Kollur Mine

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Location of mine within India

Kollur Mine (Persian: Gani Coulour[1]) was a series of gravel-clay pits on the south bank of the River Krishna in the Golconda (present-day Andhra Pradesh), India.[2] It is thought to have produced many large diamonds that are or have been a part of crown jewels.

The mine was established in the 16th century and operated until the 19th century.


Kollur Mine operated between the 16th and mid-19th centuries,[3] and was one of the largest and most productive diamond mines on the Indian subcontinent. At the height of production, around 30,000 – 60,000 people worked there, including men, women, and children of all ages.[4] Kollur itself had a population of around 100,000.[5]

Golconda mines were owned by the king, but operation was leased to diamond merchants, either foreigners or Indians of the goldsmith caste; as well as rent, the king also received 2% from sales, and he was entitled to keep all diamonds over 10 carats.[6]

Mining at Kollur was crude, labour-intensive, and dangerous. Miners wore loincloths, slept in huts covered with straw, and were often given food instead of money; the pit walls had no timber supports and caved in after heavy rains, killing dozens of men at a time (women and children worked above ground).[7]

The area was evacuated in the 2000s to make way for the Pulichinthala irrigation project and is submerged by 50 feet (15 m) of water for most of the year.[8]


The gravel-clay pits were a maximum depth of 4 metres (13 ft) due to the high water table;[2] the diamond-bearing seam was approximately 1 foot (30 cm) thick.[1] Alluvial workings covered an area 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) long and between 500 metres (0.31 mi) and 800 metres (0.50 mi) wide.[9] It was bounded to the east by an outcrop of the Nallamala Hills and to the north and west by a meander of the River Krishna.[10] Most of the pits have since been filled up with scree, boulders, and eluvium from neighbouring hillsides.[9]

Notable finds[edit]

The Tavernier Blue diamond was purchased by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier from the Kollur Mine in the mid-17th century.[11] King Louis XIV of France bought the diamond from Tavernier, but it was stolen during the French Revolution; it reappeared and has been re-cut as the Hope Diamond.[12] Other diamonds thought to have originated at Kollur include the Koh-i-Noor,[2] the Great Mogul,[13] the Wittelsbach-Graff,[14] the Regent, the Daria-i-Noor, the Orlov, the Nizam, the Dresden Green, the Nassak.[citation needed]

Location and maps[edit]

Kollur Mine's location on the south bank of River Krishna at latitude 16° 42' 30" N and longitude 80° 5' E is indicated on several maps created in the 17th and 18th centuries.[15]

All memory of its position was lost until it was rediscovered in the 1880s by Valentine Ball, a geologist who helped to create this map of Golconda mines.[16] In his annotated English edition of gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier's book Travels in India (1676), Ball notes that ruins of houses and mine workings could still be found at Kollur.[17]

In the 1960s, Kollur Mine was pinpointed more accurately as being 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) due north-east of Kollur village[a] on the south bank of River Krishna at latitude 16° 43' N and longitude 80° 02' E, and extending for 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) all the way up to Pulichinthala village.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Not to be confused with Kollur, Guntur district.[10]


  1. ^ a b Philip Scalisi; David Cook (1983). Classic Mineral Localities of the World: Asia and Australia. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-442-28685-9.
  2. ^ a b c T. K. Kurien (1980). Geology and Mineral Resources of Andhra Pradesh. Geological Survey of India.
  3. ^ Ralf Tappert; Michelle C. Tappert (2011). Diamonds in Nature: A Guide to Rough Diamonds. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 55. ISBN 978-3-642-12572-0.
  4. ^ Stephen Howarth (1980). The Koh-i-Noor Diamond: The History and the Legend. Quartet Books. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-7043-2215-8.
  5. ^ Arun Kumar Biswas; Sulekha Biswas (2001). Minerals and Metals in Ancient India. D.K. Printworld. p. 25. ISBN 978-81-246-0183-9.
  6. ^ Karin Hofmeester; Bernd-Stefan Grewe (2016). Luxury in Global Perspective: Objects and Practices, 1600–2000. Cambridge University Press. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-1-107-10832-5.
  7. ^ Karin Hofmeester (2012). Marcel van der Linden; Leo Lucassen (eds.). Working on Labor. Brill. pp. 26–28. ISBN 978-90-04-23144-3.
  8. ^ Appaji Reddem (22 April 2017). "In the quest of yet another Koh-i-noor". The Hindu. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Geological Survey of India (1971). Diamond: A Collection of Papers. Manager of Publications. p. 177.
  10. ^ a b Journal of Indian History. 9. University of Kerala. 1931. pp. 362–63.
  11. ^ Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (2012). Travels in India. Cambridge University Press.
  12. ^ National Museum of Natural History. "The History of the Hope Diamond". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on 9 March 2013.
  13. ^ Howarth, p. 62.
  14. ^ Matthias Schulz (25 January 2010). "Schleifstein der Schande" (in German). Der Spiegel. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
  15. ^ Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1889). Valentine Ball (ed.). Travels in India. 1. Macmillan. p. 172.
  16. ^ Richard Kurin (2017). Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem. Smithsonian Institution. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-58834-419-9.
  17. ^ Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1889). Valentine Ball (ed.). Travels in India. 2. Macmillan. p. 73.

External links[edit]

Media related to Kollur Mine at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 16°43′N 80°02′E / 16.717°N 80.033°E / 16.717; 80.033