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Boston University 

College of Liberal Arts 

Graduate School 







Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society ; Author of " Precious Stones 

and Gems ;" Gold Medallist of the Royal Order of Frederic ; 

Holder of a Special Gold Medal from H.M. the King of the Belgians. 










HowLETT & Son, Printers, io. Frith Street, Soho, London, W 



HIS book is a romance of truth. The trite 
proverb that " fact is stranger than fiction,' 
was never better illustrated than it is in the 
following chapters. Some of the incidents 
in the imaginary career of Sinbad the Sailor may be accepted 
as modest facts compared with the histories of several of the 
great diamonds of the world. 

It is true that in the narratives of such stones as the 
" Koh-i-Nur," the " Great Mogul," the " Taj-e-Mah," the 
" Pitt," and other famous gems, fable has crept in, as if to 
try a bout, in romantic revelation, with fact. Oriental 
fancy has strewn the lurid history of the diamond with 
much traditionary gloom ; but human invention is outdone 
by the reality of human depravity and human woes. 

A symbol of power, the diamond has been a talisman 
of not less influence in the East than the very gods whose 
temples it has adorned. It has been a factor in tragedies 
innumerable, supplying the motives of war and rapine, 
setting father against son, blurring the fair image of virtue, 
making life a curse where it had been a blessing, and adding 
new terrors to death. There is no intrigue however deep, 
no crime however shameful, which you cannot parallel in 


the history of famous gems, and no butchery of the brave, 
no sacrifices of the innocent, have marked the red footsteps 
of miUtary conquerors with deeper Hnes of infamy than are 
to be found in Eastern wars, that have been undertaken for 
the sake of precious stones and gems. 

At the same time it must not be forgotten that the pleasant 
contrasts of a slave winning his freedom, the monarch accept- 
ing stern reverses of fate with dignity, the patient explorer 
rewarded, and glimpses of a womanhood that is "far above 
rubies " now and then break in upon the gloom of cruel 
intrigue and sanguinary wars which belong to the records 
of so many famous gems. We can only regret that these 
" rays of sunshine " are not many. It is as if the diamond 
needed, even in history, a dark background to show up its 
strangely fascinating hues. It has been a labour of love in 
the present instance to investigate that dark background, to 
hunt out its secrets, and to bring them to the light of day. 
If the result of our researches is half as full of surprises 
for the reader as it has been for those engaged in the pro- 
duction of this present history of The Great Diajnonds of the 
Worlds then, indeed, have the undersigned and his distin- 
guished collaborators provided some new sensations for the 
students of the romance of history. In saying this we are not 
only referrmg to the two gentlemen whose literary alliance 
gives additional importance to our labours, but to the 
kindly aid which has been graciously vouchsafed to us by 
royal and ministerial pens. During several years past there 
is hardly a Court in Europe and the East with which we 
have not been in communication, through Imperial ambas- 
sadors, and even directly, for the purpose of procuring 
trustworthy records of the world's historic diamonds. We 
have to acknowledge the unvarying courtesy with which our 
intjuiries, some by letter, some by personal application, 
some through special commissioners sent on long journeys 


for the purpose, have been received and answered.* To Her 
Majesty the Queen for reading our manuscript notes on the 
" Koh-i-Niir " we owe our special and humble thanks. Her 
Imperial Majesty the Empress of the French has been 
most gracious in revising and correcting several material 
points in connection with certain gems that belong to the 
history of the illustrious house that is adorned by her virtues, 
and made doubly memorable by her sorrows. It was said 
of the cerulean throne of Koolburga that every prince of the 
house of Bhamenee made a point of adding to it some 
rich gems. In these modern days it is considered a greater 
honour to decorate the history of a blameless life with the 
jewels of self-sacrifice and duty well performed, than to sit 
on thrones built up of priceless treasures. It is not in the 
stories of jewels that the names of Victoria and Eugenie 
will go down to posterity, but in the record of a great Queen 
whose heart went out to the widowed and childless guest, 
and made her sorrows her own. 

Respect for the illustrious personages whom we have 
had occasion to mention, does not permit us to say more 
in regard to the honour they have conferred upon us ; nor 
would our loyal duty to her Majesty the Queen, as it seems 
to us, be fairly represented without this acknowledgment, 
however inadequately expressed, of her gracious condescen- 
sion. It has been' one of the great objects of the life of 
the undersigned to publish a history of the world's famous 
diamonds. He owes it to the object he has in view, and 
not to any personal merit, that he has met with so much 
courteous encouragement on all hands. 

* Mr. G. Skelton Streeter. travelling in India for the purposes of 
this work, has been able to furnish some valuable information. He is now 
t'ngraged in exploring the archives of native courts for authoritative drawings 
and details of the Peacock Throne which was destroyed at Delhi by Nadir 
Shah in 1702, 


In conclusion he earnestly invites corrections of, and 
additions to, the following chapters. Being properly 
authenticated, they shall find a place in future editions of 
a work, which is now earnestly commended to the friendly 
consideration of critics, who understand the difficulties of such 
an enterprise ; and to the great Reading Public, which is 
always generous to those who have something to say that is 
not unworthy of its attention. 


iS, Nbw Bokd Street, London 
May, 1882. 




The Diamond in History— How the Ancients described 
it — The "Adamas"and the Sapphire — The Rarity 
of Large Gems — The number of Existing known 
Diamonds over 30 carats — The Buyers of Precious 
Stones — Popularity of Diamonds in America — 
Romantic Stories— Famous Mines — The " Great 
Mogul," "Koh-i-Nur," and " Pitt "—Popular Errors 
Corrected— The Standard of Weight and its Origin 25— 36 



The Largest Reported Diamond extant— The Romantic 
Story of its Discovery — Guarded as a Treasure of 
Portugal — Another Version of its Strange History- 
Errors of the Scribes—" Rule of Thumb " in the Old 
Days — Enormous Value of the " Braganza " if 
genuine — Diamond or Topaz ? — The Negro and his 
Supposed Treasure — A Terrible Disappointment ... 37 — 48 



The Exploration of the Land of the Matan— Traditional 
Wealth of Borneo — The " Reputed Largest-known 
Diamond in the World "—Exportation of Diamonds 
by the Dutch— The Ladies of Batavia— Sir Stamford 
Raffle's Account of the " Matan " — Found by a 
Labourer, claimed by the Rajah — Regarded as a 
Talisman — Appearance of the Gem — Offers of 
Purchase in Gold and Warships 49 33 


History, Past and Present— Suggestive Contrasts— Whai 
a Jewel might have seen — Supposed Value of the 
" Nizam " Diamond — Its Shape and Appearance — 
The Stone is Broken during the Indian Mutiny — 
Strange Powers Supposed to Belong to the Gem — 
Possibilities in the History of the " Nizam," 56 60 





"^ The two Largest Diamonds of South Africa — Finding the 
" Stewart " — An Accidental Discovery — " Joy is 
Dangerous" — The Anxiety of Possession — Taking 
the Treasure Home 6i — 62 


A Stormy Birth and a Tragic End — Two Centuries of 
History — Intrigue and Murder — The Afflictions of 
Shah Jehan — An Honest Cutter — The "Great 
Mogul" and the " Koh-i-Nur " — Eastern Magni- 
ficence — A King showing his Jewels to a Visitor — 
Shape of the " Great Mogul " and its General Appear- 
ance — Its Identity Established— A Usurper's Subter- 
fuge — Shah Jehan's desire to destroy all his Gems — 
The Peacock Throne — Mysterious Disappearance of 
the Gem at the Fall of Delhi 63—78 


Found by a Negress — A stone of singular Beauty — Sold 
for ;^3,ooo, ultimately to realise ;^8o,ooo — A lovely 
Tint — The Lion of two International Exhibitions, it 
is afterwards sent to India — Purchased by the Ruler 
of Baroda — The Prince's other Treasures — Diamond 
Dust Poisoning — Nemesis 79 — 84 


v^ Beautiful, but a little "Off-Colour" — South African 
Diamonds — Their Origin and Character — Enormous 
Increase of — Estimated Value of "Claims" in the 
Mining Districts — l^eculiar Delicacies of the Straw 
Tint — Stones that Rival those of Brazil and India — 
"Bort." 85— 87 


Tavernier's account of the " Table " Diamond — Its Size, 
Shape, and Value — Shah Jehan's Invasion of the 
Deccan — Fire and Sword — Raising Money to pay 
Tribute to the Victor — The Parsees and the English 
— Where is the Great Gem to-day ? 88 — 92 




The Slave and the Diamond — Punishments and Rewards 
in Mining — How Bahia became Famous — Discovery 
of the Regent by a Negro — He is Pensioned and 
obtains his Freedom ... ... 93— 94 



Diamond Robberies at the Cape — Receivers and Illicit 
Dealers — A Serious Question for Companies — A 209 
Carat Stone Stolen — Chase of the Thieves — Singular 
Capture and Discovery of the Stone — Life at the 
Diamond Fields — Singular Shopkeepers — Kafirs and 
their Masters — The Great Stone sold for ;f 15— Con- 
fession of the Thieves ... 95 — 102 



A Royal Lover's Gift— Prince Orloff and the Czarina 
Catharine — An Imperial Gem — Fable of the Temple 
of Brama— A French Grenadier's Plot— The Costly 
Eye of an Idol Stolen — A Great Diamond on its 
Travels— The Adventurer, Khojeh Raphael — Prince 
Orloff Purchases the Gem to restore his favour at 
Court — ^90,000 and ^4,000 a year is paid for the 
Stone — Another Grenadier — The Peacock Throne — 
Shah Jehan again — A Merchant Adventurer and 
Warrior — The Desolating War of the Deccan — 
Royal Preebooters-A Tragic End— The "Koh-i-Nur" 
and " Koh-i-Tfir "—The " Moon of Mountains " ... 103— 115 




"The Great Diamond of History and Romance"— 
Strange but True — Fact and Fable— An Extravagant 
Tradition — " One Long Romance of Five Centuries " 
— Tricks of Eastern Friendship-Exchanging Turbans 
—The Pitiful Story of Shah Rokh— A Factor of War 
and Murder, the Stone Carries a Curse — Built up in 
a Prison Wall — A Pathetic Incident — Eastern Rever- 
ence for Gems — The Supposed Talisman of Victory 
brings Defeat — Annexation of the Punjaub to the 
British Empire — Confiscation of the Crown Jewels of 
Lahore to the East India Company — The Greatest 
Gem of all Presented to the Queen — Its Character 
and Appearance — It is Re-Cut on the Advice of the 
Prince Consort— The " Koh-i-Nur " at last a Token 
of Liberty and Peace 116—135 






A City of Gems and Jewels — Nadir Shah's Descent on 
Delhi — Indiscriminate Slaughter and Plunder — The 
Shah of Persia's Largest Diamond, " Sea of Light " 
— Its Shape and Character — Is the " Darya-i-Nur " 
the Missing " Mogul ?" — " Opinions Differ " — A 
Reliable Judgment 136 — 139 



A Name that excites Unpleasant Reflections — Incidents 
of British Warfare in India — The Assault and 
Capture of Ahmedabad — The Opportunities of 
Collectors 140 — 143 



The Kimberley Mine — A Surprise — "Test Diamonds" 
Mr. Porter-Rhodes at Osborne — Presented to the 
Queen — Her Majesty's Opinion of the Famous Cape 
Stone — At Osborne Cottage — The Empress Eugenie 
an Authority on Gems — Handling the " Koh-i-Nur " 
at Windsor ... 144 — 149 



Gems in the Turkish Regalia — Abdul Aziz and his 
Creditor — An Incident of Turkish Trouble — A 
Reign of Terror 150 — 152 



The Diamond Works of Sumbhulpore — Mining Under 
Difficulties — Diamond Seekers at Work — A Famous 
Region — Robbed and E.xiled — A Monarch on the 
Rack — The Royal Torturer Assassinated — A 
Georgeous Bracelet — Royal Gems — Uncivilized 
Persia — A Strange Story — The Philosophic Content 
of a Blinded King 153 — i6o 



Official History — A Romantic Story — A Great Diamond 
Mistaken for a Piece of Glass — Fact and Fiction — 
Charles the Bold and the "Florentine" — A Splendid 
" Cap of Maintenance "... ... ... ... ... iQi ^58 




Found by a Slave — Stolen by an English Skipper — 
Treachery and Murder — Sold for / — Bought 
for ^'24,000 — Re-sold to the Regent of France for 
;f 135, 000 — Stolen and Restored to the Garde-Meuble 
— Pawned to the Dutch — Redeemed and Worn by 
Napoleon the Great — Captured after Waterloo, and 
taken to Berlin — On View at the Paris Exhibition — 
Among the Crown Jewels of France and Valued at 
/48o,ooo 169 — 183 


Persia in Poetry and Romance — The Shah in England 
— A Precious Gem, the History of which is at present 
unknown ... ... 184 — 185 



Pieces of the " Great Mogul " — Dr. Beke and the 
" Koh-i-Nur " — Evidence against his Theory, and 
that of Professor Tennant — Complete Identification 
of the " Abbas Mirza " 186 — 189 


The Pan Diggings, South Africa — Active Mining Opera- 
tions in 1871 — The first important " Find " igo 



" Diamond cut Diamond "—Nadir Shah Murdered by 
his own Troops — Shaffrass and the Afghan Soldier — 
The Curse of Wealth— A Terrible Tragedy— Three 
Brothers Murder a Jew and an Afghan for the 
"Moon of Mountains" — Two Brothers Murdered 
by the Third — Adventures of the Assassin — The Law 
of Russia — The Story as told by Pallas— Shaffrass 
the Murderer Retires and Marries, and is eventually 
Killed by his Son-in-Law igi 201 


One of Brazil's Largest Diamonds — "Picked up" in 
1851 — The Thieves of Minas-Geraes — A Gem without 
a Pedigree 202 





A Faultless Stone — Remarkable Success of Cutting — A 
Fortune made in Cotton and Spent on a Diamond — 
Crafty Agents — Singular Coincidence of Ill-Luck — 
A Ruined Merchant and a Deposed Prince 203 — 208 



Lost and Found — Known in Turkey as the " Shepherd's 
Stone" — Sold to the late Gaikwar of Baroda — 
Another Disappearance — Royal Egotism 209 — 210 



A Precious Colour in Diamonds — " D'un Beau Violet " — 
Famous Mines in History and Tradition — Misfortune 
follows Tavernier — The Old Idea of Great Diamonds 
being Unlucky — One Stone with a Treble History ... 211 — 214 



Another South African Gem — "Off Colour," but free 

from Flaw or Speck — Offered for Sale by Auction ... 215 



A Brilliant Gem — " All the Colours of the Rainbow " ... 216 



A Treasure of Brazil — Found in the Famous Diamond 

Province of Minas-Geraes ... ... ... ... 217 


A Product of the KoUur Mine — Cleavage and Flaws — 

A Risky and Unprofitable Speculation 218 


Cutters at Work in a Mine — A Notable Operation ... 219 




In the Early Days of our Eastern Empire — National 
Ingratitude —A Georgian Scandal — Cruel Caricature 
— The Power of Diamonds ... ... ... ... 220 — 224 


The Comparatively Unknown Diamond Fields of South 
Africa — The Progress and Wealth of Griqualand 
West — One of many Great Diamonds 225 — 226 



Peculiarities of Brazilian Stones — A Diamond-Bearing 
Rock — A Notable Gem, Named after the District 
where it was Found 227 



Under the Mahratta Power— " Gifts of the gods "—A 
Present to the East India Company — Reminiscences 
of a Royal Birthday — Re-cut by Order of the 
Marquis of Westminster 228 — 231 


Engraved Diamonds— A Barbarous Subterfuge— Sadek 
Khan Bricked Up in a Dungeon— An Incident of the 
Desert — "A Blaze of Jewels" — Oriental Extra- 
vagance 232 — 236 



A Strange History — The Vicissitudes of a Diamond — A 
Child's Toy worth a King's Ransom — The Discovery 
of Diamonds at the Cape — \ Great Stone Thrown 
Away in Africa to be afterwards Sold for over /^i 1,000 
in London 237—241 


The Peacock Throne— Strange Picture of Magnificence 
—An Error Corrected— The Sanguinary Adventures 
of Tamerlane 242 — 244 





Roughs in the East and West — A Text for the Educa- 
tionist - A Lost Diamond — A Reminiscence of 
Golconda 245 



Bornean Gems — Exploration of North Borneo— Difficul- 
ties to be Overcome — Indications of Success — A 
Genuine Bornean Stone — The Treasures of Sarawak 246 — 248 



A Russian Secret 249 



A Rich Viceroy, who was also a Toxicologist — " Hung 

in Effigy " and possibly Poisoned as well ... ... 250 — 251 



The Crown Jewels of France — Breaking Up of a Great 

Stone — Fragments that are Afterwards Traced ... 252 — 253 



A Reminiscence of Persian Splendour — A Splendid 

Crown Jewel ... ... ... ... ... ... 254 



The Kollur Mine— The Kistna Valley— A Beautiful Stone 

Cut in the Mine itself ... ... ... ... ... 255 



Set in Pearls — A Popular Fiction Dispelled— The " Pear 
and Savoy " not One Stone — The Shadows of Nadir 
Shah — Loss of the " Pear " in Persia 256 — 258 




The Sphinx of Diamonds — Looking Back Over Three 
Hundred Years — In the Days of the " Holy League " 
— A Royal Debauchee — A Faithful Valet — Important 
Revelations — Under a Cloud — A " Cause Celebre " 
Once More on its Travels — An Incident of the 
Prince of Wales's Indian Tour 259 — 268 



The Diamond Bought by Louis XIV — Stolen with the 
French Regalia in 1792 — A Present to the Empress 
Eugenie by Her Husband — "The Golden Fleece "... 269 — 271 



A New Stone in the History of Diamonds — A Gift from 
the Archduchess of Hungary to her Daughter the 
Queen of Belgium ... ... ... ... ... 272 


A Splendid Hair-Pin — Catharine II. of Russia and Her 
Favourites — Royal Presents — How the Hair-Pin 
was Bought by Napoleon III. — Its Sale to the 
Notorious Gaikwar of Baroda ... 273 — 274 


The Early Days of the Indian Empire — The Black Hole 
of Calcutta — The Successes of Clive — "Trifling 
Gifts " — A Lottery Prize — Sold to Ali Pasha for 
/3o,ooo, and by him Destroyed — Only the Model of 
the " Pigott " remains ... ... ... ... ... 275 — 282 


An Ancient Form of Diamond Cutting — Famous Gems 

that have Disappeared 283 — 284 



One of the Rarest Diamonds in the World — A Com- 
paratively Small Gem Valued at /30,ooo 285 




Astute Dealers — The "Banian Removes his Turban " — 

Rapid Business ... ... ... ... ... ... 286 — 288 



A Bridal Gift— History at Fault 289—290 



Models of Historic Gems in London — The Romance of 
Facts — Identification of the " Hope Blue" and the 
Famous French Stone — A Lovely Gem and a Notable 
Jewel ... 291 — 295 



The Raulconda Mines — Tinted Stones — A Diamond that 
Broke into Fragments on the Cutter's Wheel ... 
" Bort " — A Curious Freak of Nature 296 — 297 



One of the Gems in the Russian Crown Purchased in 

England — A Stone of Rare Purity and Lustre ... 298 



Forty Carats and Valued at /28,ooo — The Finest Gem 

in the Egyptian Treasury ... ... ... ... 299 



A Relic of the Dresden Vaults — Worn as a Button by the 

King of Saxony ... ... ... ... ... ..: 300 



One of Tavernier's Royal Customers — " The Queen of 
Borneo "■ — The Dutch Regalia — A Fanatical Pilgrim 
at Mecca — Fighting and Feasting ... ... ... 301 — 303 



Another Gem Unknown to History — Possibly to be 

Found at Teheran ,, 304 





A Crown Jewel — Its Origin and Character Unrecorded 

— Conical in Shape, and Valued at ^^10,368 305 


A Splendid Trinket — The Royal Turban of Baber — 

Eastern Monarchs in Full Dress ... 306 — 308 



A Mystery Cleared Ui>— Official History — The Crown 
Necklace Worn by the Princess Mary of Sachsen- 
Altenburg on her Marriage with Prince Albert of 
of Prussia— Origin of the Title " Little Sancy " ... 309 — 310 


The Vague History of a Brilliant Gem... An Ornament 

of Napoleon's Sword Hilt ... ... ... ... 311 — 312 



Days of Trouble in England — The Battle of Culloden — 
The City of London Presents a Great Diamond to 
the Conqueror — The " Cumberland " restored to 
Hanover on a Claim sent in to the English Court ... 313 — 315 


An Unauthorized Title — The Rough Diamond mentioned 

by Mawe 316 



A White Stone among the Dresden Green — Set in a 

Piece of Jewelry ... ... ... ... ... ... 317 


One of Four Famous Yellow Gems... ... ... ,.. 318 


The Diamond in History — How the Ancients described it — 
The '* Adamas " and the Sapphire — The Rarity of 
Large Gems — The number of Existing known Dia- 
monds over 30 Carats — The Buyers of Precious Stones 
— Popularity of Diamonds in Amei-ica — Romantic 
Stories — Famous Mines — " The Great Mogul," " Koh-i- 
Nur," and " Pitt "—Popular Errors Corrected— The 
Standard of Weight and its Origin. 

