Not really black in color but more of a deep gun-metal tone, this legendary black diamond struggles to hide the reflections of a very dark past, starting with a theft from a Hindu idol and resulting in no less than 3 mysterious suicides.
Legend has it that the uncut stone was originally set as one of the eyes in a statue of Brahma, the Hindu God of creation, which stood in a shrine in the southern city of Pondicherry. It is believed that a traveling monk stole the diamond from the statue, and this act caused the stone to become cursed.
The journey of the diamond from here on is shrouded in mystery, drama and death. In 1932, diamond dealer J. W. Paris is said to have taken the diamond to the United States and soon after, suffering from extreme anxiety due to business worries, committed suicide by jumping from a skyscraper in New York City.
Later owners included two Russian princesses called Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky and Nadia Vygin-Orlov (after whom the diamond is named). Both women allegedly jumped to their deaths in the 1940s. The diamond was later bought by Charles F. Winson and cut into three pieces in an attempt to break the curse. The 67.5-carat Black Orlov was set into a brooch of 108 diamonds, suspended from a necklace of 124 diamonds (pictured). Confident that the curse is broken, diamond dealer Dennis Petimezas purchased the diamond in 2004.
The Black Orlov has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum in London.