December 17, 2014 by EraGem

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Ashoka Diamonds made a big splash in 2011, when Reese Witherspoon revealed her 4-carat Ashoka-cut diamond engagement ring. Her husband, Jim Toth chose the William Goldberg patented cut because he was moved by the story of its origins.

Ashoka's Bloody Battle

Between 268 BCE and 232 BCE, a Mauryan emperor named Ashoka ruled India with an iron fist. Imperialist by design, he set about conquering India's feudal states. One such state on the Bay of Bengal had defied Mauryan rule for centuries. Determined to succeed where his forbears had failed, Ashoka sent forces into Kalinga to begin one of the bloodiest and most brutal battles of world history {5}.

It is written in stone that 100,000 Kalingans lost their lives, and 10,000 of the emperor's men were killed {6}. This stone was carved by edict of King Ashoka, who is said to have witnessed firsthand the destruction he ordered. Reports claim that the river ran red with blood and that a distraught woman turned the tide on Ashoka's imperialism.

"Your actions have taken from me my father, husband and son, now what will I have left to live for?" she entreated {6}.

Ashoka Diamond, Sold! for $3.85 Million

In that same year, 1988, Mr. Polo curated the record-breaking sale of eight sensational gemstones at Sotheby's. Leading the list was the "41.37-carat oblong cushion-shaped Golconda Ashoka Diamond set as a ring, bought in 1984 for $ 1 000 000 from the beautiful Mexican film star Maria Felix, sold for $ 3 850 000, the second highest auction price in history for a white diamond..." {8}.

According to Mr. Dunne, the stone was "so huge it would have been impossible not to comment on it" {3}. Roberto told him it was "a 41.37-carat D-flawless stone named after Ashoka Maurya, the third-century B.C. Buddhist warrior-emperor" {3}.

Once the ring was sold by Sotheby's, its provenance has remained somewhat obscured by the tightly held secrets of important jewelers and dealers. However, given the extensive opportunity he had to study the diamond {2}, its possible that Mr. Goldberg was the lucky man who welcomed that stone into his collection. This is mere theory, though, so don't quote me.

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