HE mystery which surrounds the Dia- 
mond is accentuated even in the 
etymology of the word itself. Acknow- 
ledged on all hands to be supreme 
in beauty over all gems, the manner of its pro- 
duction remains to this day, one of the secrets of 
Nature's Laboratory. Diamond in the English, and 
Diamant in the French, are both synonymous with 
Adamant, which comes directly from the Greek dSa/ias% 
meaning literally the "untamable,"* the "unconquer- 
able." Theancients properly estimated the character of 
the stone; and modern savants, who, standing upon the 

 In the word untamable we have the exact etymological equivalent 
of the Greek, tm, answering to o, originally, and tame, to 5a;uaco. with 
which compare the Latin done ^ whence " dominus, domina " and the French 
dame. Few would, at first sight suspect that both "Madame'' and her 
"Diamants" derive by many devious paths from a common original Aryan 
root, dam to tame. The French form soon became dirferentiated into 
aymant, aimaiit, in the sense oi magnet or loadstone, traditionally associated 
in many ways with the Diamond. It was also Latinized dAdiamas instead 
of adamas, by medieval writers, whence Vincent de Beauvais' remark that 
'' Hie a quibusdam dtamas dicitur," (In Speculum Natural, VIII. c. 40.) 
From these writers it passed, no doubt, into the vernacular German, whence 
Walter von der Vogelwiede's diemant and Luther's deniant. This explains 
the two forms Diamant and Demant current in modem German. 



mountain tops of Science, have explored the sun itself, 
can tell us but little more of this splendid production 
of its creative rays, than is indicated in the Greek. It 
is to the cutter that we owe the revelation of its love- 
liness, the development of that radiance which trans- 
cends all other gems, as the graces of Venus transcend 
those of all the other goddesses of Olympus. Although 
the word is found in the oldest Greek records, the 
substance itself was unknown in Europe until com- 
paratively recent times. In Homer, Adamas occurs 
only as a personal name ; in Hesiod, Pindar and 
the Trajics it is used as signifying either any hard 
weapon, or a metal, such as steel or an alloy of 
gold and steel. Even Theophrastus, successor of 
Aristotle, and author of a short treatise, still extant, 
on Precious Stones, makes only one casual allusion 
to the Adamas, which, however, cannot have meant 
the true Diamond,* as he does not include it in his list 
of gems. His treatise was composed 300 B c, after 
which no further distinct allusion to the Diamond 
occurs until we come to the Latin poet and astronomer, 
Manilius, who flourished in the first century of the 
new era. In the fourth book of the poem entitled 
Astronamicon, by this writer, occurs the line " Sic 
Adamas punctum lapidis pretiosior auro," which is 
supposed to contain the earliest indubitable reference 
to the true Diamond, which is here spoken of as 
" more precious than gold." Some writers have 

* C. W. King thinks it may have been the Emery-stone (The 
Natural History of Precious Stones, p. 41). Yet Plato had already been 
using the same word apparently to indicate the Sapphire: Xpvcrov Si tj^os 
Sia irvxviTrira crxArj/x^TaTor o;' x"^ n-iXavQev, 'A5d/ ex^V^V- "But the 
germ of gold, extremely hard, through its density, and of a dark tint, has 
been called Adamos," Timxus, 59. 


doubted whether this Adamas of the Romans was 
anything more than a Sapphire ; but the question is 
set at rest by the accurate description of Pliny, who 
was probably a contemporary of Manilius, and who 
speaks of the Indian gem as colorless and transparent, 
with polished facets and six angles, ending either 
as a pyramid with a sharp point, or with two 
points, like two whipping-tops joined together at 
their base. The colourless nature of the stone shows 
that it was not a sapphire, while the " six angles " 
necessarily imply the octahedron, which is the primary 
form of the perfectly crystallized Diamond, and sug- 
gests no resemblance to the sapphire. 

None of the stones known to the ancients seem to 
have been of any importance as regards size. In the 
above quoted passage from Manilius, the adamas is 
a mere " punctum lapidis," or stone's point, and the 
Indian stones, the largest of which the Romans had 
any knowledge, are compared by Pliny to the " kernel 
of a hazel-nut," which would make them about lo 
carats in weight. Large gems may, no doubt, have 
existed in India, even at that time, and a vague tradi- 
tion assigns a great antiquity to the Koh-i-Nur, and 
some other famous historical diamonds. Only small 
specimens could, however, have reached the west, 
because the Indian princes seem in all ages to have 
either reserved to themselves, or at least prohibited 
the exportation of stones beyond a certain weight. 
The Portuguese writer, Garcias ab Horto, writing in 
the sixteenth century, states that the sovereigns 
claimed all gems above 30 mangelis, or ^/^ carats, 
and De Laet, a century later, says that stones even 


of 10 carats and upwards had been reserved in the 
old Golconda mines, then exhausted or stopped. 

Diamonds of large size have always been ex- 
tremely rare, even in India itself Tavernier asserts 
that before the opening of the Coulour mine, about 
the year 1550, the largest ever found weighed only 
from 10 to 12 carats. This statement cannot, how- 
ever, be accepted in the face of distinct evidence to 
the contrary. De Laet informs us that, " in the 
mines some, but extremely rarely, are found of 100, 
130, and even 200 carats ; more numerous are those 
of 8, 9, 10, and 15, while those of lesser weight are 
far more abundant."* So also Adrian Toll, editor of 
De Bool, says, " In Bisnagar, diamonds are found 
weighing 140 carats, such as Monard says he himself 
had seen." He also declares that he heard from 
trustworthy authorities of one weighing 250 carats, 
and that it was the size of a small hen's ^^^. The 
recently-discovered South African diamond fields are 
no doubt remarkable for the relatively large number 
of good sized stones which they have yielded. But 
even here the absolute number of such specimens is 
small, so that the statement of Mawe,t writing early 
in the present century, still holds good that although 
small stones are sufficiently abundant to be within 
the reach of a moderate expenditure ; yet those of 
larger size are, and ever have been, rare. He adds 

* " Inveniuntur in Bisnagar adamantes pendentes 140 ceratia, qualem 
se Monardes vidisse scribit. A fide dignis narrat etiam se audivisse extare 
unum qui 250 ceratia ponderat, eumque esse exigui ovi galiinacei magni- 
tudine." — Gemmarum et Latidarian Historia. 

•j- A Treatise on Diamonds and Precious Stones," 2nd edition, 1823, 
pp. 16 and 17 — Introduction. 


that of the most celebrated for magnitude and beauty 
the whole number in Europe scarcely amounts to 
half a dozen, all of which are in possession of sovereign 
princes.* This statement must be considered from a 
Koh-i-Nur stand-point, and is, no doubt, true, if those 
gems only be taken into account which weigh 100 
carats and upwards. But the number must be in- 
creased 10 times if we include all weighing 30 carats 
and upwards. John Murray, writing in 1838, remarks 
that the number of diamonds of the weight of 36 
carats and above, known to exist in Europe at that 
time, "do not really amount to more than 19." 
Since then the number has been considerably in- 
creased, especially by the yield from the South 
African fields. How many of this size there may be 
in the Portuguese treasury,! the richest in Europe, is 
not fully known. But it is in evidence that at the 
sale of the late Duke of Brunswick's effects in Geneva, 
the list of diamonds included no less than seven 
weighing from 37 to 81 carats.| As little was known 
of these stones till attention was called to them on 
this occasion they should probably be added to the 
19 referred to by Murray in 1838. 

All things considered, the actual number of 
diamonds over 30 carats in weight now existing in 

* "A Memoir on the Diamond''' — London, 1839, p. 53. 

f Supplied exclusively from Brazil, whence for many years past 
scarcely any stones have been received weighing over 20 carats. " Partien 
von 2 = 3= oder 4,000 Karat welche von Brasilien oder andern Orten 
heriibergeschickt werden, enthalten bisweilen einzelne Steine von dem 
aussergewohnlichen Gewicht von 12-20 karat." Karl Emil Kluge — 
"■ Handbiich der Edelsteinkunde," Leipzig, i860, p 282. 

X See the " Catalogue, et noms des Acquereurs," published at the 
time by Messrs. Rossel et Fils, Joailliers, Bijoutiers, 12, Rue de Rh6ne, 
Geneva, 1874. 


every part of the world cannot safely be estimated 
at much more than lOo, of which probably about 
50 are in Europe, and the remainder in Persia, India, 
and Borneo. This number may no doubt be sub- 
sequently increased by fresh discoveries in Brazil, 
South Africa, India, Borneo, Australia, and elsewhere. 
But the supply of such large specimens from these 
sources must always be extremely limited ; while the 
experiments recently conducted by Mr. J. B. Hannay, 
in Glasgow may be taken as clearly proving that 
none such will ever be made by artificial means. 
Those said to have been produced in Mr. Hannay's 
laboratory by a process doubtless analogous to that 
followed by nature herself are excessively minute, 
with a marketable value of scarcely five shillings, the 
production of which probably cost the speculative 
experimenter about five pounds each. While the 
number of small-sized gems will go on accumulating, 
those of very large magnitude will probably remain, 
to a great extent, stationary ; their intrinsic value 
will tend to grow rather than diminish, and apart 
from the romance of their history, the interest felt in 
the world's most famous gems will be enhanced as the 
development of national wealth adds to the ranks of 
those who are rich enough to compete for their posses- 
sion. Hitherto our Transatlantic kinsmen have 
scarcely appeared in the market as serious bidders 
for their possession. They are great buyers of stones 
of medium size. American gentlemen wear diamonds 
in the States almost as generally as the ladies do. 
It is quite a common thing to see pins and studs of 
10 to 15 carats worn in all classes of society ; and in 


the streets of the great cities the majority of well- 
dressed women wear diamond earrings. But in spite 
of the American love of diamonds, the notable and 
historic stones are still found outside the pale of the 
Great Republic. It is only natural to conclude, how- 
ever, that the day is not far distant when the peerless 

"Fair as the star that ushers in the morn." 

will attract the attention of the princes of Wall-street 
and the Bonanza mine-owners of California. Then 
the present quotations for exceptionally fine and large 
stones, usually regarded as somewhat fanciful in price, 
will, no doubt, be readily commanded by such princely 
houses as may be willing to replenish their exhausted 
coffers at the sacrifice of a few brilliant but non-pro- 
ductive heirlooms. 

A full account of the origin, nature, properties, and 
habitat of the diamond will be found in Precious 
Stones and Gems. In the present treatise which may 
be regarded as a sequel to that work, it is proposed 
to embody, in a succinct form, the information 
scattered over many volumes, in diverse languages, 
and from private family and official manuscripts kindly 
placed at our disposal for the purposes of this work, 
regarding all the known specimens weighing from 
30 carats and upwards. The extraordinary interest 
felt in these rarer gems, many of which are associated 
with strange intrigues and disastrous wars, induces 
constant inquiry to be made regarding them, their 
history, their owners, and their whereabouts. Kluge 
truly remarks that, "of the few large diamonds 
hitherto extracted from the earth each has, so to say, 


its own story, in many instances made up of crimes 
and outrages." The romantic element plays a large 
part in these records, which in some cases date back 
to remote times. Unfortunately the extant accounts 
are often of the most contradictory character. The 
incidents associated with some particular stone are 
constantly transferred to another object. The very 
identity even of the most famous historical gems is 
often an open question. To this day it has remained 
somewhat uncertain whether, for instance, the " Great 
Mogul" and the "Koh-i-Nur" are one stone under 
two names, or really two distinct diamonds, as they 
certainly appear to be. Errors in the various accounts 
have often crept in through the ignorance or careless- 
ness of writers, copying from each other, without 
taking the pains to verify references. A curious 
instance of this is afforded by Murray, otherwise a 
good authority, who, in speaking of the " Pitt " or 
" Regent," says that, " this diamond, it has been 
stated, was found in Malacca, in the famous mine of 
Porteal, in the Kingdom of Golconda." In this 
short sentence there are no less than three gross 
blunders, for Golconda is not a kingdom, but only a 
fortified station in the Nizam's territory, formerly a 
noted depot for the gems found in the surrounding 
districts. Nor is the Porteal, or rather Parteal, mine 
anywhere near Golconda. It lies many miles further 
south on the lower Kistna river. And lastly, neither 
Golconda nor Parteal are in Malacca, but in Cisgan- 
getic India. As Malacca is not known to be a 
diamond field, its mention in this connection can be 
explained only by supposing that Murray is here 


blindly copying from Mawe, who makes the remark- 
able statement at page 42 of his already quoted work, 
that, " the ' Pitt ' or ' Regent' diamond is said to have 
been found in Malacca. It was purchased by Mr. Pitt, 
then Governor of Bencoolen, for less than ;[^20,ooo." 
Here is another rich crop of errors, for Mr. Pitt, that 
is Thomas Pitt, founder of the illustrious house of that 
name, was Governor, not of Bencoolen, which lies in 
the south of Sumatra, but of Madras, on the Coro- 
mandel or east coast of India. By following up the 
scent from Mawe backwards to earlier accounts, each 
embellished in the copying, it is ultimately found that 
Malacca gets mixed up in the story by some incidental 
reference to Malachite, confounded by some ignorant 
amanuensis with the geographical region in question, 
which reminds one of the story of the Parliamentary 
reporter who contrived to convert an interrogation 
about Cowes in the Isle of Wight into an agricultural 
question. Take again the " Gani " mine, of which we 
read so much in connection with the " Great Mogul," 
but which has really no existence at all. Tavernier 
tells us that this mine was called " Gani " by the 
natives, and Colare or Coulour by the Persians, and, 
of course, the statement has been scrupulously re- 
ported by all subsequent writers on the subject. But 
nobody has ever yet succeeded in identifying such a 
place as " Gani," and the word would appear to be 
simply a corruption, or possibly a collateral form of 
the Dravidian Kan, which means not any particular 
mine, but a mine in general. On the ether hand 
Coulour seems undoubtedly to be, not the Gan-i- 
Parteal, that is, the Parteal mine on the Kistna, as is 


usually supposed, but Kollur, still known by that 
name, also on the Kistna, but some 25 miles further 
Avest, in lat. 16° 42' N., and long. 80° 5 ' 10" E.* There- 
fore in Gani-Kollur, and not in Parteal, was found the 
" Great Mogul " of Tavernier. In the following 
account of all the great historical diamonds, every 
effort will be made to rectify these and other current 
errors regarding them,t and, where possible to recon- 
cile the numerous conflicting statements met with in 
popular treatises on their origin, history, and identity. 
Many of the great diamonds are known to Mr. Streeter, 

* See an interesting paper by Mr. V. Ball, in '■'■Nature" for March 
24th, 1 88 1, " On the Identity of some Ancient Diamond Mines in India, 
especially those mentioned by Tavernier." From the writer's remarlvs it 
seems obvious that Gani should be written Gan-i or Kani, ?>., " the mine 
of," to be followed by the proper name of each particular mine. Thus 
Gan-i- Partial^ Gan-i-KoUur, &c. Here the particle i is, of course, the 
same as that which occurs in such well-known compound expressions as 
Koli-i-Nur, Kaisar-i-Hind, &c., and which in Persian has the force of our 
preposition of, though originally a relative pronoun. It may here be 
added that amongst other famous mines, now^ for the first time identified 
by Mr. Ball, are Raw/co7ida, which appears to be the old town of Rawdu 
Konda in lat. 15° 50' N., long. 76° 50' E. ; Soiiinelpour, which he thinks 
is not the Sambalpuy on the Mahanadi River, in the Central Provinces, as 
is generally supposed, but Sema/i, which word is identical with Semou/, 
the native name of a species of cotton tree. Semulpour, or the town ot 
Semnl, is therefore, probably, Tavernier's Soumelpour, La-^tly Beei-agurh, 
mentioned in the Aiii-i-Akhbari, is unquestionably identical with the 
modern Mairagurh., in the Chanda District of the Central Provinces, 
where excavations, locally known to have been diamantiferous, are still to 
be seen. 

t A fruitful source of error is the ignorance of transcribers from 
foreign sources, and especially from German works. A very curious 
instance of this is the version current in popular English treatises 
of the list of French Crown Jewels as taken in 1791. Here occur the 
mysterious entries, ''Golden Blies, 51 carats, 300,000 francs," "The 
Ebenda, 26 carats, 150,000 franco," and another, *' Ebenda, 20 carats, 
48,000 francs." By reference to the German accounts, from which these 
are obviously copied, the •• Golden Blies" is found to be '• Am goldenen- 
Vlies," that is, in the, ''Golden Fleece," where the transcriber mistook the 
German V for B, whence the "Golden Blies." In the same way, the 
German " Ebenda," meaning simply "ditto," is twice raised to the dignity 
gf a crown jewel, worth many thousands of francs 


who possesses models of them. In the course of a 
short time he will complete his collection of crystals, 
cut for the purpose from the gems themselves, or 
from models designed on the lines of the best possible 
descriptions of them that can be obtained. 

The carat being the universal standard of 
weight and size for the diamond, a few remarks 
on this unit of the measure may here be found 
useful. The original meaning of this term has 
afforded subject for much controversy. Mawe cuts 
the matter short by asserting that the carat is an 
Indian denomination of weight. One hundred and 
fifty carats and a quarter are equal to an ounce troy 
(Op. cit. p. 2). But the carat, which is a Greek word,* 
could not have been originally used as a denomination 
of weight in India, where the rati seems to have been 
the most general, though by no means a uniform 
standard. It fluctuated in different times and places 
between 1.86 & 2.25 grains,*!- whereas the carat has 
the great advantage of being very nearly a constant 
factor everywhere. It is equivalent to 4 grains avoir- 
dupois, five of which are equal to 4 grains troy, so that 
one carat is equal to 3. 174 grains troy, and 15 i|- carats 

* From xepaTfoj', the fruit of the locust tree, and of a species of vetch, 
the seeds of which, running very uniform, furnished natural weights for 
estimating the value ot small and precious articles to the Orientals just as 
barley grains afforded the unite of weight and of measure to the Europeans, 
King, Op. cit. p. 113. Kluge. (Op. cit. p. 230,), derives the word from 
'• Kuara," the name of an African pod-bearing plant, the seed of which 
was used in Galla-i:uul, south of Abyssinia, for weighing gold, but the 
medieval spelling Kenitia shews that tliis derivation is inadmissable. 

t In Sambhulphur one rati = 2 grains, and 7 rati = i mesta. The 
rati of which 40 = i mishkal (Sultan Baber), is the Absus precatorius or 
rutka. a small red-pointed seed. The mishkal was a Persian measure '=::■ 
half distrem or 74.5 grains, 


to one English oz. The actual value of the carat in 
different countries, in milligrams, is as under : — 


... 205.4090 


... 205.500 

Berlin ... 

... 205.4400 


... 206.1300 


. . 205.044 

Spain ... 

... 205.3930 


... 205.7500 

Brazil ... 

... 205.7500 


The Largest Reported Diamond extant — The Romantic 
Story of its Discovery — Guarded as a Treasure of 
Portugal — Another Version of its Strange History — 
Errors of the Scribes—" Rule of Thumb " in the Old 
Days — Enormous Value of the Braganza if genuine — 
Diamond or Topaz ? — The Negro and his Supposed 
Treasure — A Terrible Disappointment. 

F genuine, the Braganza is by far the 
largest diamond, not only now in 
existence, but of which there is any 
record. But its very size, weighing no 
less than i,68o carats in the rough, has caused it to 
be suspected, and no opportunity has hitherto been 
afforded of examining it with sufficient care to 
warrant anything like a conclusive judgment as to 
its true character. It is also to be noticed that even 
were it ascertained to be a diamond, it might have to 
be greatly reduced in size, if not cleaved into two or 
more stones, in the cutter's hands. As a rule the 
larger the stone the more it proportionately loses in 
size in the process necessary for the full develop- 
ment of its beauty. The loss is usually reckoned at 
about one half for moderately large gems. But for 
one of such large dimensions as the Braganza it could 
not safely be estimated at perhaps less than two- 
thirds. This would reduce the finished jewel to about 


560 carats ; but even so it would still remain exactly 
twice as large as the Great Mogul, the next largest 
cut stone of which we have any record. Conse- 
quently, pending the decision of the question regard- 
ing its real nature, it must stand at the head of our 
list of great diamonds. 

One of the earliest and best accounts we have of 
this stone is that given by Mawe at p. 242 of his 
Travels in Brazil. " A few leagues," he writes, " to 
the north of the Rio Plata is the rivulet named 
Abaite, celebrated for having produced the largest 
diamond in the Prince's possession, which was found 
about twelve years ago. Though this circumstance 
has been already briefly stated,* it may be allowed 
me in this place to relate the particulars as they 
were detailed to me during my stay at Tejuco. 
Three men [elsewhere named Antonio de Sousa, Jose 
Feliz Gomez, and Thomas de Sousa], having been 
found guilty of high crimes, were banished into the 
interior, and ordered not to approach any of the 
capital towns, or to remain in civilized society on pain 
of perpetual imprisoiiment. Driven by this hard 
sentence into the most unfrequented part of the 
country, they endeavoured to explore new mines or 
new productions, in the hope that, sooner or later, they 
might have the good fortune to make some important 
discovery, which would obtain a reversal of their 
sentence, and enable them to regain their station in 

* At p. 140, where the stone is said to be of an octahedral form 
Weighing seven-eighths of an ounce, and, " perhaps the largest diamond in 
world," Mawe adds that, " It is now in the private possession of the Prince 


society. They wandered about in this neighbour- 
hood, making frequent searches in its various mines, 
for more than six years, during which time they were 
exposed to a double risk, being continually liable to 
become the prey of the anthropophagi, and in no less 
danger of being seized by the soldiers of Government. 
At length they, by hazard, made some trials in the 
river Abaite, at a time when its waters were so low, 
in consequence of a long season of drought, that a 
part of its bed was left exposed. Here, while search- 
ing and washing for gold, they had the good fortune 
to find a diamond nearly an ounce in weight. Elated 
by this providential discovery, which at first they 
could scarcely believe to be real, yet hesitating 
between a dread of the rigorous laws relating to the 
diamonds, and a hope of regaining their liberty, they 
consulted a clergyman, who advised them to trust to 
the mercy of the State, and accompanied them to 
Villa Rica, where he procured them access to the 
governor. They threw themselves at his feet, and 
delivered to him the invaluable gem on which their 
hopes rested, relating all the circumstances connected 
with it. The governor, astonished at its magnitude, 
could not trust the evidence of his senses, but called 
the officers of the establishment to decide whether it 
was a diamond, who set the matter beyond all doubt. 
Being thus by the most strange and unforseen acci- 
dent put in possession of the largest diamond ever 
found in America, he thought proper to suspend the 
sentence of the men as a reward for their having de- 
livered it to him. The gem was sent to Rio de 
Janeiro, from whence a frigate was dispatched with it 


to Lisbon, whither the clergyman was also sent to 
make the proper representations respecting it. The 
sovereign confirmed the pardon of the delinquents, 
and bestowed some preferment on the holy father." 

This famous stone, which has been valued by 
Rome Delisle at no less than 300 millions sterling, is 
said to be about the size of a goose's egg, and its 
weight is usually estimated at 1,680 carats, which at 
the rate of 150 carats to the ounce, would make rather 
over II oz. M, Ferry makes it weigh 1,730 carats ; 
and Emanuel as much as 1,880, though this figure 
may probably be a misprint for 1,680. Still, the 
lowest of these estimates is immensely in excess 
of Mawe's calculation that it weighs only " seven- 
eighths of an ounce." Mawe is here, however, incon- 
sistent with himself, for a stone of this size could not 
be described as " perhaps the largest diamond in the 

In his " Memoir on the Diamond," Murray sup- 
plies some further interesting particulars. He tells 
us that " it remains still uncut, but Don John VI. had 
a hole drilled through it, and it was suspended to his 
neck on gala days." Murray was not aware whether 
it was still among the crovv^n jewels given up by 
Miguel, or had been previously pledged to carry on 
the war against the French. For this latter report, 
current in Murray's time, there seems to be no 
foundation, and according to all recent authorities the 
stone would appear never to have been removed from 
the Portuguese treasury, where it is jealously guarded 
against all inquisitive sight-seers. For obvious finan- 
cial motives, the Government is naturally anxious that, 


whatever be its true character, it should continue to 
be regarded as a genuine diamond. On this point 
the strongest doubts have always been entertained, 
and Murray tells us that. " Mr. Mawe. who had atten- 
tively examined it, informed me that he considered it 
to be a ' Nova Mina,' or \vhite topaz, and not a 

This passage presents considerable difficulty, for 
Mawe nowhere savs he had ever even seen, much less 
examined, the stone ; nor is it easy to understand 
how he could have had the opportunity of doing so. 
Indeed his description of it as a ''ivhite topaz" would 
seem to imply that he never set eyes on this gem, at 
least if Barbot is correct in describing it as " d"une 
couleur jaune fonce."' 

