Diamonds: India

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Blood diamonds of India, a story of greed, loot and misfortune; Graphic courtesy: India Today, January 13, 2016
Blood diamonds of India, a story of greed, loot and misfortune; Graphic courtesy: India Today, January 13, 2016
Some famous Indian diamonds currently housed outside India; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, April 20, 2016

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Its potential

The Times of India, Aug 10 2015

Some facts: Diamonds, Mahbubnagar; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Aug 10 2015

Syed Akbar

T'gana sitting on a bed of diamonds

The perennially drought-hit Mahbubnagar district could well turn out to be another Golconda, once famous as a city where diamonds were sold in heaps at roadside shops. The district, known for its largescale annual migration of labour, is virtually sitting on diamond mines that could change the fortunes of the nascent Telangana state, experts say . Researchers from the Centre of Exploration Geophysics, Osmania University, have identified as many as 21 new potential diamond zones in Mahbubnagar and villages abutting the border with Gulbarga and Raichur. Several places on the road between Mahbubnagar and Raichur are dotted with potential diamond zones.There have been several studies on the diamond potentiality of Mahbubnagar in the past, but this is the first time that about two dozen zones have been identified. Earlier, scattered potential diamond locations were identified in the area between the Krishna and Bhima rivers, and the KrishnaTungabhadra-Penna river zone. At least half a dozen government and commercial organizations are currently on a `diamond hunt' in the district. The Geological Survey of India had found three diamond zones in the past.

Prof G Ramadass, who carried out aeromagnetic studies over an area of 1,999 sq km, said the potential diamond zones were buried 1.2 km down in the earth and more ground research may yield the precious stones.

“We have found kimberlite pipes at 21 places. Though not all kimberlite pipes bear diamonds, there have been instances where diamond zones were found in Mahbubnagar. We need to undertake further studies to explore the diamond-bearing potentiality of these places,“ he added.Besides Ramadass, the OU team comprised M Preeti and A Subhash Babu.


1961: 44.55 carats, 2018: 42.9 carats

Labourer digs up ₹1.5cr diamond in Panna, October 10, 2018: The Times of India

Daily wager Motilal Prajapati holds up his Diwali sparkle — all Rs 1.5 crore of it — and says, “Mazaa aa gaya.” The 30-year-old, who toils on minimum wages to feed his family, has dug up the second biggest diamond ever to be found in Panna, MP.

“The sparkler he found weighs 42.9 carat. The heaviest one ever found in Panna weighed 44.55 carat and it was dug up in 1961,” said Santosh Singh, diamond officer of Panna, adding: “The gem has been valued at over Rs 1.5 crore. We will auction it.” The government takes about 12% royalty, but that still makes Motilal a crorepati. He had taken an 8mx8m patch on lease in Patti village, 45 days ago. Scores come to try their luck in the diamond mines of Panna — you can hire a 64 sqm patch for just Rs 250 a year and try your luck. But very rarely does anyone get lucky. The last time it happened was in July 2017 when a farmer found a 5.8 carat diamond, valued then at Rs 20 lakh.

2016: 3.39 carat

The Times of India, August 25, 2016

P Naveen 

MP labourer finds diamond worth Rs 10 lakh 

In Madhya Pradesh's happy hunting grounds for diamond diggers, where global mining giant Rio Tinto wrapped up exploration after a decade, a poor man from Panna district hit a jackpot, just 100km away from its Chhatarpur project. Devidayal Reydas, 22, stumbled upon a 3.39 carat raw diamond and deposited it at the Panna office that holds an auction thrice a year. “This diamond is worth Rs 10 lakh. We will auction it in the next session and the money would be e-credited to Reydas's account after deduction of 11% royalty on cost,“ said Ratnesh Dixit, Panna's diamond officer.Dixit's office has received nearly 100 carat diamonds from 700 shallow mines this year.

Panna draws diamond prospectors who dream of striking it rich overnight. It is estimated that diamonds worth crores are smuggled out of the state via Gujarat and the local administration has done little to end the illegal trade. Devidayal was just among those who tried his luck, but went the legal way .

2019/ Labourer finds 4.33 carat diamond, worth Rs 10 lakh

Sep 29, 2019: The Times of India

The 4.33 carat stone has been valued at Rs 10 lakh.
From: Sep 29, 2019: The Times of India

2 days after taking mine lease, labourer finds diamond



A labourer turned millionaire almost overnight in Panna on Friday after he unearthed a gem-quality diamond just two days after taking lease of a shallow mine.

