|Famous Agra diamond famousdiamonds.tripod.co|
In 1526, Babur, the first Mogul emperor, in a decisive battle against the Gwalior Rajah, conquered the city of Agra, the ultimate home of the the famous Taj Mahal. His son spared the lives of the incumbent Rajah and his family, and was given the Agra diamond among a cache of jewels as a token of gratitude.
The famous pink diamond changed hands many times as India came under many rulers in quick succession. During the British rule in 1857, there was a wide spread rebellion against the autocratic rule of the British India company. In the midst of the worst rioting, a young British soldier.
stole this Agra diamond from the ruler of Delhi.
The British military officers made up their mind to smuggle it into England and share the sale proceeds. They hatched a plan and their modus operandi was almost similar to that of the legend of Trojan horse. The main difference is the British Bobs used an ordinarily 'live critter'- horse. They hid the diamond in some horse feed, had a horse eat it and then ship it back to Britain. The plan worked well, until the regiment reached the port where they were to board ship, but in the middle, their plan went haywire. The unfortunate horse, having taken ill, had to be shot. They removed the diamond from the dead critter's stomach and took it to England, where it was eventually sold to Edwin Streeter, a famous London jeweler.
|Edwin Streeter purchased the Agra diamond in 1891 www.internetstones.com|
|The marble wonder Taj at Agra,India. twobritts.com|
One possible explanation for this discrepancy in the story is that, the diamond purportedly eaten by the horse, was not the same stone. The other sources that support the story have stated that the smuggled stone in 1857 weighed 46 carats rather than 41 carats.
In 1899 in Paris, the Agra diamond was cut down to 31.41 carats by the jeweler Bram Hertz, from whom Edwin Streeter purchased the Agra diamond in 1891.
Having changed many hands the Agra diamond was put up for sale at Christie's in London on June 20th, 1990, by a seller who had inherited it in 1927. After fierce bidding it was sold for £4,070,000; well over twice its expected value, to the SIBA Corporation of Hong Kong.