Jubilee Diamond : Tata Memorial Hospital

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Jubilee Diamond is a magnificent colorless, cushion-cut diamond with a weight of 245.35 carats ranks as the sixth largest in the world. The original rough stone,  irregular octahedron shape weighed 650.80 carats which was found during 1895 in the Jagersfontein mine, Orange Free State. It was named Reitz in honour of Francis William Reitz, then President of the State.
Its largest piece   was   polished into a superb diamond of exceptional size and purity ( colour E and VVS2). The following year marked the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, so the gem was renamed as Jubilee to commemorate the occasion. Sir Dorabji Jamshedji Tata brought the diamond in the Paris Exhibition and gifted to his wife Lady Meherbai on their second marriage anniversary in 1900.

Dorabji Tata, an    iconic Indian industrialist and a great philanthropist  laid the foundation of India’s iron and steel industry.  Alongwith  the cotton mills founded by his father, these  formed the cornerstone of modern India. In 1924, after world war 1, shortage of money with Tatas treasury, resulted in employees unrest and survival of Tata industries became critical. Lady Meherbai gave all her jewellery including Jubilee diamond, which was then worth about a crore rupees, to pledge and obtain loans. He  obtained loan from the banks   and provided funding to industry to sustain. Even a single employee did not lose the job, as he was very concerned about the welfare of his employees in particular and human beings in general. His industries recovered very well and all the jewellery could also be released from the bank.

Unfortunately lady Meherbai died of cancer in 1931. The sudden and sad loss of his life partner had moved Sir Dorabji and being great philanthropist, he decided to initiate a research institute that would alleviate human sufferings from cancer and related diseases. He formulated a trust for the necessary funds. Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata died in 1932. Three years later, his heirs sent the Jubilee diamond for sale at Cartier’s and  in 1937 Cartier sold the Jubilee to M. Paul-Louis Weiller, the Paris industrialist and patron of the arts. Proceeds were added to the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) was founded by the Trust on 28 February 1941 in Parel, Mumbai, India. In 1952 the Indian Cancer Research Centre was established as a pioneer research institute for basic research—later called the Cancer Research Institute (CRI). In 1957 the Ministry of Health took over the Tata Memorial Hospital. In 1962 the administrative control of the Tata Memorial Centre (Tata Memorial Hospital & Cancer Research Institute) was transferred  to the Department of Atomic Energy. The Tata Memorial Hospital and Cancer Research Institute merged as the two arms of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) in 1966 and is a classic example of private philanthropy augmented by Government support with a mandate for Service, Education & Research in cancer.

Most competent doctors  and research scientists are working in TMC. Every year more than 64000 cancer patients are being treated. More than 70% of patients are  getting cured. It’s amazing to know that a diamond that was purchased as a marriage gift by Dorabji Tata to his wife later became instrumental in setting up of  a huge hospital in the service of   suffering cancer patients. The symbol of love for his wife became symbol of smile on the faces of patients.

Back to the Diamond:  In 1966 the Jubilee diamond returned to South Africa where it was featured in the De Beers Diamond Pavilion in Johannesburg. Robert Mouawad has since bought the Jubilee, which is now the largest item in his great collection. He is quoted as saying, “If we refer to the human contribution brought to a diamond, my favorite would be the Jubilee for its outstanding cut for the period”.

We can add that “Jubilee diamond has been  instrumental for alleviating  human suffering by paving the way for creating TMH.”

Weight: 245.35 carats
Shape/Cut: Cushion Antique
Grade: E-VVS2

Sources of information:


2. https://www.mouawad.com/en/diamond-diamond-gallery/jubilee

3. Tata Stories by Harish Bhat

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