This is ver}^ far from being the only discrepancy in 
the current accounts of the Braganza. Barbot himself 
tells us that it was found, not b}' three banished crimi- 
nals, but by a slave, who, therefore, received his liberty, 
and, " une pension viagere pour lui et la famille." 
He adds that it is the shape of a pea, and, "might be 
about the size of a hen's egg ;" while Liebig reduces 
its weight to 95 carats.* Authorities are equally at 

variance as to the date of its discovery, Av-hich Kluge 
says was in 1 741, Murray about 1764, and others, with 
Mawe, more correctly, about I797.i" In the same 
way, the locality where it was found is stated by 

* In " HandivorUrhuch der reinen imd angeu-audten Chemie'' quoted 
liy Kluge. 

t Tliis seems evident from Mawe's statement tliat. " it wa« found 
about twelve years ago," that is, twelve years before the year 1809, wlien 
he was in 'I'ejuco takinpf notes for his work on Brazil, the ist edition of 
which appeared in i8ii. 



Mawe to have been the bed of the river Abaite, when 
it had run partly dry ; whereas Jones,* says that it 
was extracted from the mine of Caetha Mirim in 
1741. Lastly Jones himself splits this very stone 
into two, one of which he calls the " Braganza," the 
other the " Abaite," and finds a history for each. Of 
the former he says that it was extracted from the 
mine of Caetha Mirim in 1741, and that it was worn 
by Don Joao VI., who had a passion for precious 
stones, of which he owned about ^3,000,000 worth. 
Of the latter he writes that it "was found in 1791, 
and the circumstances of its discovery was related by 
Mawe and others. Three men, convicted of capital 
offences, Antonio de Sousa, Jose Feliz Gomez, and 
Thomas de Sousa, were exiled to the far west of 
Minas, and forbidden, under pain of death, to enter a 
city, wandered about for some six years, braving 
cannibals and wild beasts, in search of treasure. 
Whilst washing for gold in the Abaite river, which 
was then exceptionally dry, they discovered this 
diamond weighing nearly an ounce (576 grains=i44 
carats). They trusted to a priest who, despite the 
severe laws against diamond washers, led them to 
Villa Rica, and submitted the stone to the governor 
of Minas, whose doubts were dissipated by a special 
commission. The priest obtained several privileges, 
and the malefactors their pardon, no other reward 
being mentioned." 

It will be noticed at once that this story relates 
not, as here stated, to a diamond weighing 144 carats, 
but to the stone Jones has already spoken of under the 

In '■^History and Mystery of Precious Stones," l88o, p 254, 


name of Braganza, weighing i,68o carats. It is 
obvious that two stories, relating to two distinct gems 
have got mixed up together by careless writers, 
copying from each other, each repeating or adding 
to the errors made by his predecessors, and all care- 
fully avoiding the trouble involved in the consultation 
of the original authorities. The subjoined passage 
from Milliet de Saint Adolphe* makes it perfectly 
clear that the Braganza and the Aba'ite are one and 
the same stone, and identical with what the writer 
calls the " Regent," because brought to Lisbon during 
the regency of John VI. This circumstance also 
fixes the date of its discovery at about the year 1798 ; 
for John was appointed Regent in 1799, when his 
mother Maria I. lost her reason. Speaking of the 
river Abaite, which rises in the Mata da Corda moun- 
tains, and flows through the province of Minas-Geraes, 
for 40 leagues north-east to the left bank of the Sao- 
Francisco, 12 leagues below the mouth of the Andaia. 
the writer observes : " It was in this river that was 
found by three convicts, condemned to perpetual exile, 
the diamond of the Portuguese crown called the 
' Regent.' The parish priest of the place to whom the 
criminals showed it, took it in person to the Governor 
of Minas-Geraes in 1800, and interceded for those 

* '' Dktionario Geogyaphico Historico e Descriptivo do Imperio do 
Brazil," por J. C. R. Milliet de Saint Adolphe, Paris, 1863. This work 
was translated from the unpublished French manuscript into Portuguc-e 
by Dr. Cantano Lopes de Moura. and in this version the passage runs 
thus : '' Neste rio e' que foi achado por tres malfeitores condemnados a 
desterro perpetuo o diamante da Coroa Portugueza chamado o Regente. 
O parocho do lugor, a quern os degradados o mostrarao, o levou em pessoa 
ao governador de Minas Oeraes em tSoQ, e intercedes por aquelles infelizes 
O Governador enviou a diamante a Lisboa, e o principe regente, depoi'< 
Don Joao Vi. fez gra(,-a aos condemnados." 


unhappy persons. The governor sent the diamond 
to Lisbon, and the Prince Regent, afterwards Don 
Joao VI., pardoned the condemned criminals." The 
circumstances here briefly recapitulated show con- 
clusively that the writer is speaking of the same 
diamond that Mawe describes as weighing i,6So 
carats. Consequently to this and to no other belongs 
the story of the three convicts. It also appears from 
this statement that the "Braganza" and "Regent of 
Portugal," usually regarded as two distinct gems, are 
really one and the same stone. Else we shall have 
to believe that two exceptionally large stones were 
found in Brazil under exactly similar circumstances, 
that is by three criminals, banished to perpetual exile, 
and who thereupon received their pardon. 

Murray tells us on the authority of a Mr. Magellan, 
that " a fragment was broken off from it by the 
ignorance of the person who found it, having struck it 
a blow with a hammer." This was the old rough-and- 
ready method of testing stones, the nature of M^hich was 
not obvious at first sight. It was supposed that true 
diamonds resisted the heaviest blows of the hammer, 
whereas it is now well-ascertained that they are easily 
split by cleavage. Hence the circumstance here 
mentioned would not of itself imply that this stone 
was not a real diamond. At the same time it is not 
at all certain that Magellan referred to the Aba'ite 
stone, which was found not by a person, as here stated, 
but by three criminals, as in M awe's account. 

With regard to its value, Murray, rejecting Rome 
Delisle's preposterous estimate of 300 millions sterling, 
considers that "according to the method of calculation 


by Jeffries," its value will be, in its present form, 
;i^5,644,8oo. But no price at all can be set upon a 
stone which is still in the rough state, and regarding 
the true character of which the greatest uncertainty 

Referring to Mawe's statement that the stone may- 
be a white topaz, it is well to remember that the 
tooaz, which consists of a fluo-silicate mixed with 
silicate of aluminium, is often very apt to be mistaken 
for the diamond by unpractised eyes. This is es 
pecially the case with the colourless stone known as 
the Goutte d'Eau, and even with the yellow Brazilian 
variety, which, when skilfully cut, forms a verj^ hand 
some gem. The German Aulic-councillor, Beireis of 
Helmstadt, who died in 1809, possessed a stone of this 
sort, which to the last he believed to be a diamond, 
although it was said to be as large as an ostrich's Q%^, 
and to weight 6.400 carats. He kept it carefully 
locked up in his cabinet, producing it only on rare 
occasions, and gave out that he had received it in 
pledge from the Emperor of China. Nobody, of 
course, believed this story, but the strange part of it 
was, that at hi.^^; death, the stone was found to have 
mysteriously disappeared. Its existence is vouched 
for by the testimony of Gothe himself, who was one 
of the privileged few to whom Beireis showed it. The 
owner may have possibly, towards the end, discovered 
his mistake, and destroyed the stone, either for a lo\ e 
of mystery, to which some minds are so prone, or else 
to save his reputation, by preventing the true charac- 
ter of the gem from becoming known. Some have 
supposed that this stone was not even a topaz, but 


mereh' a piece of rock crystal, like that concerning 
which Alawe tells the following story : — 

" A free negro of Villa do Principe, about 900 
miles distant, had the assurance to write a letter to 
the Prince Regent, announcing that he possessed an 
amazingly large diamond, which he had received from 
a deceased friend some years ago, and which he 
begged he might have the honour to present his 
royal highness in person. As the magnitude which 
this poor fellow ascribed to his diamond, was such as 
to raise imagination to its highest pitch, an order was 
immediately dispatched to the commander of Villa 
do Principe, to send him forthwith to Rio de Janeiro, 
he was accommodated with a conveyance, and es- 
corted by two soldiers. As he passed along the road, 
all who had heard the report hailed him as already 
honoured with a cross of the Order of St. Bento, and 
as sure of being rewarded with the pay of a general 
of brigade. The soldiers also anticipated great pro- 
motion, and all persons envied the fortunate negro. 
At length, after a journey which occupied about 
twenty-eight days, he arrived at the capital, and was 
straightway convej-ed to the palace. His happiness 
was now about to be consummated ; in a few moments 
the hopes which he had for so many years indulged 
would be realized, and he should be exalted from a 
low and obscure condition, to a state of affluence and 
distinction. Such, no doubt, were the thoughts which 
agitated him during the moments of suspense. At 
length he was admitted into the presence ; he threw 
himself at the prince's feet, and delivered his wonderful 
gem. His highness was astonished at its magnitude, 


a pause ensued, the attendants waited to hear the 
prince's opinion, and what he said they seconded. 
A round diamond, nearly a pound in weight filled 
them allwith wonder ; some ready calculators reckoned 
the millions it was worth ; others found it difficult to 
enumerate the sum at which it would be valued ; but 
the general opinion of his highness's servants was, 
that the treasury was many millions of crowns the 
richer. The noise which the occurence created among 
the higher circles may be easily conceived ; the 
general topic of remark and wonder was the negro's 
offering. It was shewn to the ministers, among whom 
an apprehension, and even a doubt, was expressed 
that a substance so large and round might not prove 
a real diamond. They, however, sent it to the treasury 
under a guard, and it was lodged in the deposit of the 
jewel room. On the next day the Conde de Linhares, 
sent for me,and related all the circumstances which had 
come to his knowledge respecting the famous jewel, 
adding in a low tone of voice that he had his doubts 
about its proving a genuine diamond. His excellenc}- 
directed me to attend at his office in a few hours, 
when letters from himself and the other ministers to 
the treasury should be given me for permission to 
see this invaluable gem, in order to determine what it 
really was. Readily accepting a charge of so interest- 
ing a nature, I prepared myself, and attended at the 
hour appointed, when I received the letters, which I 
presented at the treasury to an officer in waiting. I 
was led through several apartments, in which much 
business seemed to be transacting, to the grand 
chamber, where presided the treasurer, attended by 


his secretaries. Having my letters in his hand, h-t 
entered into some conversation with me relative to 
the subject. I was then shown through other grand 
apartments hung v/ith scarlet and gold, and orna- 
mented with figures as large as life representing 
justice holding the balance. In the inner room, to 
which we were conducted, there were several strong 
chests with three locks each, the keys of which were 
kept by thi-ee different officers, who were all required 
to be present at the opening. One of these chests 
being unlocked, an elegant little cabinet aas taken 
out, from which the treasurer took the gem, and in 
great form presented it to me. Its value sunk at the 
first sight, for before I touched it I was convinced 
that it was a rounded piece of crystal. It was about 
an inch and a half in diameter. On examining it, I 
told the governor it was not a diamond, and to con- 
vince him I took a diamond of five or six carats, and 
with it cut a very deep nick in the stone. This was 
proof positive. A certificate wa.s accordingly made 
out, stating that it was an inferior substance, of little 

or no value, which I signed The poor 

negro, who had presented it, was, of course, deeply 
afflicted by this unwelcome news. Instead of being 
accompanied home by an escort, he had to find his 
way thither as he could, and would, no doubt, have 
to encounter the ridicule and contempt of those, who 
had of late congratulated him on his good fortune." 



Exploration of the Land of the Matan — Traditional Wealth 
of Borneo — The " Reputed largest-known Diamond in 
the World " — Exportation of Diamonds by the Dutch — 
The Ladies of Batavia — Sir Stamford Raffle's Account 
of the Matan — Found by a Labourer, claimed by the 
Rajah — Regarded as a Talisman — Appearance of the 
Gem — Offers of Purchase in Gold and War-ships 

ORNEO is no longer a terra incognita. 
The Dutch at one point and Rajah 
Brook at another have already dissi- 
pated for us some of the legendary 
terrors that have induced travellers and traders to 
give the coasts of Brunei and Sabah a wide berth. 
Recently two important works on Borneo have been 
published, the first by Carl Bock, who has explored 
most of the Dutch territor)', the second b}^ Joseph 
Hatton, who, in possession of the private letters and 
explorers' reports of the British North Borneo has 
given us some interesting revelations about Sabah, 
and the mysterious regions of Kina Balu. These 
current volumes, written upon authoritative data 
maintain to some extent the traditional character of 
Borneo as "a treasure house of gems," though it is plain 
that the mineral wealth of the country has been over- 
rated. The habit of one writer copying from another 
previously referred to. has been peculiarly in vogue as 


touchincT the history of Borneo, the truth being- that 
until within the past year no white man has ever 
crossed the island from shore to shore. Even now 
this work of exploration has not been carried out at 
the widest point. The company which, chartered by 
the Queen, revives memories of the association which 
gave us our Eastern Empire, is now exploring the 
most interesting part of Borneo, the mountainous 
regions of the north. Expectations of mineral dis- 
coveries are justified, and whether they are realised or 
not all who are interested in the history of the world's 
famous gems will watch with curiosity the new 
developments promised in the land which is known 
to have produced many splendid stones, but which is 
more particularly associated with the history of the 
Matan diamond.* 

Since the reduction of the Great Mogul 
by Borgio, the Matan (commonly, but incorrectly, 
written Mattaifi), takes rank as " the largest 

* "When Mr. Hunt was in Borneo, there were gold mines in the 
vicinity of Sambas and also at Matan. Mention of this latter dis- 
trict recalls the subject of • the largest known diamond in the world,' 
the reality ot which is doubted by several writers and travellers. 
Mr. Edwin W. Streeter, in his recent work, on ' Precious Stones and 
Gems, ' however, considers the history of this diamond to be sufficiently 
established for record as a genuine stone. Models of it exist, and many 
travellers have seen it. Recently a traveller shipped to England a stone 
which was to eclipse in splendour some of the most notable of known 
diamonds. It was pronounced by several amateur mineralogists to be a 
srenuine diamond. The tinder entered into a bargain with a certain traveller 
for its sale. Having insured it for ^4,000, they committed it to the care 
of the Peninsular and Orienal Company, who delivered it safely to a 
trusted friend in London. Submitted to an expert, the verdict was, 'A 
pebble of no value." The doubt which rests upon the Rajih stone lies 
chiefiy in the fact that the owner will not have it cut ; and there is much 
reason to fear tiiat it must be relegated to companionship with ' the 
Braganza ' of the Portuguese State jewels ^yhich rtmains in the rough, a 
reputed diamond of i,68q carats, the value of which, if genuine, might be 
set down at over j^58, 000,000 sterling." — " 77/c A^ew Cevlon^" by Joseph 

THE MATAN. 5 1 ' 

genuine diamond of which there is any record." We 
are not in a position to express a definite opinion 
upon the genuineness of the stone. There are travel- 
lers who are as emphatic in their belief as to its reality, 
as others are in denouncing it. The question is who 
among them have seen the original stone, and who only 
a model of it ; for it is alleged that the Sultan only 
exhibits the latter under very special circumstances. 
It was found apparently in the }'ear 1787 in the 
Landak mines near the west coast of Borneo. The 
town of Landak, the centre of this rich mining district, 
which is said to abound in gold, diamonds, and iron, 
lies to the north-east of Pontianak, a little north of 
the equator, and in 109'' 53' E. long. The district is 
comprised within the territory of the Rajah of Matan, 
which stretches along the west coast, between Pon- 
tianak and Sarawak, and which has long been subject 
to the Dutch. The diamond takes its name from the 
Rajah of the territory, in whose family it has remained 
ever since its discovery. 

Very little being known regarding these Borneo 
diamantiferous regions, the subjoined particulars may 
be found interesting. Those of Landak are amongst 
the oldest and most productive in the world, and have 
been worked, though not very systematically, ever since 
the establishment of ALala\' settlements on the coast. 
Here diamonds are found not onh- in the river beds 
when dry, but also in their original sites at the foot of 
the mountains. The diggings are usuallv carried to a 
depth of from ten to thirty feet, and constant experi- 
ence has shown that the deeper they are dug the 
gems are both more plentiful, and of larger size and 


finer quality. At Landak there are ten parits or mines, 
each employing from twenty to thirty labourers. So 
far back as 1738, the Dutch annually exported from 
this district diamonds to the value of from 200,000 to 
300,000 dollars, and Sir Stamford Raffles tells us that 
" few courts of Europe could boast of a more brilliant 
display of diamonds than, in the prosperous times of 
the Dutch, was exhibited by the ladies of Batavia, the 
principal and only mart yet opened for the Bornean 
diamond mines, and whence those known in the 
European world have been procured. With the de- 
cline of the Dutch Government, however, the demand 
has decreased, and the mines are now much neglected, 
the numerous diamond-cutters not being able to obtain 
a livelihood. Formerly, when more Chinese were em- 
ployed in the mines of Landak, diamonds from 10 to 
13 carats were common in the public markets. The 
Pangeran (Rajah) of Landak now wears one of 18, 
and another of 14J carats."* 

The mines in this part of the island have been 
worked for over a century chiefly by the Chinese. 
But in 1842 the "Celestials" were set upon, and 
either massacred or driven out of the country by 
the Dyaks, as the aborigines are called. The cause 
of this outbreak was the intolerable tyranny of 
the Chinese, who appear to have treated the 
Dyak labourers employed by them with the most 
atrocious cruelty and oppression. It was one oi 
these Dyaks who found the large diamond under 
consideration, as fully related by Sir Stamford 
Raffles. " Among the larger diamonds which these 

» >' 

HUtory of Java,'' I., p. i66, md edition, London, 1830. 


mines have produced, it may not be uninterest- 
ing to mention that the great diamond now in the 
possession of the Sultan of Matan, which has been 
seen and examined by Europeans, weighs 367 carats ; 
it is of the shape of an egg, indented on one side. It 
is, however, uncut ; and on this account it may be 
difficult to say whether it will become the largest cut 
diamond ever known ; for the famous diamond of 
Aurung-zeb, called the Mogul, in its rough state, 
weighed 795 carats, and was then valued at ^^ 600,000 ; 
but when cut was reduced to 279 carats. This cele- 
brated diamond, known by the name of the ' Matan ' 
diamond, was discovered by a Dyak, and claimed as 
a droit of royalty by the Sultan of the country, Gurn- 
Laya, but was handed over to the Pangeran of 
Landak, whose brother, having got possession of it, 
gave it as a bribe to the Sultan of Sukadana, in order 
that he might be placed on tiie throne of Landak. 
The lawful prince, however, having fled to Bantam, 
by the aid of the prince of that country and the 
Dutch, succeeded in regaining possession of his dis- 
trict, and nearly destroyed Sukadana. It has re- 
mained as an heir-loom in the family for four 
descents, and is almost the only appendage of 
royalty now remaining." 

Although it has brought little but trouble to its 
owners, this gem is looked upon by them as a sprt of 
tutelar deity, and held in the very highest esteem on 
account of the astonishing healing virtues with which 
the popular imagination has endowed it. That such 
superstitious ideas should still be prevalent amongst 
the semi-civilized races of the East, need not surprise 


US, when we remember that the great luminary of the 
Church, St. Jerome, author of the Latin Vulgate, 
attributed all kinds of wonderful virtues to the 
sapphire, solemnly declaring that it secured to its 
owner the favour of princes, disarmed his enemies, 
baffled the wizard's arts, liberated captives, and even 
appeased the wrath of the Deity himself. The 
Malays of Landak are firmly persuaded that the 
water in which the Matan has been dipped is a 
specific for all disorders ; and, no doubt, this very 
belief has occasionally produced good results, 
especially in cases of nervous complaints. Similar 
effects are constantly witnessed amongst the devout 
pilgrims to the various shrines and holy wells, such 
as those of Loretto, La Salette, Lough Derg, and 
others in Roman Catholic countries. 

Hugh Low tells us that the Matan " is as yet 
uncut, and weighs 376 carats, so that if cut and 
polished, it would be reduced to 183^ carats. Its 
value is estimated by Mr. Craw^furd to be ^^269,378, 
being less by X'34,822 than that of the Russian 
diamond, and ^119,730 more than that of the Pitt 

diamond I have been informed by a 

person who supposed himself to be a good judge of 
diamonds that the Sultan possesses the real stone, 
which he had seen ; but that a crystal is shown to 
strangers, as the Sultan, who has been already robbed 
of his territory, fears that this last emblem of royalty 
will be also taken from him by his powerful and 
avaricious neighbours at Fontianak."* Mawe also 

* "Sarawak," London, i 848, p. Z'j-%. 


mentions that a friend of his, " Captain of an 
Indiaman, was permitted to see it, but was requested 
not to touch it. This gem was brought in on a gold 
salver, and was about the size of a common walnut ; 
it had a bluish mctaliic lustre." It is remarkable 
that the author of a paper on " Precious Stones " in 
the Edinburgh Review for July, 1866, describes the 
Hope as also " of a decided, but rather slee/-\ike blue." 
So highly prized is " the Matan Diamond " that 
its owner has ahvays refused to part with it, declining 
the most tempting offers of the Dutch Government, 
which has shown a great desire to get possession of 
a talisman associated in the eastern mind with empire, 
and with the fortunes of the dynasty guarding it. 
Early in the century, the governor of Batavia sent 
Mr. Stewart to the Rajah to negotiate its purchase. 
He offered 150,000 dollars, two large war brigs, with 
their full completement of guns and ammunition, 
besides a considerable quantity of other warlike 
material, but the tempting bait was rejected. 



History, Past and Present — Suggestive Contrasts — What a 
Jewel might have Seen — Supposed Value of the Nizam 
Diamond — Its Sliape and Appearance — The Stone is 
r>roken during the Indian Mutiny — Strange Powers 
Supposed to Belong to the Gem — Possibilities in the 
History of the Nizam. 

HERE are few great secrets kept from 
the ken of the modern historian, who 
writes down the events of the time for 
the newspaper Press. A precious stone 
of more than usual importance sees the light to-day, 
and to-morrow its advent is proclaimed to all the 
world. Thereafter due chronicles are kept of its 
travels and adventures. Its comings and goings are 
noted as matter of universal interest. We may not 
be informed of the varied intrigues in which it is a 
factor, but it is on record, it is catalogued in the 
world's museum of treasures ; the " bull's-eye of the 
Press" has been turned upon it; the opinions of 
Queens and Emperors in regard to it are registered, 
as well as the judgment of experts and scientists ; 
in short it belongs to history. 

