Monday, 4 June 2012

Diamond collection and trading was continued at Sambalpur for centuries prior to 1850 , British took over Sambalpur and business was closed

From the Book ‘ The Diamonds, Coal , and Gold of India by Valentine Ball (1881)’ :
Mr Motte visited Sambalpur in 1766 to initiate regular trade in diamonds with Sambalpur, Lord Clive being desirous of employing them as a convenient means for remitting money to England. Mr Motte purchased few diamonds. He visited the junction of river IB and Mahanadi, where the diamonds were found.
Lieutenant Kitoo visited in 1838 and mentioned about diamonds in his note.
Major Ouseley next visited Sambalpur and he has written an article (in 1840) in Asiatic Society’s journal about diamonds of  Sambalpur. During Raja's period some fifteen or twenty villages were granted rent free to Jharas (washers)  in consideration of their undertaking the search for diamonds. When British came, these villages were resumed. The diamonds found became the property of Raja, while the gold was the perquisite of the washers, who sold it at 12 to 15 rupees per tola. In the centre of Mahanadi, near village Junan , there is an island called Hirakud . In each year, about beginning of March,  more than five thousand people got engaged in collection and wash of diamond and gold dust near village Junan.
Sambalpur was taken over by British in 1850. In 1856, a notification was issued , and for a short time the lease was held by a European . Later on, he stated that it was not commercially viable, and gave up voluntarily. As such, the diamond business was finished forever.  
Source :  Orissa District Gazetters-Samalpur
The village Junan and nearby mining  area, have been submerged under Hirakud Reservoir

Taj-i-Mah  Diamond
- Crown of the Moon -
Taj-i-Mah ,  the colourless diamond-146 carat, was found in Sambalpur
According to a version, the diamond originated in the diamond mines of Sambalpur, which extends over a fertile land plane, 451 feet above sea level, between Mahanadi and Brahmani Rivers, in the east of the central provinces of India. The diamond river mentioned by Ptolemy, has been identified as the Mahanadi river , in whose banks the Sambalpur mines are The diamonds of the Mahanadi were generally of very good quality and ranked among the finest and purest of Indian stones.     Source : Internet Stones.Com