Black Orlov Sells at Christie’s

Billed as “the world's most famous black diamond,” the 67.50 ct. antique-cushion-cut Black Orlov sold for $350,000 at Christie's New York auction house Oct. 11, 2006. The Gem Certification and Assurance Lab, which provided Christie's with authentication papers before its Magnificent Jewelry auction, noted the black diamond's “alleged curse,” which includes the suicides of three former owners—including two Russian princesses. But GCAL's Don Palmieri also noted that “the stone's current owner is alive and well in Pennsylvania.” GCAL's history reiterates earlier accounts: The stone originated in India in the early 1800s and was known as the Eye of Brahma. It was taken from a statue at a shrine in India. Its name comes from Russian Prince Grigori Grigorievich Orlov, who gave it as a gift to his lover, Catherine the Great. None of this has ever been substantiated, and the la
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