In singularcontrast to all this are thehazy accounts 
which have come down to us concerning the first ap- 
pearance, and the subsequent vicissitudes of the great 


gems of old. Created amidst commotions of nature, 
of an intensity beyond imagination, they have in 
historic ages often burst upon the knowledge of Euro- 
peans in the lesser commotions of human life. War 
and famine, civil strife, and pestilence have alike con- 
tributed to rescue from comparative oblivion some 
precious stone. It has been eloquently remarked, 
" A jewel may rest on an English lady's arm that saw 
Alaric sack Rome, and beheld before — what not ? The 
treasures of the palaces of the Pharaohs and of Darius, 
or the camp of the Ptolomies, come into Europe on 
the neck of a vulgar pro-consul's wife, to glitter at 
every gladiator's butchery in the amphitheatre ; then 
pass in a Gothic ox waggon to an Arab seraglio at 
Seville ; and so back to its native India, to figure in 
the peacock throne of the Great Mogul ; to be bought 
by an Armenian for a few rupees from an English 
soldier ; and so at last come hither." The romancist 
or the poet may seek in vain for the inspiration of 
more startling events than the possible adventures 
and the known incidents that belong to the history 
of precious stones and gems. 

What might not an inventive fancy build upon 
the vague traditions which hang about the story of 
the Nizam diamond ? Although one of the very 
largest stones in the world, little or nothing reliable 
is known about it, except as to its size, estimated 
value, and its fortunate owner. 

Barbot says that, " the King of Golconda pos- 
sesses a magnificent stone in the rough state. It is 
known by the name of the Nizam, weighs 340 carats, 
and is valued at 5,000,000 francs " (;^200,ooo). For 



" the King of Golconda," a title which has long been 
obsolete, though still flourishing in French literature, 
we should here read, " the Nizam of Hyderabad." 
This prince, who is the most powerful semi-indepen- 
dant ruler in the Deccan, is a lineal descendant of the 
former Mogul Viceroy of Golconda, and in his terri- 
tory are situated the famous diamond-fields popularly 
known as the Golconda mines. Of these mines, the 
Kollur, on the river Kistna, was the most productive, 
and was especially noted for the unusually large 
crystals yielded by it. Here was undoubtedly found 
the Great Mogul, and here also, in all probability, 
was discovered that stone now known as the Nizam, 
from the official title of its princely owner. 

Little importance can be attached to the state- 
ment that this remarkable crystal is valued at 
^200,000 ; for it is still in the rough state. The 
necessary process of reduction is well-known to be 
always attended with more or less risk, so that the 
most skilled expert would scarcely hazard his repu- 
tation by venturing an opinion on the intrinsic cha- 
racter of a rough diamond before it has been mani- 
pulated by the cutter and polisher. In the hands of 
the cutter many unsuspected blemishes are often 
revealed, which require the diamond to be greatly 
reduced in size, or even cleaved into several pieces. 
But the Nizam has a good reputation, and it is pro- 
bable thar it might be advantageously cut without 
sacrificing more than one half of its present weight, 
viz., 340 carats. In that case it would still rank with 
the very largest gems on record. 

King describes it as, " somewhat almond-shaped, 


almost in its native condition, although it seems to 
exhibit some traces of an attempt to shape it into the 
mystic Yoni, probably with the intention of it being 
placed, as her usual attribute, in the land of Parvati, 
the goddess of generation. In the cast from it, which 
I have examined, the ineffectual attempts of the 
Hindu lapidary to work the obdurate material to his 
fancy are extremely curious." Then he adds, " This 
stone was by some very ominous accident broken 
asunder in the year of the great Indian revolt. 
Weight 340 carats." But he does not say whether this 
weight refers to its size before or after its breakage. 

Dieulafait gives its estimated value at ^200,000, 
and it has been stated that its original weight, before 
being fractured, was no less than 440 carats. If so it 
was the largest genuine diamond ever discovered 
except the Great Mogul, and it is remarkable that 
both of these enormous specimens came apparently 
from the same rich diamantiferous district of Kollur 
in the Kistna Valley. It is quite possible that the 
breaking of the stone, accidental or otherwise, re- 
garded as an omen of trouble, may have had its 
influence on historical events ; for not only un- 
civilized and Oriental potentates, but Christian kings 
and learned men have given to precious stones 
wonderful powers. In mcdiaival days carbuncles 
were credited with an influence on poisons ; jasper 
was believed to cure fevers ; agate ministered to 
defective eye-sight ; and carnelian stopped haemor- 
rhage. Juvenal records of a ring, belonging to Cicero 
that it endowed him with eloquence ; and Edward 
the Confessor had a ring which was believed to cure 


epilepsy. It seems, however, to be the especial 
privilege of the diamond in affairs of love to have an 
influence only second to that of the fabled Cupid him- 
self What part the Nizam may have played in the 
intrigues and passions of Courts and peoples the 
present historian knoweth not ; and as it is his pur- 
pose to adhere as far as possible to mere facts, with- 
out, however, setting aside tradition, he must leave to 
the imagination of the reader the possibilities of 
adventure which are suggested by the blanks that 
are left, wide and deep, in the history of the Nizam. 



The two Largest Diamonds of South Africa— Finding 
the Stewart — An Accidental Discovery — "Joy is 
Dangerous "—The Anxiety of Possession— Taking the 
Treasure Home. 

NTIL quite recently the fame of South 
Africa as a diamond-field was repre- 
sented by the Stewart, which has 
liowever, now a competitor in "the 
Porter-Rhode?," which was exhibited last year in 
Bond Street. Prior to this recent reward of mining 
enterprise at the Cape, the Stewart was not only the 
largest diamond hitherto found in South Africa, but 
was exceeded in size in the whole world by three others 
only — the Matan, Nizam, and Great Mogul. The 
subjoined account of its discovery appeared in the Port 
Elizabeth Telegraph of November 22, 1872: — "The 
claim from which this gem was taken was originally 
owned by a Mr. F. Pepper, by him sold to a Mr.Spalding 
for £10, and handed over by the latter to one Antoine, 
to work on shares. The claim was quite an outside 
one, and not thought much of by the owner ; but as 
others were finding near him, he thought it was just 
possible he might also find a gem. He persevered 
until first, the ' July Diamond,' and next, after further 
toil, this prize rewarded his labour. Antoine's feel- 
ings when he first obtained a glimpse of the treasure 


may be better imagined than described. He says 
that he was working in the claim, when he told 
his boy to leave off picking in the centre, and com- 
mence at the side. Not being understood, he took a 
pick and began himself, when he was suddenly spell- 
bound by the sight of a large stone, with the primary 
aspect of a diamond. For some minutes he could 
neither speak nor move for fear of dispelling the ap- 
parent illusion, but collecting his energies, he made a 
dart forward and clutched the prize. Even then, how- 
ever, he did not feel quite safe, and it required a grand 
effort to reach Mr. Spalding's cart, which had to be 
called into requisition. For two whole days he was 
unable to eat anything from the intensity of his 

The Stewart, like the majority of African stones, 
is of a light yellow tinge, and perfectly crystallised. 
It was consigned to Messrs. Pittar, Leverson & Co., 
who found that it weighed in the rough 288| carats, 
or nearly two ounces troy. 


A Stormy Birth and a Tragic End — Two Centuries of 
History — Intrigue and Murder — The Afflictions of 
Shah jehan — An Honest Cutter — The Great Mogul 
and the Koh-i-Nur — Eastern Magnificence — A King 
showing his Jewels to a Visitor — Shape of the Great 
Mogul and its General Appearance — Its Identity 
Established — A Usurper's Subterfuge — Shah Jehan's 
Desire to Destroy all his Gems — The Peacock Throne 
— Mysterious Disappearance of the Gem at the Fall of 

jROUGHT to light in the midst of 
tumults and wars, the Great Mogul 
Diamond went out with the expiring 
flames of a mighty rebellion. Its exist- 
ence covers a remarkable and eventful period of the 
world's history. At the time of its discovery, Round- 
heads and Royalists were fighting for supremacy in 
England ; and after many tragic incidents of pesti- 
lence and battle, the Deccan had just got its first 
independent sovereign. Ben Johnson and Phillip 
Massenger were writing plays, and their country- 
men, who carried the commercial flag of the land into 
strange seas, had just obtained authority to trade with 
the Portuguese ports in India. The Great Powers were 
busy with their first important explorations ; and the 
East India Company had newly received the charter 
of Queen Elizabeth. A meteor among gems, the 
Great Mogul challenged the wonder and admiration 


of the world from this period for two hundred 
years, to go to pieces in the last days of the Indian 
Mutiny. There is a little uncertainty as to the date 
when the Gani Mine gave up its precious freight ; but 
only in the matter of a few years, and we are inclined 
to fix it somewhere between 1630 and 1650, It is im- 
possible to ticket and number a gem such as the Great 
Mogul as if it were a piece of antiquity, the relic of 
an ancient palace, the capital of a column, the statue 
of some classic sculptor. The births of the famous 
diamonds which scintillate the dark traditions of 
Eastern Courts are all, as we have said before, more 
or less shrouded in mystery ; but few gems have had 
a more striking career or a more dramatic dc'iiouement 
than the Great Mogul. 

It was at a strange and sanguinary period when 
the first li^uropean saw this remarkable stone, under 
circumstances which we shall presently quote in the 
narrator's own words. The year was, November, 
1665, a few years before the decease of " the Grand 
Monarque,"' Shah Jehan. The scene was the Palace 
of Agra, formerly the Metropolis of the Empire, but 
then the prison of the dethroned and stricken Great 
Mogul. For seven years he had been kept in close 
durance ; Murad, his youngest son, had just been 
murdered by the usurper, Aurung-zcb, his brother, 
who had stimulated the lad's ambition, in order to 
accomplish his own designs on the life of both father 
and son ; Dara, the eldest son of the captive Monarch, 
a man of great parts, brave, handsome, and gifted, 
had been betrayed by his brother's contrivance. 
Hurried ignominiously to Delhi, he was led as a 


captive through that city, cast into prison, and 
treacherously murdered. His son SoHman had 
suffered a similar fate. Sujah, the Monarch's second 
son, whose intellectual and bodily gifts were certainly 
not inferior to Dara's (and whose beautiful daughter 
had been passionately wooed by Mohammed, Aurung- 
zeb's son and heir, but had been rejected by her 
father), had but recently been murdered ; and the 
bridegroom's father, after contriving to alienate for a 
time the confidence of the bride in her husband by a 
groundless invention, actually contrived to kill his own 
son, and onl}' stopped his murderous course when the 
bride's untimelydeath rendered herassassination need- 
less. It is hard to believe that Shah Jehan, whose one 
redeeming quality was his love for the children of his 
wife, whom he had named the " Light of the World," 
and who had been kept informed of the calamities 
which had befallen his house, should, under the de- 
pression oi these afflictions have shown a French 
jeweller his treasures. "These are my jewels," said 
the classic mother pointing to her children in response 
to the Princess's exhibition of her gems ; and we 
would like to credit "the Grand Monarque " with 
equal feelings of affection. But Tavernier, as will be 
seen, is explicit in his statement, and though it may 
be that he had some purpose to serve in his elabora- 
tion of the scene, there is no reason whatever to doubt 
his description of the famous stone. 

Without further preface, let us now discuss the 
data upon which rests the "strange eventful history" 
of the Great Mogul. Excluding tlic doubtful Braganza, 
this splendid stone was unquestionably the largest 


diamond of which there is any distinct record. It 
takes its name from its owner, Shah Jehan, fifth in 
succession from Baber, founder of the so-called 
"Mogul" dynasty in Hindustan. As to its early 
history, there was never any serious doubt until the 
Koh-i-Nur was brought to Europe in 1850. Since 
that time its very identity has been called in question, 
and, while some authorities continue to regard the 
two famous stones as distinct, others now hold that 
they are really one under two different names. There 
is, however, no real foundation for doubting the in- 
dividual existence of the two. Evidence to the con- 
trary is as weak as the facts on the other side are 
strong. The histories of the stones differ in this 
remarkable respect, that the story of the Koh-i-Nur 
may be said to have no beginning, while that of the 
Great Mogul seems, on the other hand, to have no 
end. The available data, if duly considered, must 
satisfy all candid inquirers that they are undoubtedly 
two distinct gems, having little in common beyond 
their unusual size, and their simultaneous presence 
for nearly a hundred years in the Khazana or treasure- 
house of the Mogul emperors. 

At p. 251 of his translation of Frangois Bernier's 
Travels in the Mogul Empire, Irving Brock observes 
that " the largest diamond probably ever heard of is 
one mentioned by Tavernier, who saw it in the posses- 
sion of Aurung-zeb. It was about as big as a hen's 
^%%, and weighed 900 carats in the rough. This was 
perhaps the ' unparalleled ' diamond which Bernier 
informs us Emir Jemla presented to Shah Jehan." 

The Emir Jemla, here referred to, is the 


Mirgimolaof Tavernier, a well-known Persian adven- 
turer, who rose to great power in the Court of the Rajah 
of Golconda, and whose history is inseparably asso- 
ciated with that of the " Great Mogul."* This stone had 
been found apparently about the year 1650 in the 
Kollur mine on the Kistna. Soon afterwards it fell 
into the possession of Jemla, who dealt largely in 
precious stones, and acquired vast wealth, "by means 
of his extensive commerce with various parts of the 
world, as well as by the diamond mines, which he 
farmed under feigned names. These mines were 
worked with indefatigable industry, and he was accus- 
tomed to count his diamonds by the sack." When 
Aurung-zeb began about the year 1655 to intrigue 
both against his father, Shah Jehan, and his three 
brothers, Dara, Murad, and Sultan Sujah, he was 
joined by Emir Jemla, who had become suspected by 
the King of Golconda, and who consequently sought 
the first opportunity to withdraw from his power. 
After dwelling on the important results that flowed 

• Dow tells us that Jemla was born in Ardistan, a small place near 
Ispahan. Though of good family, his parents were very poor, and after 
actjuiring a slight knowledge of letters, he was glad to accept employment 
from a diamond merchant, who had frequent relations with Golconda, the 
great emporium of the diamond trade in the 17th century. He thus found 
his way to the Deccan, where he took to trading on his own account. The 
wealth thus acquired gave him access to the Court of Kuttiib. King of 
Teliingana, and of the greater part of the Golconda territory. Here he 
displayed such talent and ability in the administration of affairs that he was 
ultimately appointed Vizier, and Commander-in-Chief of the forces of 
Teliingana. It was in this capacity that he awakened to suspicion of his 
sovereign, or, as would appear from Tavernier's account to be more pro- 
bable, the jealousy of tiie other courtiers, and was thus induced to transfer 
his fortunes to the rising star of the House of Timur. In Aurung-zeb's 
service he showed so much loyalty, often under very trying circumstances, 
that there is reason to believe tiiat the charge of treason and duplicity 
brought against him at the Court of Golconda was altogether unfounded, 


from the alliance of Aurung-zeb and Jemla, Bernier 
tells us in the passage above referred to by Brock 
that, "Jemla, who had by his address, contrived to 
obtain frequent invitations to the Court of Shah 
Jehan, -repaired at length to Agra, and carried the 
most magnificent presents, in the hope of inducing 
the Mogul to declare war against the Kings of Gol- 
conda and Viziapur, and against the Portuguese. On 
this occasion it was that he presented Shah Jehan 
with that celebrated diamond which has been gene- 
rally deemed unparalleled in size and beauty." The 
diamond in question, to which this passage contains 
the earliest known allusion, all are agreed in identify- 
ing with the " Great Mogul," and it is impossible that 
it could have been the Koh-i-NCir ; for that gem, as 
will be seen further on, had already been in the posses- 
sion of the Mogul emperors ever since the time of 
Baber himself. 

The next and last distinct reference to the Great 
Mogul is by Tavernier, who saw it at the Court of 
Aurung-zeb in 1665, apparently about ten years after 
it had passed out of the hands of Emir Jemla, and 
just one year before the death of Shah Jehan, at that 
time a prisoner in the fortress of Agra. , In his Six 
Voyages* Tavernier refers in three places to this gem, 
and as his statements are often incorrectly repeated 
by writers who have not taken the trouble to consult 
the original work, it will not be amiss here to quote 

* '' Lcs Six Voyages df Jean-Baptiste Tavei nier (ju'ii a fails en 
Ttirqme, en Perse, et aux Indes, pendant I'espace de qnarante ans, &'c., 
Paris, 1676 and 1682. 


the passages //; cxtenso. At p. 226, Vol. II., he thus 
describes the occasion on which he saw and examined 
the stone : — 

"On November ist, 1665, I was at the palace to 
take leave of the King. But he sent word to say that 
he did not wish me to leave without seeing his jewels, 
since I had seen the splendour of his fete. Early 
next day there came five or six officers from the 
Nabob Jafer Khan to summon me to the King's pre- 
sence. On my arrival at the Court the two keepers 
of the royal jewels, of whom I have elsewhere spoken, 
accompanied me to his Majesty, and after the custo- 
mary salutations they brought me to a small room at 
one end of the hall where the King was seated on his 
throne, and whence he could see us. In this room I 
found Akel Khan, chief keeper of the State jewels, who 
on seeing us ordered four of the King's eunuchs to 
fetch the jewels which were brought on two large 
trays, lacquered with gold leaf, and covered with 
small cloths, made on purpose, one of red velvet, the 
other of embroidered green velvet. After uncovering 
and counting over the pieces three several times, an 
inventory of the same was drawn up by three scribes 
present on the occasion. For the Indians do every- 
thing with great care and composure, and when they 
see anyone acting in a hurry or irritated they stare at 
him in silence and laugh at him for a fool. 

" The first piece that Akcl Khan placed in my 
hands was the great diamond, which is rose cut, round 
and very high on one side. On the lower edge there is 
a slight crack, and a little flaw in it. Its water is fine, 
and weighs 319^ ratis, which make 280 of our carats, 


the rati being J of a carat. When Mirgimola, who 
betrayed his master, the King of Golconda, presented 
this stone to Shah Jehan, to whom he withdrew, it was 
in the rough state {brut), and at that time weighed 
900 ratis, which make 787^ carats, and there were 
several flaws in it. Had this stone been in Europe it 
would have been treated differently ; for some fine 
pieces would have been taken from it, and it would 
have remained heavier [than it now is], instead of 
which it has been quiteground down. It was Hortensio 
Borgis* who cut it, for which he was also badly 
paid. When it was cut he was reproached for having 
spoilt the stone which might have remained heavier, 
and, instead of rewarding him for his work, the King 
fined him 10,000 rupees, and would have taken more 
if he had possessed more. If Hortensio knew his 
business well, he would have taken from this large 
stone some fine pieces without wronging the King, 
aud without having so much trouble to grind it down. 
But he was not a very skilful diamond cutter." 

The second passage occurs at p. 277, wr.ere he is 
describing the diamond mine, "called Gani in the 
language of the country, and Coiilour'va Persian, f and 
where he tells us that the Great Mogul was found : — 

" A number of stones are now found here from 
10 to 40 carats, and even occasionally of much larger 
size. But amongst others, the great diamond which 
weighed 900 carats before being cut, and which 

* Borgis is obviously a misprint for Borgio, a common Italian name ; 
but King (p. 81) and others write Borgliis, an impossible form. Hence 
tlie three current varieties, Borgis, Borghis, and Borgio, all referring to the 
same person. 

f On this point see Introduction, p. 34. 


Mirgimola presented to Aurung-zeb, as I have else- 
where said, had been taken from this mine." 

Lastly, the third passage occurs in his account 
at p. 305 of all the large gems he had anywhere seen. 
At the head of the list he places the diamond under 
consideration as " the heaviest of which I have had 
any knowledge. This diamond belongs to the Great 
Mogul, who did me the honour of showing it to me 
with all his other jewels. The form is shown in 
which it remained after being cut, and having been 
permitted to weigh it, I found that it weighs 
319I ratis, which make 279^% of our carats. In the 
rough state it weighed, as I elsewhere said, 907 ratis, 
which make 793f carats. This stone presents the 
form of an egg cut in half."* 

The last passage in this paragraph explains the 
statement made by Brock, and frequently repeated 
by others, that this stone " was about as big as a hen's 
Ggg." But Tavernier does not compare its size to that 
of a hen's egg, but only says that in form it resembled 

* Tavernier also refers incidentally to the same stone at p. zyo ot 
Vol. II., where he remarks that, '"le diamant du Grand Mogul pese 
279;-^ carat-:, est parfait. de bonne eau, de bonne forme, et n'a qu'une 
petite glace qui est dans I'arrest du trenchant d'eii bas du tour de la pierre. 
Sans cette petite glice il faudroit mettre le premier carat a 160 livres, mais 
a cause de cela je ne le mets qu a 150. Et sur ce pied la et selon la regie 
cy-dessus ii revient a la somme de 11,713,278 livres 14 sols et 3 liards. 
C'est a dire a onze millions sept cent vingt-trois mille deux cent soixante 
liards. Si ce diamant ne pesoit que 279 carats, il ne vaudroit que 
11,676,150 livres, et ainsi ces iL reviennent a 47,128 livres 14 sols 3 liards." 
These minute calculations show how carefully Tavernier examined this 
stone. Yet there are writers wlio suggest that the greatest expert of the 
17th century was mistaken in his estimate of its size, because that estimate 
does not harmonise with their preconceived notions of what that size ought 
to be in order to fit in with their theories. To us it seems safe to reject 
the theories, and accept the facts, based as they are on such unimpeachable 


an egg, cut in half."* This is fully borne out by the 
illustration which accompanies his description of 
the stone in the first edition of his work, Vol. II, 

P- 334. 

But there are a few discrepancies in Tavernier's 

own account, which, however, admit of easy explana- 
tion. The Am'img-zeb of the second passage is 
obviously a slip for ShaJi Jchan, for we know from 
Bernier that it was to the latter prince, and not to 
his son, that Emir Jemla presented the stone, as is in 
fact stated by Tavernier himself in the first passage. 
The 900 carats of the same passage is also evidently 
an error for the 900 ratis of No. i. But the 
907 ratis = 793^ carats, of No. 3 is not so readily 
reconciled with the 900 ratis = 787 1 carats, of No. I. 
But as these figures refer to the stone in the rough, 
they are really of little consequence, and the dis- 
crepancy is easily accounted for when we remember 
that Tavernier saw the stone only after its reduction 
by Borgio. Hence he knew nothing of it in the 
rough state, except on hearsay, and he may at 
different times have heard two different statements 
regarding its original size. 

In any case all these measurements differ enor- 
mously from that of Baber's gem, which everybody 
identifies with the Koh-i-Nur, and which Baber him- 
self tells us weighed only " eight mishkels," or about 
186 or 187 carats. Yet Kluge, with others, argues 
for the identity of both stones, on the ground that 
they were represented as about the same size, and 

* His words are : " Cette pierre est de la mesme forme comme si 
Ton avait coupe un oeuf par !e milieu," 


that consequently it was highly improbable that there 
were two diamonds in the Delhi treasury, each of 
which weighed about 186 carats. But in order to 
create this difficulty, Kluge represents Tavernier as 
reducing his 319I ratis to 186 carats, whereas in 
point of fact he reduces them to 2/()jq, or in round 
numbers to 280 carats. And lest there should be any 
doubt at all about it, he writes the numbers out in 
full, thus : " II pese trois cent dix-neuf ratis et demi, 
qui font deux cent quatre-vingts de nos carats." 
Why, then, except to fabricate an argument, does 
Kluge write : " He (Tavernier) describes it as a 
rosette, in the form of an egg cut in half, and weigh- 
ing 319^ ratis = 186 carats."* It is not that Tavernier 
employs one and Kluge another kind of rati ; but in 
order to get at the recjuired 186 carats of the 
Koh-i-Nur, Kluge suppresses Tavernier's rati (§ to 
the carat), together with their equivalent of 280 
carats, and substitutes his own figures, without in- 
forming the reader of the liberty he is taking with 
the text of the original. And thus vanishes the 
manipulated difficulty based on the assumed simul- 
taneous presence of two such diamonds of the same 
unusual size amongst the Great Mogul's crown 
jewels. The history of these historical gems is in any 
case often involved in so much obscurity that the 
gratuitous invention of needless difficulties might well 
be dispensed with. 

