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Geologists think all of Earth’s natural diamonds were formed in the planet’s mantle — the layer just below the earth’s crust.
Diamonds form under extremely hot and high-pressure conditions at least 90 miles below Earth’s surface, according to Geology.com. Some of them then get pushed up by lava to the surface, where humans mine them and craft them into expensive jewelry.
One of the most valuable pieces of jewelry in the world is the Hope Diamond, a 45-carat grayish-blue stone.
The Hope Diamond came from India in the 1600s. It would soon belong to King Louis XIV of France — then be stolen by French revolutionaries and disappear. After it reappeared in 1839, it was traded among famous jewelers until it was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. The diamond is on a necklace, and it’s surrounded by 16 smaller, white diamonds.
The Smithsonian says the jewel is so valuable that it’s literally priceless. Some jewelers say it would sell for as much as $350 million.
Another famous diamond that likely came from India thousands of years ago is the Koh-i-Noor Diamond.
The Koh-i-Noor once adorned the “Peacock Throne” of Shah Jahan. The Koh-i-Noor diamond was the head of the bird. Eventually, the Peacock Throne was stolen, and rulers nabbed the Koh-i-Noor from each other in bloody battles for decades. There’s even a myth that the diamond is bad luck.
According to the Smithsonian, the diamond returned to India in 1813 and belonged to the ruler Ranjit Singh. After his death, his youngest son Duleep Singh took the throne, and the British signed a treaty with the 11-year-old ruler that made the diamond British property. Many Indians believe the diamond was stolen.
From there, the Koh-i-Noor became part of the British Crown Jewels. The 105.6-carat diamond is part of the crown that Queen Elizabeth wore. It is now at the Jewel House in the Tower of London.
One last famous diamond is the Cullinan. At 3,107 carats, it is the largest diamond ever found. According to the Cape Town Diamond Museum, it was about the size of a fist.
Frederick Wells discovered the diamond during a routine mine inspection in 1905 in South Africa. It was eventually given to King Edward VII as a birthday present. Like the Koh-i-Noor, it is kept in the Tower of London.