Officials have valued the sparkler at Rs 10 lakh. Vasant Singh will get the money after the diamond is auctioned next month. Last year, a daily wager had found a diamond worth Rs 1.5 crore after leasing an 8m x 8m patch.

A resident of Shahnagar in Panna district, Singh works as a labourer and was allocated a 6m x 4m patta in Krishnakalyanpur region on September 25 for a fee of Rs 200. It gave him mining permit for three months, but Singh struck big on the second day of the dig.

As he was washing the pebbles quarried from his patta, he found something was sparkling. Clutching the stone in his hand, he ran to his house and showed it first to his family and then to Panna diamond officer S N Pandey. It turned out to be a 4.33 carat gem quality stone. “He has submitted the diamond in our office. We will include it in the auction of diamonds in the coming days and Vasant will get the proceeds,” Pandey told TOI. “He will be paid the value of the diamond minus11.5% government royalty and about 2% other taxes,” Pandey added.

The shallow diamond mines of Panna are located about 40km from the diamond mines operated by the National Mineral Development Corporation(NMDC) .

2022: 26.1 carats

February 23, 2022: The Times of India

Bhopal:The diamond mines of Panna have brought sparkle to the life of yet another fortuneseeker from a humble background. A brick kiln worker, who had been trying his luck in the shallow mines for over a decade, finally found a diamond that may fetch upwards of Rs 1 crore. 
Panna’s diamond officer Ravi Patel said the 26. 1 carat sparkler was found by Sushil Shukla, a resident of Kishoreganj in Panna city, in a mine located near Krishna Kalyanpur area.

According to the rules, Shukla deposited the diamond at the district mining office, diamond inspector Anupam Singh said. It will be put up for auction in a couple of days and the proceeds will go to the finder after deduction of government royalty and taxes, he added.

Shukla and five of his partners had deposited Rs 200 for a year-long lease of the 6mx7m shallow mine on January 1 this year. He told local mediapersons that he and his family have been involved in diamond mining for 20 years, but this was the first time that he unearthed a precious stone of such weight.

The Panna diamond mines have turned around the fortunes of scores of people who could barely afford the Rs 200 deposit for the lease. In the last auction in September 2021, a poor farmer from Chhatarpur district turned into a millionaire when his find, a 12. 1 carat diamond, sold for Rs 43 lakh.


Gollavanepalli, Kurnool: farmer strikes Rs 60L diamond

Sandeep Raghavan, July 22, 2019: The Times of India

Andhra Pradesh farmer strikes Rs 60 lakh diamond in field

TIRUPATI: A farmer has found a diamond in his agricultural fields at Gollavanepalli, Kurnool district, heralding the annual ‘diamond hunt’ in Rayalaseema. The diamond is estimated to be worth Rs 60 lakh. The farmer sold the diamond to a local merchant, identified as Allah Baksh, who purchased it for Rs 13.5 lakh and five tolas of gold. Although the news has spread like wildfire through the district, the police said they were unaware of it. Meanwhile, the exact size, colour and weight of the diamond remain unknown. The police said they are investigating the case.

This is the second diamond struck in Kurnool district this monsoon. On June 12, a shepherd, while grazing his sheep at Jonnagiri village, found an eight-carat diamond, which he sold for Rs 20 lakh, while the actual price could be about Rs 50 lakh. The Krishna basin, along with that of its tributaries, is historically known for producing diamonds, which are erroneously known as Golconda diamonds.

Meanwhile, farmers and migrant labour, who have been camping in makeshift tents along the course of rivers Tungabhadra and Hundri, both tributaries of the Krishna, are striking smaller diamonds.

The hunt for diamonds across several villages of Kurnool district, including Jonnagiri, Tuggali, Maddikera, Pagidirai, Peravali, Mahanandi and Mahadevapuram, picks up steam every year with the onset of the monsoons and goes on till the end of the season. During the monsoon, rains wash away several layers of earth revealing the diamonds beneath the earth.

The diamond hunt in these parts of Kurnool district has gained so much in popularity that migrants from not just across the state but also from several neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Maharashtra visit the riverside areas in search of diamonds.

The areas where the diamonds are found are in and around Sarvanarasimha Swamy temple in Sirivella mandal headquarters where it is widely believed that Sri Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara empire and his minister Timmarasu hid treasures under the ground.

See also

Diamond market in India

Kohinoor/ Koh-i-Noor

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