It is also asserted by Maskelyne that Tavernier's 

* ' Er beschreil)t ihn als rosette von der form eines halb durchjrt.- 
schnittenen eies und einem Gewichte von 319^ ratii-=i 86 karat." — Op. 
Cit., p 241. 



description of the Great Mogul does not correspond 
with its accompanying illustration, which would seem 
to answer tolerably well to the form of the Koh-i-Nur 
before it was re-cut in London. But there must surely 
be some strange mistake here. The fact that the 
proper illustrations do not accompany the text in 
subsequent editions of Tavernier's work may no doubt 
have caused some mystification. But there can be 
no possible mistake about the figure of the Great 
Mogul as given in the first edition of 1776, 
which answers exactly to the words, " rose-cut, 
round, and very high on one side." If this descrip- 
tion be compared with the models both of the 
Koh-i-Nur and of the Great Mogul itself in our 
possession, all doubts will be at once removed as to 
the essentially different character of the two crystals 
The above quoted passages from Bernier and 
Tavernier really embody all the authentic in- 
formation extant regarding the Great Mogul. Such 
as it is, it amply sufficies to show that this 
stone is not the Koh-i-Nur. The two differ abso- 
lutely in their origin, history, size, and form. Thus, 
while the Great Mogul is traced directly to the 
Coulour mine, the Koh-i-Nur has a legendary history 
dating back to the remotest times. The former, when 
found, weighed at least 787 carats, which was reduced 
by cutting to 280 carats, whereas the latter when it 
passed into the hands of Baber was only about 187 
carats.* One was round-shaped, rose-cut, of the 

* To get over this dilliculty Maskelyne suggests that Tavernier may 
have confounded the pearl rati with the jewellers' rati, thereby nearly 
doubling the value of the 319^ ratis, which was the weight of the stone 


purest water, with but one little crack and flaw ; the 
other was an irrcg^ular ellipse, very flat, dull and full 
of flaws." t 

Shah Jehan virtually ceased to reign from about 
1657 till his death in 1666. But Aurung-zeb allowed 
him to retain possession of the greater part of his 
jewellery throughout his imprisonment in Agra. 
Tavernier tells us that a few days before his coro- 
nation the usurper begged his father to lend him 
some of these treasures for the occasion. At this 
request, which he took for an insult, and which, under 
the circumstances, was certainly somewhat cool, Shah 
Jehan fell into a paroxysm of rage which nearly 
brought him to his end. " In the excess of his anger 
he asked several times for a mortar and pestle, saying 
that he wanted to pound all his gems and pearls, so 
that Aurung-zeb might never have any of them. 
But his eldest daughter Begum Saheb, who never 
forsook him, throwing herself at his feet, prevented 
him from coming to this extremity and . . . ap- 
peased Shah Jehan more in order to preserve the 

examined and by him, making it weigh 280 instead of 186 carats, which 
was the weight of the Koh-i-Niir before its reduction in London. But 
it is inconceivable that such an error could have been committed by 
'J'avernier, who was probably the most practised jeweller of the age, and 
who was constantly using the rati during the forty years which he spent in 
the East, as a dealer in precious stones. Besides his estimate of the 
jewellers' rati, which he makes equal to | of a carat, nearly corresponds 
with tiiat of Garcics ab Horto. wiio was extremely well informed on this 
point, and who makes the Indian rati equal to 3, and the Portuguese carat 
equal to 4, grains of wheat, 

f Another wild tlieoi-)* is that Borgio by cleavage obtained three 
stones from the one entrusted to him — the Mogul, the Koii-i-Nur, and a 
third whicii afterwards disappeared On thi-- it is sufficient lo remark 
that the Koh-i-Kur, though not then known iiy this name, came into the 
hands of the Mogul emperors in 1526, or over 130 years beiore Borgiu 
reached India. Owing possibly to its intense brilliancy, the diamond 
seems to have the effect of dazzling or obfuscating the intellect of most 
writers on the subject. 


jewels for herself than to please her brother."* It 
has accordingly been asked how the Great Mogul came 
into Aurung-zeb's hands before his father's death ; 
for we have seen that he exhibited it to Tavernier in 
November, 1665. But Tavernier nowhere says that 
Shah Jehan retained all his gems, and he even adds 
that although when mounting the throne Aurung-zeb 
had only one jewel in his diadem, had he wished 
to have others placed in it, there was no lack of 

them having asked his father for his 

gems only for the purpose of never returning them 
to him. Besides there was a good reason why the 
Great Mogul should have fallen into Aurung-zeb's 
hands at the time of his father's imprisonment. It 
was presented by Emirjemlato Shah Jehan certainly 
not earlier than 1655, or about two years before his 

 Bernier (p. 141) relates the circumstances somewhat differently: 
'' Aurung-zeb was equally unsuccessful in his demand to Shah Jehan for 
certain jewels, with which he was desirous of completing a piece of work- 
manship that he was adding to the celebrated throne, so universally 
admired. The captive monarch indignantly answered that Aurung-zeb 
should be careful only to govern the kingdom with more wisdom and 
equity. He commended him not to meddle with the throne, and declared 
that he would be no more plagued about these jewels, for that hammers 
were provided to beat them into powder the next time he should be im- 
portuned upon the subject." The " celebrated throne " here referred to 
was no doubt the famous "peacock throne" begun by Shah Jehan and 
added to by Aurung-zeb, and elsewhere (p. 306) described by Bernier as 
" supported by six massive feet said to be of solid gold, sprinkled over with 
rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. I cannot tell you with accuracy the 
number or value of this vast collection of precious stones, because no 
person may approach sufficiently near to them, to judge of their water and 
clearness But I can assure you that there is a profusion of diamonds, as 
well as other jewels, and that the throne, to the best of my recollection, 

is valued at four crores of rupees (j^4,ooo,ooo) The con- 

stiuction and workmanship of the throne are not correspondent with the 
materials ; but two peacocks, covered with jewels and pearls are well con- 
ceived and executed. The were made by a workman of astonishing 
powers, a Frenchman by birth, who, alter defrauding several of the 
princes of Europe by means of false gems, which he fabricated with 
pecuhar skill, sought refuge in the Great Mogul's Court, were he made his 


deposition, and during those two years it was pro- 
bably in the hands of Borgio, for by the old processes 
such a large diamond would take fully that time, if not 
longer, to cut. " Thus," continues King, from whom 
we are quoting, " almost immediately upon the great 
stone being put into Borgio's hands, its rightful 
owner had lost all control over it. In fact had he 
been able or permitted to superintend the operation, 
there can be no doubt his experience and taste in 
such matters would have brought about a widely 
different result." 

The subsequent history of the Great Mogul from 
the time it was seen by Tavernier in 1665, remains a 
blank. Henceforth no distinct reference anywhere 
occurs to it, and although we may presume that it 
continued in the possession of Aurung-zeb's suc- 
cessors down to the sack of Delhi by Nadir Shah, 
we have no knowledge of what became of it on that 
memorable occasion. The authorities are almost 
unanimous* in assuming that the big stone carried 
off by the Persian invader, under circumstances to 
be described further on, was the Koh-i-Nur. But 
amongst the spoils may of course have also been the 
Great Mogul, though no distinct mention is made of 
the fact. Hence some have thought that it is now 
amongst the treasures of the Shah of Persia under 

* King (p. 79) says that " all the circumstances warrant tha 
belief that the Great Mogul was the grand diamond that Nadir Shah 
acquired by the ingenious device above related, just before the sack ol 
Delhi in 1739." But here he flatly contradicts himself, for at p. 72, where 
the " ingenious device" is described, he states that the diamond thus pro- 
cured by Nadir Shah was the Koh-i-Nur and not the Great Mogul : "The 
proud diamond^of the Mogul was in the cap of his vassal, and was saluted 
with the title of •• Koh-i-Nur," Mmmd of Ugh/, by his Suzerain." 


the name of " Darya-i-Nur," or " Sea of Light." But 
it will be seen further on that the Darya-i-Nur is cer- 
tainly a different stone. 

Others arguing from its form have suggested that 
it may be the Russian Orloff, an equally untenable 
theory, as will be made evident when we come to deal 
with that famous gem. 

Our own opinion is that the Great Mogul has 
ceased to exist as- such. It was probably stolen 
either at the sack of Delhi or at the death of Nadir 
Shah, and then in order to escape detection its pos- 
sessors had it broken by cleavage into two or more 
stones. Its form and especially its great size would 
facilitate this process, a fate which we know has over- 
taken more than one other large diamond."* In confir- 
mation of this view, the reader is more particularly 
referred to the statements of Dr. Beke, Mr. Tennant, 
and Sir David Brewster regarding the Abbas 
Mirza diamond. 

Barbot states that it was of a very pure water, 
though of a soft ros}- tint, and that it has been 
estimated at .i{J^420,ooo, while others have suspected 
that it was not a diamond at all, but a white sapphire 
or perhaps topaz. But Tavernier was far too good 
an expert to be mistaken in a matter of this sort, and 
the suggestion would probably never have been 
made but for its altogether exceptional size. 

See the account ot the Blue iliuniontl. 



Found by a Negress. — A stone of singular beauty.— Sold for 
;^3,ooo, ultimately to realise ;f8o,ooo. — A lovely tint. — 
The lion of two International Exhibitions, it is after- 
wards sent to India. — Purchased by the ruler of 
Haroda. — The Prince's other Treasures.— Diamond 
Dtist poisoning. — Nemesis. 

YING west of the mountains of San do 
Espinaco is a vast plain. Here the 
river Velhas has its source, and the 
New World's largest diamond its origin. 
It was picked up in July, 1853, by a negress at work 
in the mines of the province of Minas-Geraes, Brazil.* 
The diamond, when found, presented the general 
form of a rhombic dodecahedron with very obtuse 
angles, and twenty-four natural facets, besides certain 
faint streaks, pointing at a possible octahedric 
cleavage. In one of the facets there appeared a 
somewhat deep depression, in which was formerly 
inserted an octahedral crystal, which from other 

* This was the account current at Villa Rica ( Villa Rica — Rich Town), 
the centre "Station of this rr.inino^ province. Another report fixes the exact 
sjiot at Boj^agem, but after careful research we have failed to identity any 
such place in Brazil : what is meant is no doubt the river of that name, 
which rises in the \'iadeira mountains, and flows for forty leagues through 
the province of Goyaz, northwards to the Maranhao or Upper Tocantins. 


symptoms, was evidently a true diamond. On the 
lower surface were two other indentations of a 
similar character, but not so deep, one of which 
revealed traces of from three to four different crystals. 
On the same side was a flat space, where it had pro- 
bably been removed from the matrix by diluvial 
action. There were also perceptible a few black 
specks, due apparently to the presence of titanic iron 
or volcanic sand. All these circumstances showed 
plainly enough that it originally formed one of a 
group of adamantine crystals, fixed in the crevices 
of certain metamorphic rocks, characteristic of the 
Brazilian mountain systems. 

Such, at least, is the commonly accepted view. 
But it is unhesitatingly rejected by Barbot, who has 
made a special study of this gem, and whose opinion 
is certainly entitled to consideration. " We are 
certain," he writes, " that this large hollow was 
merely a solution of continuity in the crystalline 
layers, and that the other depressions of a slighter 
character are due to the same cause. The flat part, 
which seems and really is cleaved by an accidental 
cause, formed the point of contact with the matrix." 
The late M. Dufrenoy supposed that this diamond 
must have formed part of a group of diamantiferous 
crystals. In this he was mistaken, for diamonds are 
produced isolated, in the various parts of the matrix, 
rarely agglomerated or superimposed, nor grafted one 
on the other, like the p}-rites and crystals of spar and 

This stone wliich, according to the usual method 
of valuation, ought to be worth nearly i.44,000, was 


sold in the rough for ;i^3 5,000 (302 contos de Reis), 
and reduced by cutting from 254^ to 125 carats, at 
an expenditure of close upon ^500. In the process 
it assumed an elegant oval form, in which the light 
is well refracted. It is of unusual length, 35 milli- 
metres b}' 29 millimetres broad, and 19 in thickness. 
These measurements, as Barbot remarks, might seem 
to imply a magnitude superior even to that of the 
"Regent." Yet this gem is really 13 carats lighter, 
a fact explained by the perfect harmony of propor- 
tions exhibited by the "Regent," and which are 
missing in the " Star of the South." Nevertheless, 
it is a pure stone and has, on the whole, been 
handled with great judgment, although the best 
possible advantage has not perhaps, been taken 
of its natural forms. The cutter was Voorsanger, of 
Mr. Coster's establishment at Amsterdam, and in his 
hands the diamond lost rather more than half of its 
original weight. The reflected light is perfectly white, 
but, strange to say, it assumes by refraction a decided 
rose tint, very agreeable to the eye. This probably 
unique phenomenon is due, no doubt, to the peculiar 
prismatic form imparted to the crystal, perhaps un- 
con.sciously, by the cutter. 

After its latent beauties were thus revealed to 
the world, this superb gem was purchased by Messrs. 
Halphen, and a few other merchants in Paris, who had 
constituted themselves a syndicate for the purpose. 
By them it was named the " Estrella do Sud," or 
" Star of the South." Before reaching them, it had 
passed in its rough state through several hands, all 
of whom were more or less benefited by its possession 


Thus, the negress, by whom it was discovered in 1853, 
was rewarded, according to the usual practice in 
Brazil, with her freedom,* and to this was afterwards 
added the further boon of a pension for life, in recog- 
nition of the exceptional size and value of her " find." 
Yet her master, Casimiro de Tal, was at first so little 
conscious of its true value, that he was induced to 
part with it for the relatively nominal sum of ^^"3,000. 
The purchaser deposited it in the Bank of Rio de 
Janeiro, receiving an advance of no less than ;f 30,000 
on its security alone. 

The stone ultimately reached the above-men- 
tioned Paris Syndicate, by Avhom it was shown in the 
Dutch department of the London Exhibiton of 1862, 
and in that of Paris in 1867. On both occasions it 
attracted great attention, and its fame reached the 
remotest corners of the globe. It was soon after- 
wards forwarded to India, where a bid of i^i 10,000 
was made for it by a large house on behalf of a native 
rajah. After considerable negotiation, the parties 
being unable to agree on the terms, the transaction 

* " There aie many laws and ieo;ulations to prevent the negroes con- 
cealing and smuggling diamonds. As a means of encouraging honesty, il 
a negro finds a stone of 17^ carats, he is crowned with a wreath of Mowers, 
and led in procession to the manager. Then his freedom is bestowed upon 
him, plus a suit of clothes and permission to work for wages. If a negro 
finds one from eight to ten carats weight, he receives two new shirts, a suit 
of clothes, a iiat, and a handsome knife. For smaller but valuable stones 
other rewards are given. For unfaithfulness, the negroes are beaten with 
sticks, or have iron bands fastened round their throats; and on repetition 
of the fault, they are not admitted to the works again. Notwithstanding 
all these rewards and pui ishments, one-third of the produce is supposed to 
be surreptitiously disposed of by the labourers. Manifold are the tricks 
used by the negroes to appropriate and barter the gems they discover. In 
tiie very presence oi the overseers, they manage to conceal them in their 
hair, their mouths, their ears, or between their fingers. Not untrequently 
they will throw them away, and return for them at the dead of night.'' 
- — Streeter's " Cons and Precious Stones," 


fell through, and the stone was returned to Messrs. 
Halphen, who acted throughout in the name of the 
Syndicate, and not on their o\\'n account as is usually 

During the exhibition of the gem in India, glow- 
ing accounts of its rare size and beauty had reached 
the late ex-Gaikwar of Baroda, next to the eccentric 
Charles, Duke of Brunswick, the greatest diamond 
fancier of modern times. This prince gave a 
commission, which was ultimately entrusted to 
Mr. E. Dresden, of London and Paris, to buy the 
Star of the South for eight lakhs of rupees, or ;^8o,ooo, 
Mr. Dresden, thereupon,applied through Mr. Halphen, 
to the Syndicate, who, although they had already 
declined i^iTO,ooo, after 9,om.e pourparlers were in- 
duced to accept the Gaikwar's offer. On this subject 
we were favoured on June 14, 1881, with a communi- 
cation from Mr. Dresden, the subjoined extract from 
which will be found peculiar)}- interesting : 

" .A. few }'ears after the death of the late Em- 
peror Napoleon, his Empress sold through Smith, 
Fleming and Co., her famous collection of diamonds 
(amongst which were a pair of splendid drops), to that 
same ruler of Baroda, so that he now possesses a 
matchless quantity of diamonds, including the Star 
of the South, which I had the commission to buy, 
and for which I paid Halphen in Paris two million 
francs (^80,000), inclusive, of course, of the mount- 
ings, &c., which were ver\' costh'." 

It may be added that the ill-luck which often 
seems to folloAv the possessors of great diamonds 
swiftly overtook the new owner of the Star of the 


South. It will be in the recollection of our readers 
that this notorious Mahratta prince fell into serious 
trouble a few years ago for his murderous practice of 
destroying refractory subjects with diamond dust. 
Having tried a similar expedient to get rid of the 
British resident, Colonel Phayre, whose presence in 
Baroda acted as an inconvenient check on his san- 
guinary propensities, the Gaikwar was arraigned 
before a specially constituted tribunal, found guilty, 
and deposed from the throne of his ancestors by a 
mandate from the beneficent lady paramount of India. 


Beautiful but a little •• Off-Colour " — South African Diamonds 
— Their Origin and Character — Enormous Increase of— 
Estimated Value of " Claims" in the Mining Districts 
— Peculiar Delicacies of the Straw Tint — Stones that 
Rival those of Brazil and India — " Bort." 

HE latest great " find " in South Africa, 
and exceeded in size only by one other 
stone from that region, was discovered 
in 1878 on a "claim" at Du Toit's Pan, 
where a greater proportion of large diamonds has 
been produced than in an\- other diamantiferous 
district in the world. It is of a light " off-colour,"* 
and free from flaws, but not of the finest water, 
though by skilful treatment it may prove a magni- 
ficent stone. Since its discovery, the value of the 
claims, especially in the Kimberley district, has risen 
enormously. Claims originally disposed of at the rate 
of i^50 per twenty square feet are now realising many 
thousand pounds. Precious Stones and Gems con- 
tains some exclusive and interesting information 
upon South African diamonds. Without trespassing 
unduly upon the chapter which deals with the subject 
from various points of view, there are a few facts that 
may very properly be repeated in this place. It is 

* A large proportion of the African diamonds are what are called 
" otf-coloured " stones, usually exhibiting a delicate straw tinge, still, often 
very beautiful when skilfully cut. 


well ascertained that these diamonds were originally 
developed in an igneous matrix belonging probably 
to that large series of eruptive rocks which have 
burst further through the Karoo strata at so many 
points in South Africa. In the dry diggings the 
stones are possibly found almost in their original 
positions. Those which reward the digger in the river 
beds have probably been washed down by running 
water, and there are superficial deposits here and there 
in which ice has been the means of transportation. 
Such, at least are the various hypoth-eses which have 
been put forward in explanation of the somewhat 
singular distribution of the diamonds at the Cape. 

Hardly a dozen years have past' since these new 
fields were discovered. During that time the yield of 
fine stones has been enormous. The first notable 
one was the " Dudley," the next the " Stewart." The 
latter gem is the only one which takes precedence in 
size of the Du Toit I. Although many of the Cape 
diamonds are " straw coloured," a very fair proportion 
are of the first water, bearing comparison with some 
of the finest gems of Brazil and the Indies. Even 
the yellowish ones are of a peculiar delicacy of tint 
which is very attractive in a well cut stone. It has 
been estimated that 20 per cent, of the Cape stones 
are of the finest quality, 15 of the second, and 20 of 
the third, the remainder being what is technically 
called " bort." It is as well to add that all diamonds 
which are not sufficiently pure for cutting are classed 
under the term " bort." They are crushed into 
powder, which is used for grinding diamonds, and also 
in the engraving of gems of exceptional hardness. 

DU TOIT I. 87 

Since the discovery of the Du Toit I., two quarter 
claims in the vicinity of the spot where it was dug 
out have been sold for ;^20,000. The competition 
for mining rights continues to be severe in other 
districts, and the latest rewards of enterprising 
investments have justified the faith of both capitalist 
and labourer. 


Taverniers account of the " Table " Diamond — Its Size. 
Shape, and Value — Shah Jehan's Invasion of the 
Deccan — Fire and Sword — Raising Monej- to pay 
Tribute to the Victor — The Parsees and the English — 
Where is the Great Gem to-day ? 

N Tavernier's list of the " largest and 
finest diamonds and rubies seen by him 
in Europe and Asia," this stone occu- 
pies the third place, (II. 305). Of it he 
remarks : " It is a stone which weighs iy6^ mangelins, 
which make 242^^6 of our carats. The mangelin, as 
I have said, is the weight used in the kingdoms of 
Golconda and Visapur, and it is equivalent to i| of 
our carats. When in Golconda, in the year 1642, I 
was shown this stone, and it is the largest diamond I 
have seen in India in the hands of dealers. The 
owner allowed me to make a casting of it, which I 
sent to Surat to two of my friends, calling their 
attention to the beauty of the stone and to its price, 
which was 500,000 rupees or 750,000 livres of our 
money. I received a commission from them, in case 
it was pure and fine water, to offer 400,000 rupees 
for it. But it was impossible to come to terms at this 
price, although I believe that it might have been had 
if they were willing to offer 450,000." 


