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A Jubilee

Nov 19th, 2012

A Jubilee

In the year the Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, it is only fitting that we look back at the Jubilee Diamond.

The Jubilee Diamond, originally known as the Reitz Diamond is a colourless, cushion-shaped diamond weighing 245.35 carat, making it the sixth largest diamond in the world.

It was originally named after Francis William Reitz, the then president of the Orange Free State where the stone was discovered, before being renamed to honour the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1897.

The original stone, a rough octahedron weighing 650.80 carat, was discovered in 1895 at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa.

A consortium of diamond merchants from London purchased it along with its even larger sister, the Excelsior, in 1896, and sent it to Amsterdam where it was polished by M.B. Barends.

A 40 carat chunk was removed, which itself yielded a 13.34 carat pear-shaped gem eventually purchased by Carlos I of Portugal.

Dorabji Tata acquired it around 1900 and gave it to his wife Meherbai. She used to wear it during her visits to the royal courts and public functions. The Jubilee Diamond was the largest in the world till 1905 when a bigger diamond was exhibited. It was sold only after his death in 1932 and the money went to the formation of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.

An a side note. Tata Group.
A little more than Land Rover, Jaguar, Tetley Tea and Tastic Rice.
Dorabji was intimately involved in the fulfillment of his father’s ideas of a modern iron and steel industry, and agreed to the necessity for hydroelectric electricity to power the industry.
Dorabji is credited with the establishment of the conglomerates Tata Steel in 1907 and Tata Power in 1911, which are the core of the present-day Tata Group. Dorabji is known to have personally accompanied the mineralogists who were searching for iron fields, and it is said that his presence encouraged the researchers to look in areas that would otherwise have been neglected.

Dorabji Tata was knighted in January 1910 by Edward VII, becoming Sir Dorabji Tata.

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