Shopping Cart
Cart Empty

Black Orlov Diamond


Every diamond has an intriguing story, but few can compare to the history of the Black Orlov diamond. This stone is one that has been shrouded in mystery and superstition since it was discovered.

Black Orlov DiamondBlack Orlov Diamond
Image: London Museum of Natural History

Weighing 67.50 carats, it is the 7th largest black diamond in the world, despite the fact that many people claim it is more of a gun-metal color. The first well-recorded sale of the Black Orlov was in 1969 when the stone fetched an impressive price tag of $300,000. At little over 20 years later, in 1990, it was auctioned by Sothebys which sold it for $99,000 to an unknown buyer. He (or she), in turn, on October 11th 2006, had auctioned the diamond again - this time at Christie's Magnificent Jewels. The estimated conservative price tag was $100,000 - $200,000 and it was sold for double - $352,000 which means $5,214 per carat.

How much does the Black Orlov worth today?

In today's world, with the prices of colored diamonds constantly rising, considering that black diamonds value is around $3,000-$3,500 per carat for "regular" black diamonds weighing anywhere from 3-10 carats, a 67.5 carat diamond such as the Black Orlov which is one of the world's most famous diamonds - it won't be surprising if when it goes back to the auction house it will fetch more than twice of what it got 2006 - and a $1,000,000 price tag would not surprise me at all. But we'll have to wait to find out.

The history of the Black Orlov Diamond

The Black Orlov Diamond was once a part of a 195-carat stone that was used as an eye in a 19th century statue of Brahma and therefore also known as the Eye of Brahma Diamond.

As the Hindu god of creation, this statue was extremely important to locals. Legend has it that the diamond was stolen from the statue by a traveling monk. The whereabouts from the time the diamond was stolen from India until the early 20th century are little known. However, at some point during that stretch of time, the diamond was cut from its original 195 carats down to a stone half the size.

In 1932, the diamond was brought to America by J.W. Paris. In 1950, the diamond's owner was Charles F. Winson. Mr. Winson had it cut down even further to the 67.5-carat diamond it is today. Currently, the stone is set in a 108-carat diamond brooch which is attached to a 124-carat diamond necklace, effectively making it one of the most impressive pieces of jewelry in existence.

The Black Orlov DiamondThe Black Orlov Diamond
Image: DeBeers

Is the Black Orlov Diamond cursed?

Surprisingly (or not…), there are many stories about cursed diamonds, including about the Black Orlov..

After the monk stole the diamond from the eye of Brahma, rumors that the gem was cursed began to circulate. Locals believed that the god sent bad tidings to all who came in contact with it. Many believe that the monk was murdered because he stole the stone. When J.W Paris took possession of the Black Orlov his business began to fail, and he developed a severe case of anxiety. About a year after Mr. Paris sold the Black Orlov, he jumped to his death from a skyscraper in Manhattan. When Mr. Wilson, the owner in 1950, obtained the stone, he had it recut in an attempt to break the curse. Since then, no more deaths have surrounded the gem.

The Black Orlov Diamond stills fascinates people around the world today. It has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in 1951, the Wonderful World of Fine Jewelry & Gifts at the Texas State Fair and the Diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1967.

Who knows if the diamond was ever cursed or where it was between the time the traveling monk stole it until it ended up in the hands of J.W. Paris? These are mysteries the world may never solve, but one thing is certain. The Black Orlov diamond is still one of the most beautiful and interesting precious stones in the world!