This is all that Tavernier tells us of this re- 
markable stone, which is illustrated in the first, though 
not in subsequent editions of his work. The repre- 
sentation show^s it to be table-cut, so that it may be 
easily recognized, should it again come to light in 
India or elsewhere ; for since the time of Tavernier it 
has not been seen by any European expert. Its pecu- 
liar form would easily allow of its being reduced by 
cleavage to tw^o or more stones, a fate that has 
possibly befallen it. Many stones have from time 
to time been so treated, for the express purpose 
of destroying their identity, even though their 
intrinsic value has thereby been greatly reduced. 
A notable instance is the French " Blue Drop," 
which was of such an unique character, that after 
it was stolen from the Garde Meuble, in 1792, it 
could not be exposed for sale without incurring the 
risk of instant detection. Hence the necessity of 
altering its appearance by some process of reduction, 
as fully explained in our account of the " Hope Blue." 
In the same way the great "Table," also a stone of 
an unique type, at least as regarded its size and 
peculiar shape, was very likely broken up by cleavage 
into two or more stones, and it is by no means 
impossible that the Russian " Table," which will be 
described in a later chapter, may be one of those frag- 
ments. Pictures and other rare artistic objects are 
known to have been manipulated in analogous ways for 
like purposes. One of the numerous and vexatious 
charges brought by his enemies against Benvenuto 
Cellini, when employed at the court of Francis I., seems 
to have been of this character. The method which he 



adopted for bringing the wearisome and ruinous suits 
against him to a close, was highly characteristic. He 
tells us in his famous autobiography, that being unable 
to obtain any redress from the law, " I had recourse to 
a long sword, which I had by me. The first that I 
attacked was that person who commenced that unjust 
and irritating suit ; and one evening I so hacked him 
about the legs and arms, taking care, however, not to 
kill him right out, that I deprived him of the use of 
both his legs." Having got rid of another party to 
the suit, in a similar summary manner, he exclaims, 
with grim humour, " For this and every other blessing, 
I returned thanks to the Supreme Being ! " 

At the period referred to byTavernier, Golconda 
was in a deplorable condition. Shah Jehan, whose 
miserable end (hardly less wretched than that of 
Shakespeare's King Lear), has generally excited so 
much commiseration, that his infamous treachery 
and indescribable inhumanity, are lost sight of, had, 
only three years before Tavernier's visit, collected an 
immense force to invade the Deccan. Every country 
that was overrun by his troops was delivered to fire and 
sword. " One hundred and fifteen towns and castles 
were taken in the course of the year, and the kings of 
Beejapoor and Golconda, to appease the conqueror, 
renounced their rank as sovereign princes, and received 
commissions from the emperor of the Moguls." This 
was but the beginning of sorrow. It was between this 
eclipse and the subsequent utter destruction of these 
renowned kingdoms, under Mir Jemla, and Aurung- 
zeb's eldest son, Mohammed, that Tavernier saw the 
royal gem under notice, in the hands of a private 



diamond merchant. How came this stone in private 
hands ? The answer is not far to seek. The tribute, 
on the first signing of the treaty, was up to the full 
amount. Mir Jemla had probably suggested this, 
as a severe lesson, with a view to bring his royal 
master to his knees ; but the fallen king had gall 
enough to seize the person of the revolted minister's 
son, and the war between Katb and Mir Jemla was a 
war a oiUrancc. The annually recurring tribute forced 
the court and king to raise money on jewels not dis- 
closed to the Mogul conqueror, and as Tavernier was 
known certainly to the Parsee merchants of India, 
and had in a measure gained the confidence of the 
most English of all Asiatics, it is not surprising that, 
European as he was, he should be shewn, and even 
allowed to take a model of this stone. We venture 
to doubt whether Tavernier could have secured it for 
an added £"5,000 to the offer he made, with a view to 
purchase, considering the wealth and stable character 
of the opulent merchants in Western India. It was 
said that a Turvcc or Bheel chief carried it to the city 
of Golconda, and commenced his negociations by an 
interview with a " Havildar," a commander of horse, 
a native of his own tribe. This is probably true. The 
Bheels dwelt, and still dwell, in the fastnesses of the 
Western Ghauts, and along the affluents of the Upper 
Godavery, where most probably the stone was found. 
As already stated, it is probable that this stone 
has been broken up, in order to baffle all efforts to 
trace its identity, though some Orientals differ from 
this explanation of its disappearance. It is estimated 
that there are more than 120,000 families of Parsees 


residing within the limits of what was termed, in the 
first quarter of this century, the " Presidency of 
Bombay," and in that capital alone there were 6,000 
families. No other class of natives has connected itself 
so intimately with the English. The fire which blazed 
in the burning bush, but consumed it not, is still the 
emblem of the Supreme Being they worship. They 
learn English and speak it idiomatically. They 
master also the Gujerati tongue, which prevails about 
the Gulfs of Cutch and Cambay, and a large tract of 
the western coast ; and, although their religion indis- 
poses them to become working jewellers, they value, 
as Europeans do, beautiful things in nature and art. 
That the Parsees would resist the outrageous bartering 
tricks of the native, is characteristic, but that a mag- 
nificent gem in their possession would be broken up 
is questioned. Then where is the great "Table" 
diamond } Certainly not advertised, if in Persia, nor 
paraded, if in Bombay, Gujerat, or Beejapoor. 



The Slave and the Diamond— Punishments and Rewards 
m Minmg— How Bahia became famous — Discovery of 
the Regent by a Negro— He is Pensioned and obtains 
his Freedom. 

leading figure in the history of Brazih'an 
diamonds is the slave. Negro and 
negress, they both appear as dis- 
coverers of some of the most remark- 
able of the great gems. This arises from the fact that 
the miners were chiefly slaves. In the early days of 
diamond hunting on the Rio-das- Velhas, as a means 
of encouraging honesty, if a negro found a stone of 
17I carats, he was crowned with a wreath of flowers, 
and led in procession to the manager. His freedom 
was given to him, and he was dressed in a new suit of 
clothes. For " unfaithfulness,'' which meant the crime 
of appropriating diamonds the slaves were beaten with 
sticks, and subjected to other physical torture. But 
in spite of all kinds of precautions and punishments 
a third of the produce of the mines was supposed to 
be stolen, and it is so to this day. It was a " cunning 
slave" who revealed the treasures of Minas-Geraes, 
and established the fame of Bahia. He was of the 
former province, though he worked as an agricultural 
labourer in the last-mentioned district. Diamonds 
had been found here, but the Portuguese minister, 
Marquis de Pombal, would not permit a regular 


exploration for them, fearing that mining might eclipse 
agriculture, which he esteemed as of the first import- 
ance. Noticing that the soil of this region and that 
of his native place were similar in appearance, the 
slave went home, and found Minas-Geraes yielded 
diamonds in abundance. He fled from his master, 
and offered 7,000 carats of diamonds for sale in a 
distant city, whereupon he was arrested on suspicion 
of having stolen them. He would not confess 
whence he had obtained them. It was soon con- 
cluded that he had found them in some spot, the 
whereabouts of which was unknown except to him- 
self. His master outwitted him by restoring him 
without punishment to his occupation at Bahia. Then 
he had the slave watched, and the immense diamanti- 
ferous value of Bahia and Minas-Geraes was dis- 
covered, and within a year afterwards 25,000 diamond 
hunters were at work in the former district, and for a 
long time they collected as much as 1,450 carats a day. 
It was a slave who discovered the diamond 
known as the Regent of Portugal. The history of 
the stone is very obscure, and has been rendered 
more so by those writers who have confused it with 
the Braganza. Like that gem of doubtful reputation, 
it seems to have been found in the year 1775, in* or 
near the river Abaite, a few miles north of the Rio 
Plata. The finder was a poor negro, who was re- 
warded with his freedom, and a yearly pension of 
;^50. The gem is of round shape, weighs 215 carats, 
and its value has been estimated at 396,800 guineas. 



Diamond Robberies at the Cape — Receivers and Illicit 
Dealers — A Serious Question for Companies — A 
209 Carat Stone Stolen — Chase of the Thieves — 
Smgnlar Capture and Discoverj- of the Stone — Life 
at the Diamond Fields — Singular Shopkeepers — 
Kafirs and their Masters — The Great Stoue sold 
for £j2) — Confession of the Thieves. 

URING the month of December, 1S81 
there appeared in the London papers a 
dispatch from the Cape Diamond Fields 
which stated, in half a dozen Hnes, 
the fact that two thieves, having stolen a diamond 
of 209 carats had been captured with the stone 
in their possession. The story is interesting, 
more particularly as an illustration of the risk 
in diamond mining to which we have previously 
referred, and which will crop up again during our in- 
vestigations, namely, that of robbery. From the 
very earliest days diamond seekers, slaves, or free- 
men, employed by princes or companies, have yielded 
to the temptation of concealing their most valuable 
discoveries. At the South African Fields to-day this 
incentive to dishonesty is increased by the existence 
of an active system of dealing in stolen stones. It 
is an axiom of English law that tlie receiver is as bad 
as the thief; but in Cape Colony the former seems to 
flourish even more securely than he does in England. 


"Illicit Diamond Buying" is quite a business in 
South Africa. The police have done a good deal to 
reduce the nefarious operations of the receivers at 
Kimberley ; but 77/r Friend of the Free State, in an 
editorial article, recently complains that at Jagersfon- 
tein, the illicit traffic is carried on without let or 
hindrance. Says this colonial journal, under date, 
December ist, 1881 :— " Some of the best companies 
are paying out ;^300 weekly for expenses, which is 
about recouped by the diamonds handed over and 
sold on account of the company ; but there is little or 
no profit, and, consequently, no dividends. Now, it 
is not too much to suspect that the larger diamonds 
are stolen, the proceeds of sale of which would, 
perhaps, yield a handsome dividend. It is passing 
strange, too, that Kimberley has, according to the 
telegrams and the public journals, yielded more 
large white stones since the working of Jagers- 
fontein than before. Even the famous ' Porter- 
Rhodes ' diamond had to remain in its matrix 
at Kimberley, until Jagersfontein produced large 
first-water stones ! We understand from correspon- 
dents, and from gentlemen recently from Fauresmith 
and Jagersfontein, that the arrangements of the 
illicit diamond buying are perfect between that 
mine and Kimberley ; and, seeing that the crime of 
illicit diamond buying is not included in the extradi- 
tion treaty between this state and Griqualand West, 
they are likely to remain so ! There is also a good 
deal of righteous indignation among those who are 
claimholders, diggers, and shareholders in the various 
companies, and some even go so far as to assert that 


'lynching' is not too bad for those who are aiding 
and abetting ' boys ' and overseers to steal their em- 
ployers' goods. We are, however, afraid that public 
opinion is not so much against the dishonest I. D. B's 
as one would think. If the illicit diamond buying 
hurt the traders — instead of enriching them ! — as 
much as it does the digger, those who are engaged in 
the unholy traffic would have been wiped off the face 
of the earth long ago. When all classes benefit by it, 
it is vain to expect that a speedy end will be made of 
it. Can this last long ? We very much doubt it, for the 
expenses of working are now so enormous that in nine 
cases out of ten no dividends are paid. The question 
then arises. How long will this state of things be per- 
mitted to last ? There are but two v/ays out of the 
difficulty : either do away with the illicits altogether or 
stop digging, which is being carried on at a loss, even 
if the Kimberley, Du Toit's Pan, De Beers and Jagers- 
fontein shopkeepers have to close their establishments, 
and the churches, chapels, clubs, theatres, hotels, and 
other public places of resort have to be shut up alto- 
gether ! One or other of the two things must happen 
soon, and the sooner it takes place the better. Perhaps, 
after all, 'our civilization is a failure,' and the digging 
for diamonds should be done by those who are the 
owners of the claims ; and maybe the illicit diamond 
buying is the only natural outcome of men wishing 
to be rich without the trouble of ivorking for money." 
It is the incident of the robbery of the 209 carat 
stone that called forth these remarks. The story runs 
thus : Mr P>ames is a private digger at Jagersfontcin ; 
that is, he has a claim of his own, apart from a company 


and employs diggers. On the 15th of November 
he was informed that he was being robbed. It 
was more particularly mentioned that at that very 
time he had just been plundered of several diamonds, 
and among them one weighing probably 200 carats. 
On the follov/ing day the Government Inspector re- 
ceived information to the same effect from a different 
source. He and Mr. Frames compared notes, and 
found that they had sufficient evidence to justify 
them in having the suspected parties apprehended ; but 
it was agreed, in order to secure the diamond, to give 
the thieves the chance of getting some distance on 
the road to Kimberley, where it was said they were 
going to sell it. Several young men, diggers and 
others, were sent on and stationed somewhere alone 
the road to intercept the culprits. The result is 
related by Mr. G. S. Armstrong, manager of the 
Fauresmith Company. He says : " I voluntarily 
assisted to capture the accused thieves, Jacob Kleb 
and Frederick Adamson, A plan was made to allow 
them to go to a certain distance and then apprehend 
them. The accused took the Koffyfontein road to 
Kimberley. We had made a circuit, and were re- 
turning, when we met the accused, about three miles 
this side of Swanepoel's. The distance from here to 
Swanepoel's is about four hours on horseback, or 
twenty-four miles. My comrade Dykes and myself 
pretended to be drunk. Kleb asked how far it was 
to the house ? Dykes tried to answer in Dutch, 
saying, 'a Jdein beitje farder.' Dykes' horse was 
almost knocked up. Mine, being better, I crossed 
country to head the cart which Kleb and Adamson 


were driving, Dykes following the cart. It was about 
half- past nine when we came to Swanepoel's. We 
found the cart outspanned, and sent in one of the 
other party, which had now joined us, to see if the 
accused were there. He gave us the signal that they 
were. We went up to the door, six of us, and went 
in. The two accused were sitting at a table having 
a singsong, a darkey lady sitting on the right. There 
was also a travelling Jew. On going in we covered 
them with our revolvers. Mr. Dykes (who could not 
read Dutch) told them we had a warrant for their 
apprehension. Kleb asked for what ? Mr. Frames 
then read the warrant in Dutch. We next hand- 
cuffed the accused. We took Kleb into another 
room and searched him, a few being left to guard the 
prisoners. We found no diamonds on him. We 
then searched Adamson, but found no diamonds on 
him. We brought the woman into the room, and 
asked Mrs. Swanepoel to search her. Mrs. Swanepoel 
said she was afraid, so we had to do it ourselves. 
We found no diamonds on the woman. We took the 
others out of the room into the room where Kleb was. 
We searched carpet-bag, &c. Kleb's were the first we 
searched. We found no diamonds. I saw a side-bag 
lying on a bed in another room, and asked the woman 
if it was hers ? The bag is the same as is now before 
the Court. The woman said the bag did not belong 
to her, nor to Adamson. I picked it up and took it 
to the room where Kleb was. I asked Kleb if the 
bag belonged to him. He said, ' yes.' I opened it, 
and pulled out a silk handkerchief, and then a pair of 
trousers. The trousers produced by the Court are 


the same. I asked Kleb if the trousers were his ? 
He said, * Yes.' I put the trousers on the table. Mr. 
Wilson was by my side. He commenced searching. 
I was going to the other room when Wilson shouted. 
I do not know what he said ; but, knowing there was 
something up, rushed back. Wilson was excited. I 
don't know what he said. I was also excited. He 
(Wilson) had a diamond in his hand. I am not certain 
from whom I got it, but I got hold of it. Mr. Wilson 
said he found it in one of the pockets of the trousers. 
We searched the cart, after which we took the pri- 
soners and brought them back to Jagersfontein, and 
handed them over to the police." 

The stone weighed 209^ carats. The way in 
which information of its existence and robbery was 
obtained, may be gathered from the evidence given 
before the police magistrate, by a Mr. Phillip Anthony 
Rivers, who related how he went into a drinking shop 
where Adamson and others were talking about 
diamonds. They openly spoke of a large stone which 
Kleb was going to take to Kimberley. Adamson 
keeps a shop opposite to the one of which Rivers is 
the owner. One night after the conversation referred 
to, he says : — " I remember a kafir coming to me one 
night, between nine and ten. The kafir asked me the 
price of a blanket. I showed him one. He said he 
would come some other day and buy it. I looked at 
him, he made sign and said, ' Baas, I want to see you.' 
He went out of my shop, and I followed. He said he 
had something, but was afraid of me. I asked him 
hoAv it Avas he was afraid of me ? ' Why, because,' 
he replied, ' I have been to the other shop,' pointing 


to Adamson's, ' and it is closed.' I told him to show 
me what he had got. He said it was a large diamond, 
and showed me the bowl of his pipe, and said it was 
as large as that. I told him to take it out and show 
it to me. He said, ' No, I am afraid.' Afterwards 
he said he would go and fetch the diamond, which was 
hidden under a stone. I was not to go to sleep ; he 
would be back presently. As he passed Adamson's 
door it opened, and a kafir came out by the name of 
Woolwash, I think. The two talked a short time, and 
then went into Adamson's shop. The other side-door 
of the shop opened shortly afterwards. I saw the 
same boy that had been with me come out. I knew 
him by his white trowsers, which had stripes on them. 
Two other kafirs also came out. The first passed the 
dwelling-house of Adamson. I saw men going to 
Adamson's house. The dwelling-house is about five 
yards from the shop. A little time afterwards the kafir 
who had the stone returned to Adamson's shop. He 
went in at the back door. My boy (a Bushman) was 
with me. I told him he might go to bed. Next 
morning I asked my boy if he had seen the kafir who 
had the big diamond ? He said he had seen him in 
Adamson's place, and saw him go to the tent where 
Adamson's kafirs stayed. I sent my boy to the 
tent to tell the kafir I wanted to see him. My boy 
came back and told me the kafir would not come. 
I stood on my stoop and watched, and saw the 
boy going to Adamson's shop. I called out to him 
'how is it with the big diamond you did'nt bring?' 
He said, ' It's too late, the baas has the diamond,' 
pointing to Adamson's shop. I asked him if he had 


sold it? He replied, yes. I asked how much he got 
for it. He answered, it was not yet all settled. 

It created quite a sensation in court when it was 
proved that Adamson only gave £ 1 5 for the stone ; 
while from further evidence it was shown that he 
expected to get ;^5000 for it at Kimberley, 

Since the committal of the prisoners for trial, they 
have confessed to having sold within the last two 
months, diamonds of, respectively, 65, 10, and 2\ 
carats in weight for ;i^i,200 ; and two of 19^ carats 
each, and one of 2ii carats for /"o/S at Kimberley. 



Royal Lover's Gift — Prince Orloff and the Czarina 
Catharine — An Imperial Gem — Fable of the Temple 
of Brama — A French Grenadier's Plot — The costly Eye 
of an Idol stolen — A Great Diamond on its Travels — 
The Adventurer, Khojeh Raphael — Prmce Orloff Pur- 
chases the Gem to restore his favour at.Court — ;fgo,ooo 
and ;^'4,ooo a year is paid for the Stone — Another Grena- 
dier — The PeacockThrone — Shah Jehan again — A Mer- 
chant Adventurer and Warrior — The desolating war 
of the Deccan — Royal Freebooters — A tragic end — 
The Koh-i- N ur and Koh-i-Tur — The M oon of M ountains. 

HE rays of light which penetrate this 
brilh'ant arc not more deflected, dis- 
torted, and confusing than is the history 
of the birth and early destination of 
the gem ; and to add still more to the perplexity, 
there is inseparably attached to its very name a 
scandal which, like the stone itself, appears to be 
about the only solid reality on which we can rest. 
Prince Orloff's love intrigue with the Czarina, 
Catherine the Second of Russia, is a well-known 
page in the history of Imperial courts.* The tem- 
porary cloud that gathered about his relations with 

* Oflov, sometimes spelt Orloff, and generally pronounced Arloff, is 
the name of a family remarkable in Russian history. Its founder was a 
certain Ivan Orel, or Eagle, who in the reign of Peter the Great, was a 
private soldier among the Strelitzes, or Archers, who formed a body in the 
Rus-ian, analogous to tlie Janissaries in the Turkish empire. At tlie time 
their destruction was accomplished, Peter the Great employed himself in 
beheading many of them with his own hand, on a long beam of wood, 
which served as a block for several at a time. It is a current story in 


his royal mistress was dispelled by the brilliant rays 
of a lover's gift, dazzling enough for Gcethe to have 
made it the pendant that tempted Marguerite. 

In every respect the Orloff is the most remark- 
able of the great Russian diamonds. It forms the 
chief ornament in the Imperial sceptre. From this 
circumstance it is sometimes called the " Sceptre " 
diamond. Its position is immediately beneath the 
golden eagle, which surmounts the symbol of regal 

Russia, that Ivan was one of those doomed to death, and that on being 
called on to kneel down to receive the blow, he kicked away a head which 
was still remaining on the beam, with the observation, '■^ If this is my place. 
It ought to be clear!' Struck with his coolness, Peter spared the intended 
victim's life and placed him in a regiment of the line, where by his 
bravery, he won his way to the rank of officer, which brought with it that 
oi noble. His son Gregory Ivanovich, rose to be governor of Novgorod 
and had five sons, of whom two were especially lemarkable. Gregory 
Gregoryevich Orlov, born in 1734, entered the army, was engaged in 
tlie Seven Years' War, and was sent to St. Petersburg with Count 
Schwerin, at the time the Count was taken prisoner. The Grand 
Duchess Catherine, at that time the wife of the heir to the throne, saw 
Orlov, who was distinguished tor the manly beauty of his person, and he 
became her favourite. 'I'he Orlovs. both Gregory and his brother, took 
part in the sudden revolution of the 9th of .'uly, 1762, which put an end to 
the short reign of Peter 111., and raised his wife — soon to become his widow 
— to the throne as the Empress Catherine. After that event, honours were 
showered upon Orlov, who was the father of the Empress's child, the Count 
Eobrinski. He aspired to become her acknowledged husband, and share 
the throne, but this wish, which was apparently at times, near to its ac- 
complishment, was finally thwarted by the opposition of her advisers, if not 
by her own reluctance. In 1771, Orlov really distinguished himself by the 
judjiment and energy of his measures against the plague in Moscow, 
whither he repaired in person, to give orders on the spot, at the time the 
epidemic was raging, in the next year his haughtiness and assumption in 
negociating with the Turks at 'i'okshani, occasioned affairs to take a bad 
turn, and he himself broke otf the Conferences to hasten back to St. 
Petersburg, on hearing that, during his absence, he was being supplanted 
by a fresh favourite. He was met on his way by the Empress's orders, to 
repair to his seat at Gatchina, and she afterwards sent him to the palace ot 
'I'sarskoe Selo, where he lived in oriental splendour, received the title of 
Prince, and was addressed as " Your Highness." When Potemken rose 
to the height of power, Orlov married, and travelled abroad, but lost his 
wife, returned to St. Petersburg, where he resided at the Marble Palace, 
which had been presented to him by the Empress, and finally died in 1783 
after having been for some time out of his %tmK%.— Etiglish Cyclopedia, 


power. It is also occasionally spoken of as the " Am- 
sterdam," from the place where it was purchased for 
the Russian crown, under circumstances which will 
be hereafter detailed. In size, it ranks first amongst 
European gems ; in beauty it yields only to the 
" Regent," while for romantic interest it rivals the 
" Koh-i-Nur" itself. Its early history is involved in 
great obscurity, and seems to have got somehow in- 
extricably involved in that of the " Moon of Moun- 
tains," another great diamond in the Russian regalia. 
The " Moon of Mountains," however, reached Europe 
through Persia, whereas, there can be little doubt that 
the "Orloff" found its way direct from India to Holland 
and thence to Russia. In all current accounts of its 
original discovery, however, the circumstances are 
related in such a confused way, that it has hitherto been 
impossible to fix its first definite appearance. The 
date of its arrival in Europe, and of its purchase by 
Prince Orloff for the Empress Catherine II., are demon- 
strated by the subjoined passage from a letter dated 
January 2nd, 1776, from the Hague, and quoted by 
Boyle in the Museuui Britannicum (London, 1791) : 
— " We learn from Amsterdam that Prince Orlow* 
made but one da)''s stay in that city, where he bought 
a very large brilliant for the Empress, his sovereign, 
for which he paid to a Persian merchant there the 
sum of 1,400,000 florins, Dutch money. A florin in 
Holland is valued at 2od." 

