Friday, 5 June 2015

The Great Mogul diamond - Famous diamonds of Indian origin


Replica of Great Mogul diamond.en.wikipedia.org

In the last several centuries, since the discovery of diamonds for the first time, people have been mesmerized by the diamonds, God's unique creation for women folks. The Indian subcontinent has produced a larger number of famous diamonds in the world. Diamonds have been known in India for at least 3,000 years but most likely 6,000. India led the world in diamond production from the time of their discovery approximately in the 9th century BC.  They have been treasured as gemstones since their use as religious icons in ancient India. Their usage in engraving tools also dates to early human history. However, history is  replete with stories of wars between nations, raids and plundering, etc in the past and during these unfortunate incidents many diamonds, valuable gems, jewelry, etc disappeared without any traces, leaving no clues about their survival later. The Great Mogul diamond of Indian origin is a good example.
 
Mogul emperor,Shah Jahan.en. wikipedia.org.


Great Mogul diamond most  probably from  Kollur Mine in the Golconda region of southern India dates back to 1650. Shah Jahan (1594 – 1666), the 5th Mogul emperor got it as a gift  from Emir Jemla. The peculiar feature of this diamond was its shape-similar to the form of an egg cut through in the middle.

The Mogul ruler liked the diamond very much but for  the inclusions or flaws, which he felt spoiled the  beauty of the big diamond. He decided to get rid of the inclusions, so he employed  Ortensio Borgio, a  Venetian lapidary to get get the job done. To address the delicate problem, Borgio chose delicate grinding method. He ground the stone till the flaws were removed, but unfortunately, to the dismay of the  Mogul ruler, over grinding resulted in the horrible reduction in size of the huge diamond. The infuriated Shah Jahan, however, spared Borgio's head by imposing a fine of Rs. 10,000.00. 

Great Mogul diamond.en. wikipedia. com
The rose cut diamond, weighing  319-1/2 ratis was once studied by the famous diamond expert Jean

Jean Baptiste Tavernie.en.wikipedia.org
 

Baptiste Tavernier (1605 – 1689), 17th-century French gem merchant and traveler, traveling  various countries at his own expense. During the rein of Mogul ruler Aurangzeb, upon his request, he studied the great Mogul Diamond in detail. Subsequently this valuable stone became part of Nadir Shah's spoils of war, when he sacked Delhi. It was taken to Isfahan in 1739 and it was with him till he was  assassinated in 1747. Later the stone disappeared like willow-the wisp and there are no clues about its whereabouts. It is believed that the diamond was cut into smaller stones to avoid identification, cut and its origin. We have to draw the conclusion, this great diamond was lost for good. 

Tit-bits:

Tavernier was a private individual and merchant traveling at his own expense, a globe trotter in search of diamonds.

He traveled 120,000 miles ? during his six voyages to Persia and India between the years 1630 and 1668 in search of diamonds for studies, business, etc. He met with lots of famous rulers, Kings, Nawobs, Rajas, et al.
 

In 1675, Tavernier, at the request of his patron Louis XIV, published Les Six Voyages de Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (Six Voyages, 1676). it was a best seller and was translated into German, Dutch, Italian, and English during his lifetime.

He was best known  for the discovery/purchase of the 116-carat Tavernier Blue diamond that he subsequently sold to Louis XIV of France in 1668 for 120,000 livres.


During his  second journey, in September 1638, lasting to 1643, he traveled  via Aleppo to Persia, then to India as far as Agra, and from there to the Kingdom of Golconda. He visited the court of the Great Mogul—Emperor Shah Jahan—and made his first trip to the diamond mines.

On his fourth trip (1651–55),Tavernier visited  Masulipatnam, Gandikot, Golkonda, Surat, Ahmadabad and other places  and then  back to Paris.
 

Ref:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mogul_Diamond


Wise, Richard W. (2010). "Tavernier, Later Travels & Peter The Great". The French Blue. Retrieved 8 May 2015.