also in the British crown jewels located in the Imperial State Crown British Royal family.
  • Tavernier diamond is one of the famous diamond obtained in kollur mine during the mid 17th century. It was purchased by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.and then it was sold to King Louis XIV of France but was stolen during the French Revolution; it is reappeared as the re-cut Hope Diamond.

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