Dutens, writing about this time, tells us that " this 

* This is the German spelling, to be pronounced Orlov, or rather 
Arlov, w in that language being equivalent to our v. But the true Russian 
sound seems best represented by/or f, hence the general form Orloff' 


diamond was said to have formed one of the eyes of 
the famous statue of Scheringam in the Temple of 
Brama."* These words — " un des yeux de la fameuse 
statue de Scheringam dans le Temple de Brama," 
have been copied, with the usual variations by subse- 
quent writers, who have seldom asked themselves 
what this " famous statue of Scheringam " could be, 
or where " the Temple of Brama," was situated, 
which contained it. The word in Kluge becomes 
" Sherigan," while in King it assumes the form 
of " Sheringham, and, from a statue or idol, is 
transformed to a town.f But after a careful investi- 
gation of all the circumstances we have come to the 
conclusion that there never was a statue or idol named 
Scheringam or Sherigan, nor any town named Sher- 
ingham. The true form of the word seems unquestion- 
ably to be Srirangam, in English usually written 
Seringham, and this Seringham is neither a statue, an 
idol, nor a town, but a fortified island in Mysore, 
formed by the river Cavery and its branch the 
Colerun, two miles north of Trichinopoly. At the 
western extremity of this island stands a magnificent 
pagoda or Hindu temple, with seven distinct enclo- 
sures, lofty towers, a gilded cupola, and numerous 
dwellings of Brahmins, the whole enclosed within an 
outer wall some four miles in circumference. This is 
the Hindu temple that has been transformed to the 
" statue of Scheringham," and town of " Sheringham," 

* Des Pier res Precieuses et des Pier res Fines — Nouvelle edition, 
Florence, 1783. 

f The expression in King is '' one of the eyes ot the gicat idol at 


from the chief idol in which was abstracted the "Orlofif" 
Diamond. According to Dutens' account, a French 
grenadier, having deserted the Indian service, found 
employment in the neighbourhood of the temple, 
where he soon learnt from native report that the 
sacred edifice contained a celebrated idol of the 
Hindu god Sri-Ranga,* whose eyes were formed by 
two large diamonds of inestimable value. These he 
determined to seize, but no Christians being admitted 
beyond the fourth enclosure of the pagoda, in order 
to effect his purpose he assumed the character of a 
native devotee, and affected great veneration for this 
particular divinity. By this means he gradually 
secured the unlimited confidence of the unsuspecting 
Brahmins, and at last procured the appointment of 
guardian to the inner shrine containing the object of 
his special attentions. Taking advantage of a stormy 
night, he laid sacrilegious hands on the deity entrusted 
to his watchful care, and wrenched one of the glitter- 
ing eyes from its socket, leaving the other undisturbed, 
either because he was interrupted at his work, or 
because he discovered that the corresponding orb 
was mere " paste." With his costly prize he escaped 
through the raging tempest to the English army, 
then encamped at Trichinopoly,-f- and thence to 

* Whence tlie name of the island, Srirangam, in which the temple 
was situated. The same divinity p;ives his name to the still more famous 
city of SeriHgapatam, that is, Sri-Ranga-Pattan, or " City of Sri-Ranga," 
which is also situated in Mysore, and on the banks of the same river 
Cavery, but much nearer its source. 

f Dutens (p. 37) writes •' Ti ichinapeuty," a place which lias no 
existence except in the works on precious stones published since the time 
of that writer. Dutens also speaks of a town called Gondeleur, through 
which the grenadier passed on his way to Madras. This town I have 
failed to identify, unless it be the Gudaluni of the natives (Angelice 


Madras, where he was glad to dispose of the gem for 
;^2,ooo, to an English sea captain, who brought it to 
London, where he sold it to a Jew for ;^i 2,000. Here 
the story again becomes clouded, and in fact mixed 
up with the adventures of the " Moon of Mountains." 
The Armenian, Shafrass, who, as will be presently 
seen, had nothing to do with the " Orloff," is suddenly 
introduced, instead of a Persian merchant, who pur- 
chased this stone from the Jew, and brought it to 
Amsterdam. The merchant here referred to was 
probably the notorious Khojeh Raphael, of Armenian 
extraction, but born at Julfa, a suburb of Ispahan. 
This Khojeh was some years afterwards met in 
Leghorn by the Persian traveller, Mirza Abu Taleb 
Khan, who describes him as "a complete old scoundrel, 
who had seen a great deal of the world, and understood 
a number of languages. He had left Persia when a 
young man, and had gone by sea to Surat ; thence 
across the peninsula to Bengal. After residing there 
some time he made a voyage to England, and from 
that country went to Russia ; and after travelling 
over great part of Europe, at length settled as a mer- 
chant in Leghorn."* 

It was on his way from England to Russia that 
Khojeh met Prince Orloff in Amsterdam, and induced 
him to purchase the Indian gem for his mistress, the 

Ccdalor or Gudalur), which lies on the Bay of Bengal, 15 miles S.S.W. of 
Pondicherry, and about midway between Tiichinopoly and Madras. It 
the surmise be correct, the mention of such a place would go far to 
strengthen the verisimilitude of Dutens' story, on which much needless 
discredit has been thrown. It would have been a most likely place for the 
Frenchman to have passed through on his way to Madras. 

* Travels m Asia, Africa, and Eurobe — London, 1814, Vol, II., 
p. 301. 


Czarina, Catherine II. Orlofif was himself at the 
time also on his travels. Having fallen under the 
displeasure of Catherine, he had absented him- 
self from Court until the storm should blow over. 
Khojeh's offer was now eagerly accepted, as afford- 
ing an excellent opportunity for recovering the 
favor of the empress, who is reported to have already 
declined the purchase as too costly, but who now 
accepted the jewel at the hands of her illustrious 
subject. Orloff paid the merchant ^^"90,000 in cash, 
besides procuring him an annuity of ;f 4,000. Accord- 
ing to some accounts a patent of nobility was added. 
But it will be seen that this honour was reserved for 
the Armenian, Shafrass, in connection with the " Moon 
of Mountains " diamond. Some writers also state that 
the " Orlofif" was at one time set in the throne of Nadir 
Shah, and that after his murder it was stolen by a 
French grenadier, who escaped with it to Madras. 
In order to substantiate this story, it would be 
necessary to assume that there were two French 
grenadiers concerned in the theft of two of the largest 
diamonds in the world, that both of them fled to 
Madras, and that both also sold their plunder for the 
the same sum of ;^2,ooo to an English skipper. Of 
course nobody will believe this, and we shall see that 
Nadir Shah's gem was not taken to India, but 
from India, and that no French grenadier was con- 
cerned in its theft. 

King writes " certain it is that Nadir Shah 
brought the " Orlofif" back amongst the spoils of Delhi, 
along with the " Koh-i Nur." This statement must 
also be rejected as absolutely erroneous, originating 


out of the Strange muddle in which the stories of the 
"Orloff" and "Moon of Mountains" have become 
involved, and from which our accounts of the two 
stones will, we trust, finally rescue them. 

Professor Maskelyne, who carefully examined it, 
assured Kingthat the "Orloff " was an Indian cut stone, 
all the facets exhibiting the blunt edges and rounded 
surfaces that mark the style. Concentrated rows of 
triangular facets are disposed on the upper surface, 
and corresponding four-sided facets on the lower sur- 
face. It is about the size of a pigeon's egg, with a 
slight yellow tinge, and in shape so like Tavernier's 
" Great Mogul," that some writers have supposed the 
two may be one and the same stone. But this theory 
cannot be seriously entertained in the face of the vast 
difference in their respective sizes, the " Great Mogul " 
weighing 280, and the " Orloff" 193 carats only. Nor 
is it to be supposed that the former, after leaving 
Borgio's hands, was without any obvious motive, 
again entrusted to a cutter, and by him reduced by 
87 carats, while preserving its exact shape and out- 
lines. Otherwise it is conceivable that after the sack 
of Delhi by Nadir Shah, the " Great Mogul " might 
have found its way from the Imperial treasury to the 
far-famed temple of Sri-Ranga in Mysore. 

The true name of the " Orloff" is said to be the 
" Koh-i-Tur," or " Mount Sinai," a circumstance which 
lands us in fresh difficulties ; for Aurung-zeb is re- 
ported to have possessed a large diamond of this 
name, which he set in one of the eyes of the peacock 
overshadowing his throne. On this point Murray 
quotes the subjoined curious passage from a manuscript 


paper by Mr. Whittaker, son of the historian of Craven, 
who had long resided in India : — 

" The Prince Aulumgeer (Aurung-zeb) in 1658 
deposed his father Shah Jehan, emperor of Delhi, and 
usurped his throne. He caused to be constructed the 
famous ' Takht-i-Taus,' or ' Peacock Throne/ which 
represented in appropriate jewels a peacock with its 
head overlooking, and its raised and spread tail over- 
shadowing the person of the emperor when sitting on 
the throne. The natural hues of the bird were ex- 
quisitely imitated by the richest gems of the world, and 
the eyes were supplied by two celebrated diamonds, the 
largest known, called (as every Asiatic double name 
must have a jingle) ' Koh-i-Nur,' the Mountain of 
Light, and ' Koh-i-Tur,' the Mountain of Sinai. 
Having completed this throne, relinquishing the name 
of Aulumgeer, or ' Grasper of the Globe,' he assumed 
that of Aurung-zeb, or ' Ornament of the Throne.' 
He died in 1707, aged 87, and his throne remained in 
possession of his successors till 1728,* when Nadir 
Shah invaded Hindoostan, took and plundered Delhi, 
and massacred 125,000 men, women, and children. 
Together with sixty millions of other plunder, he 
carried off, and broke up the Peacock throne, but 
being assassinated on his return towards Persia in 
1729, his treasures fell to general Ahmed, Chief of 
the Abdalli Afghans, of Cabul, called also the 
Durani, from each man wearing a dur, or pearl, in 

* These dates, like some of the facts here mentioned, are wild. 
Nadir Shah sacked Dellii, not in 1718, but in 1739, and the date of his 
death was 1747, not 1729. Nor was he assassinated on his return towards 
Persia, but fully eight years after his return to Persia. 


the right ear.* He seized on the throne of Cabul, 
and in the confusion of this exploit the ' Koh-i-Tur ' 
was lost for ever." 

The truth of this notable summary of a very 
complex page of history is discounted by the fact 
that the dates and the supposed occurence do not 
agree. First in reference to Shah Jehan and his 
family in the year 1658 ; the desolating wars in the 
Deccan, which raged from the Nerbudda to the 
Kistna, were at that period in their fiercest phase. 
Nominally the diamond merchant Jemla was in com- 
mand of the invading forces of the Emperor, although 
Shah Jehan's third son Aurung-zeb was the virtual 
conductor of the expedition. Emir Jemla, the mer- 
chant, was a Persian who had not only become a 
resident at the Court of the sovereign of Golconda 
(Kootb), but was advanced by him to offices of 
high command, and had successfully conducted this 
monarch's wars for several years in the Carnatic, 
where he had gathered spoils of immense value. 
The sovereign and his favourite fell out, as free- 
booters have often done before in regard to the 
division of their spoil. Thereupon the diamond mer- 
chant Jemla threw himself on Aurung-zeb, then 44 
years of age, and in the very prime of life. Jemla 
persuaded the prince to attack his old master Kootb, 

* This is also a mistake. The Abdah or Avdali Afghans took their 
present name of Duranis, not from the mytliical circumstance here men- 
tioned, but from the title of Diir-i-Duran, or "Pearl of the Age ' assumed 
by Ahmed Khan, chief of the Popalzae branch of that tribe, when he 
usurped the throne of Kandahar, on the death of Nadir, in 1747. The 
Duranis form a very large section of the Alghan nation, numbering 
altogtther according to Thornton about 800,000, rather too large a 
population to be kept supplied with a stock o( pearl* to be worn in the 
ght lar, 


and represented the value of the loot the prince would 
acquire, and the importance of such untold treasure 
in prosecuting his ambitious projects. Kootb, how- 
ever, offered Aurung-zeb prodigious wealth in dia- 
monds and specie to leave his kingdom unmolested, 
and threatened Jemla with the death of his son (whom 
Kootb had seized and cast into prison), unless the 
terms were accepted. Aurung-zeb declined the pro- 
posal, and entrusted to Mohammed, his eldest son, the 
conduct of the war. The young warrior, with Jemla, 
set fire to the city of Golconda and murdered its 
inhabitants. As the King retreated to the old city he 
was closely followed by young Mohammed. Kootb 
was at the mercy of the victorious prince, who would 
have slain him but for the intercession of his 
daughter, whom Mohammed wedded even in the 
midst of the slaughter and desolation of the royal 
house. Within a few months the dependent king of 
Beejapoor died, and his throne being filled without 
reference to the Emperor, Shah Jehan, the Deccan 
was again subject to the horrors of war. 

From this period to 1666 (nine years) the 
internecine strife for supremacy under the nominal 
sovereignty of their father, Shah Jehan's four sons, 
Dara, Shooja, Aurung-zeb, and Murad were in per- 
petual strife. The star of Aurung-zeb soon showed 
itself in the ascendant. Shah Jehan and his youngest 
son Murad were now virtually prisoners of Aurung- 
reb. Dara, his elder brother, had been conquered, 
and was in flight, and Shooja was in arms ready to 
attack Aurung-zeb, who had seized the power of 
the throne, though vehemently asserting his utter 


indifference to its honours or observances, and Shooja 
marched to Allahabad. Shah Jehan, with Murad, 
was within the walls of Agra, where he died in 1666, 
and all of his family having been cut off either by the 
prowess or duplicity of Aurung-zeb, he became abso- 
lute master of the situation. 

It might be that a viusmid, ornamented with a 
peacock made of gems, was ordered to be made 
by Aurung-zeb, but it is far more like the act of his 
vain-glorious father. Shah Jehan. The story about 
the two eyes being the " Koh-i-Nur," and the " Koh-i- 
Tur " is discredited by Murray, who, discussing the 
MS. quoted by Whittaker says : " It will be perceived 
that the two diamonds which are referred to, are by 
no means ' the largest known,' and the ' Koh-i-Tur,' 
plundered by Nadir Shah, safely reposes among the 
crown jewels of Russia, weighs 193 carats, and is 
valued at ;^ 369,800." This description corresponds 
exactly with the "Orloff," which Murray thus identifies 
with a stone called the " Koh-i-Tur," carried off from 
the Delhi treasury, where it formed a companion to 
the "Koh-i-Nur." On this it will be sufficient to observe 
that the "Koh-i-Nur" was unknown to the Mogul 
emperors by this name, which was conferred on it 
by Nadir Shah himself when first he set eyes on it. 
Hence Whittaker's statement regarding a corre- 
sponding " Koh-i-Tur," so entitled because, " every 
Asiatic double name must have a jingle," loses its 
point, and the title of " Koh-i-Tur," now applied to the 
" Orloff," does not enable us to identify this gem 
with one of that name wrongly assumed to have 
been owned by Aurung-zeb, We must therefore. 


until the story of the French grenadier is shown to 
be a pure fabrication, maintain that the " Orloff " glit- 
tered in the eye, not of Aurung-zeb's peacock, but of 
the idol Sri-Ranga, and that it reached Europe, not 
from Delhi via Persia, but from Mysore, via Madras. 

Mawe, who had also confused the stories of the 
"Orloff" and "Moon of Mountains," in the first 
edition of the Treaty on Diamonds, subsequently 
discovered his mistake, and at p. 42 of the second 
edition of that work, (London, 1823), inserted the 
subjoined paragraph : — " In a former edition I stated 
that this diamond belonged to Nadir Shah, but this 
may be doubted, as the Asiatics rarely part with 
diamonds of a large size ; nor do I believe that a 
single instance of the kind is known to have occurred." 

The account given by Pallas of the "Orloff" 
will be noticed when we come to treat of the " Moon 
of Mountains." 



The Great Diamond of History and Romance " — Strange 
but True — Fact and Fable — An Extravagant Tradition 
— "One Long Romance of Five Centuries " — Tricks of 
Eastern Friendship — Exchanging Turbans — The Piti- 
ful Story of Shah Rokh — A Factor of War and Murder, 
the Stone Carries a Curse — Built up in a Prison 
Wall — A Pathetic Incident — Eastern Reverence for 
Gems — The Supposed Talisman of Victory brings 
Defeat — Annexation of the Punjaub to the British 
Empire — Confiscation of the Crown Jewels of Lahore 
to the East India Company — The Greatest Gem of 
all Presented to the Queen — Its Character and 
Appearance — It is Re-cut on the Advice of the 
Prince Consort — The Koh-i-Nur at last a Token of 
Liberty and Peace. 

HIS is pre-eminently the " Great Dia- 
mond of history and romance." Its 
stirring adventures, when divorced from 
all connection with Tavernier's " Great 
Mogul," become intelligible enough. The first dis- 
tinct and authentic reference to the "Koh-i-Nur" occurs 
in the subjoined passage from the Memoirs of Sultan 
Baber, the author of which was a direct descendant of 
Tamerlane, and founder of the so-called Mogul Empire 

* It will interest the reader to know that Her Majesty the Queen 
graciously read this chapter in manuscript, without requesting any cor- 
rection or alteration in the leading points of our history. No one, we 
believe, has studied more carefully the records of India than the Queen, and 
on this account we felt that Her Majesty would be pleased to recognise our 
effort to tell the complete story of the Koh-i-Nur, so far as to permit us to 
submit the MS. for her approval. This does not, of course, pledge Her 
Majesty to an endor'=ement of the facts, but it is, to some extent, an added 
S^uarantee of the correctness of our researches, and it gives a lustre to our 
work, for which we are loyally grateful. 


in Hindostan. Under the date of May 4, 1526, the 
Sultan writes : — 

" Bikermajit, a Hindoo, who was Rajah of 
Gvvahor, had governed that country for upwards 
of a hundred years. In the battle* in which Ibrahim 
was defeated, Bikermajit was sent to hell.f Biker- 
majit's family, and the heads of his clan were at this 
moment in Agra. When Humaiunt arrived, Bikcr- 
majit's people attempted to escape, but were taken 
by the parties which Humaiun had placed upon the 
watch, and put in custody. Humaiun did not permit 
them to be plundered. Of their own free will they 
presented to Humaiun a ' peshkesh ' (tribute or pre- 
sent), consisting of a quantity of jewels and precious 
stones. Among these was one famous diamond, 
which had been acquired by Sultan Ala-ed-din. It 
is so valuable that a judge of diamonds valued it at 
half of the daily expense of the whole world. It is 
about eight mishkels. On my arrival, Humaiun pre- 
sented it to me as a peshkesh, and I gave it back to 
him as a present.'' 

That the diamond here referred to is the 
" Koh-i-Nur," there can be no reasonable doubt ; 
nor indeed has the fact ever been seriously called 
into question. It will be noticed that, although he 

* Baber here refers to the great Battle of Pariput fought on April 21 , 
1526, in which the emperor Ibrahim, of the Afghan Lodi dynasty was 
overthrown, and which led to the establishment of the Tabar or " Mogul " 
dynasty on the throne of Delhi. 

f On this, Leyden and Eskine, the English translators of the 
Memoirs, remark : '' The charitable mode in which a good Mussulman 
signifies the death of an infidel." 

X Humaiun was the favourite son and successor of Baber, as emperor 
of Hindostan. 


speaks of it as already " famous," Baber gives it no 
particular name, and it did not take its present desig- 
nation till it passed into the hands of Nadir Shah, 
The illustrious historian mentions, however, that it 
" had been acquired by Sultan Ala-ed-din," which 
enables us to trace its existence some two hundred 
years further back. The Ala-ed-din here spoken of 
belonged to the Khilji dynasty, which succeeded that 
of the Ghuri, and which ruled over a large portion of 
Hindostan for 33 years, from A.D. 1288 to 1 321, when 
they were replaced by the Toghlaks. Ala-ed-din 
Khilji had obtained possession of the "famous 
diamond" in the year 1304, when he defeated the 
Rajah of Malwa, in whose family it had been as an 
heirloom from time out of mind. One tradition 
carries it back to the somewhat legendary Vikrama- 
ditya, an ancestor of the Rajah of Malwa here spoken 
of, and of Baber's Bikermajit, Rajah of Gwaloir. 
This Vikramaditya flourished in 57 B.C., and is said 
to have driven the Saca (by which are no doubt meant 
the Scythians) out of India. But no value can attach 
to the tradition, which is evidently a sort of after- 
thought, suggested by the similarity, or rather iden- 
tity, of the two names Bikermajit and Vikramaditya. 
At the same time the association is significant, as it 
serves to show that the gem was at all times regarded 
as the property of the Rajahs of Malwa, who are 
sometimes spoken of as Rajahs of Ujein and Gwalior ; 
for all these places were formerly included in the 
territory of Malwa, which has since been subdivided 
among the States of Bhopal, Indore, and Gwalior — 
the dominions of Scindia. We now understand how 

THE KOH-I-NUR. 1 19 

it happened that the diamond, after being acquired 
by the Sultan Ala-ed-din in 1304, is found in the 
possession of Bikermajit, Rajah of GwaHor in 1526. 
It had evidently been restored to Bikermajit's family 
by the Khilji ruler after peace had been established 
between the two states. 

A still more obscure and extravagant tradition 
identifies this stone with one discovered first some 
5,000 years ago, in the bed of the Lower Godavery 
River, near Masulipatam, and afterwards worn as a 
sacred talisman by Carna, Rajah of Anga, who figures 
in the legendary wars of the Mahabharata. That 
such a stone should have been found in such a place 
is likely enough, as it may well have been washed 
down to the delta of the Godavery, which flows 
through one of the oldest and richest diamantiferous 
regions in the world. But its identification with the 
stone under consideration rests on no solid foundation, 
nor will it readily be believed that a gem, which re- 
mained unnamed till the eighteenth century, could 
be unerringly traced back to pre-historic times. 

Its subsequent history from the time when it fell 
into the hands of Baber to the present day is insepar- 
ably associated with many ot the most stirring and 
romantic events of modern days. But, to quote 
Maskelyne, though " one long romance from then 
till now, it is well authenticated at every step, as 
history seems never to have lost sight of this stone 
of fate from the days when Ala-ed-din took it from 
the Rajah of Malwa, five centuries and a half ago, to 
the day when it became a crown jewel of England." 

Bernier tells us that on the death of Shah Jehan, 


Aurung-zeb "set out immediately for Agra, where 
Begum Sahel received him with distinguished honour. 
On arriving at the women's apartments the princess 
presented him with a large golden basin full of pre- 
cious stones, her own jewels and those which belonged 
to Shah Jehan." The princess here referred to was 
Jihanira, the too well-beloved daughter of Shah 
Jehan, who remained with him to the last, and who 
had used her influence to prevent him from destroy- 
ing his jewels rather than surrender them to Aurung- 
zeb, as mentioned in our account of the " Great Mogul." 
It is uncertain whether Baber's diamond was one of 
those contained in the golden basin, or whether it had 
already been given to Aurung-zeb during his father's 
lifetime. The former supposition seems to be the 
most probable ; for amongst Aurung-zeb's treasures 
exhibited to Tavernier, November 3, 1665, there was 
only one diamond of great size — the " Mogul " — and 
Shah Jehan, already afflicted by a fatal disease, died 
in the following February. But the point is of little 
consequence, as in any case the stone remained in the 
possession of the Mogul dynasty until Nadir Shah's 
invasion of India, during the reign of Mohammed 
Shah, in 1739. 

