Surat: Like most devouts, Kanubhai Asodaria (52) is offering prayers to lord Ganesha these days. Only minutes before he performs a puja at his posh flat along the Tapi river, he opens his safe, takes out the lord’s idol and offers his prayers. The only difference: the devotee is a diamantaire and idol is a diamond.
Asodaria got this 182.53 carat rough about 10 years ago from Antwerp, Belgium. The stone with outlines of a trunk, eyes, ears and even legs was mined from South Africa. “I had purchased rough stones in bulk. When I was sorting them out at home, I could make out that the biggest stone resembled lord Ganesha. I decided to preserve it and this is the only stone I have refused to part with all these years,” said Asodaria, who runs Karam Exports, a small diamond firm.
A leading London-based auction house had offered him huge money for the stone about six years ago. But Asodaria said he did not intend selling it. “I consider myself lucky to have this diamond. It is a blessing from the lord,” said Asodaria. He added that he has to make elaborate arrangements to protect the gemstone this time of the year when Ganesha has to come out of the safe hideout every day. Hailing from Gondal near Rajkot, Asodaria moved to Surat 14 years ago and started his own diamond business. Like other diamond traders, he sources roughs from abroad and gets them polished in Surat. He refuses to get this stone polished as it would lose its divine shape.
The diamond is certified by the central government-run Indian Diamond Institute (IDI), Surat. IDI director K K Sharma said, “It is difficult to fix a price for such a large, rare stone.” The yellowish-grey stone is approximately 48 mm high, 32 mm wide and 20 mm thick and weighs 36.50 gram.