The first relatively serious information on diamond production in India dates from the XVIIth Century, when Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605-1689), a French precious stones merchant, traveled several times to India, first with the support of Cardinal Mazarin and then with that of Louis XIV. Tavernier recounts his adventures in "The Six Voyages of John Baptiste Tavernier", a superbly illustrated book first published in Paris (1676) and then in London (1678). This book contains skillful sketches of each of the stones that he sold to the Sun King.


During his travels, Tavernier visited only three of the numerous Indian mines: Raolconda, Gani Colour and Soulempour. But the beauty and rareness of the diamonds that he brought back to Europe remain unsurpassed today: the Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) and the Hope (Large Blue Diamond) are only two examples of the magnificent and invaluable stones with which he returned.


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