FAMOUS DIAMONDS 'HOLLAND'.

April 08, 2017


At an exhibition in London in 1851 the available information about this gem was that, 'The King of Netherlands is in possession of only one diamond, called the Cone. It is of unfortunate form in proportion to its weight; it, however, is of the purest water. It weighs 36 Carats, and is valued at £10,368'. Twining has pointed out that there are no Crown Jewels in the Netherlands; all State jewellery is the private property of the Royal Family. It is not known whether this diamond is currently owned by a member of the Dutch Royal Family.
Several authors have considered the possibility of the 'Holland' being the same diamond as the 'Bantam' which Tavernier saw during his visit to Java in 1648. In view of the longstanding connection between the Netherlands and the East Indies this may be so and it is likely the the 'Holland' came to light there. According to Tavernier, the Rajah of Bantam (once the most important Javanese port for trade with Europe, situated in the extreme north-west of the island, and now in ruins) showed him a dagger which he was having set in the Turkish style. The handle was to be encrusted all over with diamonds but as he did not have sufficient diamonds in his Treasury he commissioned the Frenchman to obtain the necessary quantity to complete the work. The top of the hilt was already covered and in the plaque there was one large faceted diamond, which 'was worth at least fifteen or sixteen thousand crowns'. The Rajah told Tavernier that he had received it as a gift from the Queen of Borneo and that he had sent it to Goa to be cut.
The last statement is of interest because it reveals that cutting was being undertaken in Goa some time before the discovery of diamonds in Brazil early in the eighteenth century. It is known that trading was already being done there in the previous century; it is recorded that a Portuguese went to Goa and sold a large diamond weighing 434 carats. Goa remains a cutting centre today.
There is one mystifying fact to note concerning the 'Holland'. The notes that accompanied the models of celebrated diamonds displayed in the 1851 Exhibition referred to another diamond weighing 36 carats and also valued at the precise figure of £10,368. This was called the 'Auckland', presumably named after Lord Auckland (1784-1849), a distinguished British statesman who twice held office as First Lord of the Admiralty and was Governor-General of India from 1835 to 1841. It is surely stretching coincidence too far to suppose that the 'Holland' and the 'Auckland' are different diamonds.


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