In our account of the "Orloff," reference has already 
been made to Whittaker's statement that Aurung-zeb 
made use of the " Koh-i-Nur " as one of the eyes of the 
peacock, adorning his " Peacock Throne," and that 
Nadir carried off and broke up this throne, thus gain- 
ing possession of the famous gem. But according to 
another and apparently a more trustworthy account, 
when he seized on the Delhi treasury this stone, which 



he was bent on securing, was found to be missing, 
and for a long time all his efforts to obtain it were 
baffled. At last a woman from Mohammed's harem 
betrayed the secret, informing Nadir that the emperor 
wore it concealed in his turban, which he never on any 
occasion laid aside. 

Nadir had now recourse to a very clever trick, in 
order to secure the coveted prize. Having already 
seized on the bulk of the Delhi treasures, and con- 
cluded a treaty with the ill-fated Mogul emperor, he 
had no further pretext for quarrelling, and could not 
therefore resort to violence in order to effect his pur- 
pose. But he skilfully availed himself of a time- 
honoured Oriental custom, seldom omitted by princes 
of equal rank, on State occasions. At the grand cere- 
mony a few days afterwards held in Delhi, for the 
purpose of re-instating Mohammed on the throne of 
his Tartar ancestors, Nadir suddenly took the oppor- 
tunity of asking him to exchange turbans, in token of 
reconciliation, and in order to cement the eternal 
friendship that they had just sworn for each other. 
Taken completely aback by this sudden move, and 
lacking the leisure even for reflection, Mohammed 
found himself checkmated by his wily rival, and was 
fain, with as much grace as possible, to accept the 
insidious request. Indeed the Persian conqueror left 
him no option, for he quickly removed his own 
national sheepskin head-dress, glittering with costly 
gems, and replaced it with the emperor's turban. 
Maintaining the proverbial .self-command of Oriental 
potentates Mohammed betrayed his surprise and 
chagrin by no outward sign, and so indifferent did he 



seem to the exchange, that for a moment Nadir began 
to fear he had been misled. Anxious to be relieved 
of his doubts, he hastily dismissed the durbar with 
renewed assurances of friendship and devotion. With- 
drawing to his tent he unfolded the turban, to dis- 
cover, with selfish rapture, the long coveted stone. 
He hailed the sparkling gem with the exclamation, 
"Koh-i-Nur!" signifying in English, "Mountain of 

At Nadir's death most of his treasures were 
dispersed, but the " Koh-i-Nur,'' henceforth known by 
this title, passed together with many other jewels 
into the hands of his feeble son, and temporary suc- 
cessor. Shah Rokh. On him it brought nothing but 
misfortune ; yet he clung to it with amazing tenacity, 
refusing to part with it under pressure of the must 
atrocious tortures, including even loss of sight. After 
his overthrow, he had been permitted to reside at 
Meshd, as governor of that city and district. Hither 
he brought the " Koh-i-Nur," together with many other 
gems of great value, which formed part of the plun- 
der carried off by his father from India. Aga Mo- 
hammed, who had an insatiable appetite for such 
things, determined to get possession of them ; and 
in order the more easily to effect his purpose, he 
advanced with a large force towards Meshd, under 
the pretext of visiting the sacred shrine of the 
Imam Riza, which is annually resorted to by many 
thousands of Shiah pilgrims. He thus succeeded 
in quietly occupying the city. After performing 
his devotions at the tomb of the saint, suddenly 
throwing off all disguise, he ordered the blind prince 


THE KOH-I-NUR. 1 23 

to deliver up his concealed treasures. As tlie in- 
fatuated Shall IvDkh still protested that he had 
already parted with them, he \\^as ordered to be 
put to fresh torture, which had the effect of bringing 
to light several costly gems. But as neither the 
" Koh-i-Nur " nor the immense ruby known to have 
been in the crown of Aurung-zeb were amongst 
them, Aga Mohammed devised a truly diabolical 
expedient to get hold of them. He ordered his 
victim's head to be closely shaved and encircled with 
a diadem of paste, and boiling oil to be poured into 
the receptacle thus formed. But even the frightful 
agonv of this torture could onlv induce the victim to 
surrender the ruby. He still retained his hold of the 
great diamond. The miserable monarch never re- 
covered from these hijuries. Before his death, Ahmed 
Shah, founder of the Durani x\fghan Empire, came to 
his assistance in 175 i, concluded an alliance with him, 
and received in return the fatal gem, whose brilliancy 
could no longer rejoice the lack-lustre e)-es of Shah 

Possession of the unlucky gem pro\'ed no less 
disastrous to the Durani d\-nasty than it had to the 
Mogul emperors, and to Nadir's familw At his death 
Ahmed Shah bequeathed it to his son and heir 
Taimur Shah, who removed the seat of government 
from Kandahar to Kabul, and who died in 1793. 

* P2arly in 1751. Ahmed was recalled to Me^lld hy tlie revolt ox'" Mir 
Allum Khan (Aga Mohammi/d i, Chief o! Kauin, who had seized on the 
treasure atMe^hd andhlinded and dethroned Sjiah Rokli i\Iui-za. Ahmed 
restored Shah Kokh and aoon alter to.'k Kauin and pet Mir Allum to death. 
Elphinstone's Kiifuil, p. 579. But according to other accounts Shah Rokh 
had already been blinded before the events here related. 


From TainiLir it descended, with the crown, to his 
eldest son, Shah Zaman, who was deposed and de- 
prived of his sight by his next brother. Shah Shuja 
ul-Mulk.* The usurper thus became possessed of the 
" Koh-i-Niir," which he retained almost to his death ; 
but which, nevertheless, involved him in an unin- 
terrupted series of calamities and sufferings. After 
having remained for many years concealed in the 
wall ot a stronghold, where Shah Zaman had been 
confined, the diamond was brought to light by the 
merest accident. Shah Zaman had, as he supposed, 
securely embedded it in the plaster of his prison 
wall. But in course of time a portion of the plaster 
crumbled away, leaving one of the sharp angles of 
the crystal exposed, or slightly protruding on the 
surface, Against this one of the officials happening 
to scratch his hand, his attention was attracted to the 
spot, his eye fell on the sparkling facet, and the 
" Koh-i-Nur " was once more rescued from its hiding 
place. At all State ceremonials Shah Shuja now 
wore it on his breast, where it glittered when 
Elphinstone was sent by the Indian Government as 
Envoy to Peshawur during that Prince's troubled 

In his turn dethroned, deprived of his sight, and 
driven into exile by Shah Mahmud, third son of 
Taimur, Shah Shuja had contrived, amidst all his 
disasters, to retain possession of the great diamond, 
with which he now withdrew to the court of the 

* " The messengers met Raman on his way to Kabul, and performed 
their orders by piercing his eyes with a lancet." — Elphinstone, op.cit. p. 579. 



famous Runjit-Singh, the " Lion of the Punjaub," 
accompanied by his brotlier, Shah Zaman, whom, as 
stated, he had himself ah-eady rendered sightless, 
according to the brutal fashion of the Durani court. 

Runjit at first received the two ill-starred brothers 
with open arms, and even declared war on their 
behalf against Shah Mahmud, from whom he took 
the territory of Kashmir, which at that time formed 
part of the Afghan dominions. He. however, not 
only forgot to restore their possessions to the unfor- 
tunate brothers, but began to oppress them in every 
way, and to extort from them all the treasures they 
had brought away from Kabul. Amongst these the 
" Koli-i-Nur " was coveted more than all the rest, and 
Runjit spared no efforts to get hold of it. How he at 
last effected his purpose is thus related by Kluge : — 

" Driven from Peshawur to Kashmir, and hence 
to Lahore, Shah Shuja became apparently the guest, 
but in reality the prisoner of Runjit Singh, who, 
though no connoisseur ot precious stones, none the 
less attached great importance to their possession. 
Of the 'Koh-i-Nur' he had heard only by report, and 
employed every means to secure it. Wufifo- Begum, 
consort of the unhappy king, had also sought and 
obtained protection from Runjit, and was conse- 
quently now residing in Shadera. Runjit ordered 
her to deliver up the stone, which, however, she 
protested was not in her possession. Thereupon he 
caused all her effects to be seized and brought to 
Lahore, thus acquiring jewels of greater value than 
any he had ever pos.sessed before. Supposing that 
the ' Koh-i-Nur' was amongst them, the bulk of the 


property, including shawls, carpets, and gems, was 
retained, and a few trifles returned to the Begum. 
But soon ascertaining that the 'Koh-i-NCu-' was not to 
be found amongst the jewels, he had the Begum closely 
watched ; two of her most intimate attendants were 
thrown into prison, and the other members of the 
Zenana deprived even of bread and water. No one, 
without being first searched, v/as allowed to approach 
or leave the princess, and it was at the same time 
intimated, that nothing but the surrender of the dia- 
mond would satisfy Runjit. Thereupon the Begum 
sent him some very costly stones, and amongst them 
a ruby of considerable value. Having, as stated, 
no personal knowledge of gems, the t}rant of the 
Punjaub now fancied that this ruby, which surpassed 
everything he had yet seen, must be the real stone. 
But in order to make assurance doubly sure, he sent 
for a person acquainted with the ' Koh-i-Nur,' placed 
all the stones before him, and asked, which is the 
' Koh-i-Niir } ' He received answer that it was not 
amongst those gems, which compared to it, were of 
little value. This made him all the more eager to 
procure it, and he again began to treat the Begum 
and her family with great harshness. After keeping 
them without food for two days, finding that she still 
held out, he gave up the hope of bringing her to 
terms by such means, and had recourse to more in- 
sinuating ways. She now promised to give up the 
stone, provided Runjit released Shah Shuja from 
captivity in Kaslunir, and conferred a life pension on 
him, besides sundry favours on her -elf and friends. 
Shah Shuja was liberated at once, but some of the 



conditions not havinc: been fulfilled, the Bcf^um de- 
clared that the stone was not in her keeping, but that 
it had been pledged to a merchant in Kandahar. 
Runjit thereupon returned to the former coercive 
measures, and the princess was once more deprived 
of food, but all to no purpose. At last Shah Shuja 
himself volunteered to surrender the stone, and a 
time was fixed, on which he promised to produce it. 

" On June i, 1813, the appointed day, Runjit, 
accompanied by several confidential friends, and 
some experts acquainted with the stone, proceeded 
to Shadera, w^here Shah Shuja ivas then residing. 
At the ensuing interview, after both were seated, a 
profound silence prevailed, which neither side seemed 
disposed to break. An hour was thus spent, and 
Runjit, notwithstanding his impatience, still abstained 
from interrupting the solemn stillness. He, however, 
hinted to a confidant that he might quietly remind 
Shah Shuja of the object of their interview. There- 
upon the latter nodded to a slave, who withdrew, 
and presently returning with a packet, which he placed 
on the carpet, at an equal distance from the two 
princes. Deep silence again ensues ; Runjit's im- 
patience grows to a fever heat ; no longer able to 
control his feelings, he directs one of the attendants 
to take up the packet ; it is opened, and a glittering 
gem of unusual size is revealed, and recognised by 
the experts as the true 'Koh-i-Nur.' At sight of the 
long-coveted prize, Runjit forgets the past, and breaks 
the silence with the question 'At what price do you 
value it.'' To which Shah Shuja replies 'At good 
luck, for it has ever been the associate of him who 


has vanquished his foes.' And he might have added 
with equal truth, ' At bad luck, for sorrow and suf- 
ferings have ever followed in its wake ! ' But by his 
answer he betrayed the true secret of the mysterious 
reverence akin to worship, with which choice gems 
of this sort have ever been regarded in the East, and 
till recently in the West." Much in the same way 
Marboeuf, bishop of Rennes, in the nth century, 
described in barbarous Latin verse, the virtues of the 
Agate, thus translated by King : — 

" The Agate on the wearer strength bestows. 
With ruddy health his fresh complexion glows ; 
Both eloquence and grace by it are given, 
He gains the favour both of earth and heaven." 

According to the account of a trustworthy eye- 
witness. Shah Shuja's bearing throughout this inter- 
view was such as to command the deepest respect, 
and produced a marked effect on the audience. He 
received from Runjit a sum of 125,000 rupees, and 
soon after this occurrence he withdrew with his 
brother, Shah Zaman, to Ludianah, in British terri- 
tory, where they resided for some time on an annual 
pension of 60,000 rupees each, and 6,000 to each of 
their eldest sons. Here Whittaker tells us that he 
saw them in 182 1, and he adds that Runjit at that 
time had the diamond at Lahore, capital of the Sikh 
States. "A Bengali shroff, or banker, named Silchurd, 
resident at Ludianah, having occasion to visit Lahore 
on the Rajah's business, asked his highness for per- 
mission to see the jewel, which being granted, Silchurd 
fell on his face and worshipped the stone." 

The further adventures of this splendid gem are 
soon told. Runjit caused it to be set in a bracelet 


THE KOH-I-NUR. 1 29 

which he wore on all public occasions. On his death 
bed in 1839, an attempt was made to induce him to 
conciliate the favour of the gods by presenting the 
stone to the famous shrine of Jaganath (Juggernaut). 
He is even said to have given his consent by an in- 
clination of the head ;* but the crown jeweller refused 
to surrender the treasure without a duly signed written 
warrant, which was being prepared when Runjit 
breathed his last. It thus remained in the Lahore 
jewel-chamber till the young Rajah Dhulip-Singh was 
recognised by the British Government (after the 
murder of Shu- Singh), when an English Agent was 
stationed with a strong body-guard in Lahore. Then 
followed the mutiny of the two Sikh Regiments, 
which brought about the final annexation of the 
Punjaub in 1840, when, as related by Hunt, "the civil 
authorities took possession of the Lahore Treasury, 
under the stipulations previously made that all the 
property of the State should be confiscated to the 
East India Company, in part payment of the debt 
due by the Lahore Government, and of the expenses 
of the war. It was at the same time stipulated that 
the 'Koh-i-Nur' should be presented to the Queen of 
England. After the Company became possessed of 
the gem, it was taken in charge by Lord Dalhousie, 

* King (p. 73) puts another complexion on this story. According to 
him Runjit was so convinced that nothing but ruin would ever attend the 
possession of the fatal stone that, ''having satisfied his covetousness in the 
enjoyment of its possession during his lifetime, he vainly sought to break 
through the ordinance of fate, and to avert tiie concomitant destruction from 
his family by bequeathing the stone to the shrine of Juggernaut for the good 
of his soul and the preservation of his dynasty. But his successors could 
not bring themselves to give up the baleful treasure — each one, doubtless, 
acting on the maxim 'apres moi le deluge.'" 


and sent by him to England in custody of two officers." 
Thus this great historical diamond passed with victory 
from East to West, and was presented to the future 
Kaiser-i-Hind on June 3, 1850. It was shown at the 
first great Exhibition held the following year in Hyde 
Park, on which occasion it attracted a great deal of 
attention, although it had been so unskilfully treated 
by the Indian cutter that it looked little better than 
an ordinary crystal. 

When brought to Europe it was found to weigh 
exactly iS6^q carats. We have seen that Baber 
gives the weight of Bikermajit's diamond ^t "about 
eight mishkels," or somewhat over 187 carats, while 
Tavernier repeatedly declares that the "Great Mogul '' 
was reduced by Borgio to 279 carats. Again the two 
stones were of totally different form, and the Mogul 
was without a history, having been quite recently dis- 
covered in the KoUur mine, whereas authentic records 
carried the"Koh-i-Nur" back to the year 1304, beyond 
which date it had a tradition giving it an antiquity of 
some fifty centuries. Several recent writers still, how- 
ever, persist in regarding these two distinct stones 
as one and the same gem. Even Professor Nicol, in 
the last edition of the Encyclopcudia Britaimica, re- 
vives this theory, and goes the length of suggesting 
that the " Great Mogul," the " Koh-i-Nur " and the 
stone found in Cucha in 1832, were all pieces of one 
original crystal. Speaking of the " Koh-i-Nur," he 
remarks that " its lower side is flat and undoubtedly 
corresponds to a cleavage plane. Hence it has been 
conjectured that it and the Russian ' Orloff ' diamond 
are portions of the original stone belonging to the 



' Great Mogul,' whilst a stone of 132 carats obtained 
by Abbas Mirza at the storming of Cucha in Khoras- 
san in 1832, may be a third fragment. This portion 
was long used by a peasant as a flint for striking fire. 
The three united would have nearly the form and 
size given by Tavernier, and the ' Koh-i-Nur ' would 
then surpass all known diamonds in its magnitude, as 
in its eventful history." For a refutation of this 
theory, the reader is referred to our account of the 
Abbas Mirza Diamond. 

In consequence of the clumsy way in which the 
Hindoo cutter had handled the " Koh-i-Niir,"at a time 
when the art was still, doubtless, in its infancy. Prince 
Albert consulted Sir David Brewster, as to how it 
might be re-cut to the best possible advantage. He 
found in it, as is the case with many other large dia- 
monds, several little caves, which he declared (accord- 
ing to his theory), to be the result of the expansive 
force of condensed gases. This, together with the 
flaws already noticed, he considered would make the 
cutting of it. without serious diminution, a very diffi- 
cult thing. Messrs. Coster, however, of Amsterdam, 
thought that in the hands of skilful workmen, the 
difficulties might be overcome. Several patterns of 
cuts were laid before Her Majest\- and the Prince 
Consort, and after due consultation, selection was 
made of the form which it now has, and which may 
be described as that of a regularly-cut brilliant. 

Mr. Voorsanger, of ]\Ir. Coster's establishment, 
was the workman entrusted with the responsible task 
of re-cutting the famous gem, and liis labours were 
conducted in the atelier of the Crown Jewels, in 


London.* To assist his object a small four-horse 
machine was erected, and the cutting commenced by 
the Prince Consort placing the diamond on the mill 
on the 6th of July, 1852. The operation was com- 
pleted at the end of thirty-eight days of twelve hours 
each. The " Star of the South," a much larger stone, 
was afterwards cut by the same hand in three months. 
But the " Pitt," or " Regent,'' treated by the slower 
hand-process of the eighteenth century, had occupied 
no less than two years. 

One of the flaws in the " Koh-i-Nur" gave great 
trouble. In order to remove it the number of revolu- 
tions of the cutting-wheel had to be increased to 
3,000 per minute, and even then the object was only 
attained very slowly. During the process of re- 
duction, the diamond lost exactly eighty carats in 
weight, having been reduced from i86j^^ to its present 
weight of io6j^g carats. 

After all, the result was far from giving universal 
satisfaction, although obtained at a cost of no less 

* It is questionable whether Her Majesty and the Government would 
not have been better advised, had they sent the stone direct to Amsterdam, 
for re-cutting by experts on the spot, instead of placing the work in the 
hands of a firm, more famous for their artificery in silver, than their cutting 
ot diamonds. The result, we venture to think, would have been a stone 
of greater brilliance than the present one. The responsibility of cutting 
a diamond of such value and historic interest as the '' Koh-i-Niir," is well 
illustrated by an anecdote connected with the latest manipulation ot the 
gem in question. While Mr. Sebastian Garrard was superintending the 
re-cutting, many professors and men of note went to the factory, to see the 
progress of the work, — the majority of them being of opinion that the stone 
would split into pieces during the operation. It is stated that, as they 
were passing from the factory to the shop, they encountered the late Mr. 
Robert Garrard, and put to him the following question: — " What would 
you do supposing the Koh-i-Niir does • fiy to pieces ? ' " "Take my name- 
plate off the door and bolt," was the ready answer. 



than jCS,ooo. The Prince Consort, who took the 
greatest interest in the operation, and whose sound 
advice had probably prevented a total failure, openly 
expressed his dissatisfaction with the work. 

On the treatment which the "Koh-i-NCir" re- 
ceived in the cutter's hands, King is very severe, 
remarking that owing to the flattened and oval 
figure of the stone, the brilliant pattern selected 
by the Queen's advisers "entailed the greatest 
possible amount of waste." He adds that Mr. Coster 
would have preferred the drop form, but that " in a 
historical relic like this, the sole course that would 
have recommended itself to a person of taste, was 
the judicious one pursued some years before by 
Messrs. Rundell and Bridge, in their re-cutting of 
the ' Nassak,' both in its native and artificial figure. 
In this, by following the trails of the Hindoo cutter, 
amending his defects, and accommodating the pattern 
to the exigencies of the subject matter, they trans- 
formed the rudely-facetted, lustreless mass, into a 
diamond of perfect brilliancy, at the sacrifice of no 
more than ten per cent, of its original weight." 

It may also be remarked that, although said to 
be cut as a brilliant, this great Oriental talisman is 
really only such in name, being much too thin to have 
satisfied the Jeffries, Ralph Potters, and the other 
great dealers of the last and beginning of the present 
century. In fact the cutting of the " Koh-i-Nur " on 
this occasion, revealed the painful fact that the art 
was then extinct in England, while even the Amster- 
dam and Paris operators had lost much of their 
former cunning. They followed a system of mere 


routine, betraying little inventive power, and show- 
ing themselves incapable of grappling with the 
problem of how best to reduce a stone, with the least 
sacrifice of its weight, and the greatest display of its 
natural lustre.* 

The " Koh-i-Nur " is preserved in Windsor Castle. 
A model of the gem is kept in the jewel room of the 
Tower of London, to satisfy the laudable curiosity of 
Her Majesty's faithful lieges. Although not of the 
very finest water, and of a greyish tinge, the stone 
was valued before being re-cut at about iJ" 140,000. 
But Barbot considers it far from being worth 
such a sum. He allows, however, that it is still an 
extraordinary stone, " but more on account of its 
great surface than for its play, which is almost 
neutralised by its great spread." It must, however, 
be remembered that this is the criticism of a French- 
man naturally alarmed for the hitherto unrivalled re- 
putation of the " Regent." Since Burbot's time it will 
be seen in our account of the " English Dresden," that 
the lustre even of the " Regent," has been somewhat 
dimmed by the absolutely faultless character of the 
Bagagem crystal. 

Although yielding to these and perhaps to one 
or two others in brilliancy, as it does to several in size, 
the "Koh-i-Niir" must ever remain without a rival 
for the intense interest attaching to the sanguinary 
and romantic incidents associated with its marvellous 
career. A strange fatality presided over its early 

* The art however, has withhi tl)c last few years not only been 
revived, but now far surpasses anything ever hitherto accomplished. 



vicissitudes, but its alleged " uncannie " powers have 
now ceased to be a subject of apprehension. Its 
latest history eloquently demonstrates the fact that 
extended empire is a blessing, just in proportion 
as it finds hearts and hands willing to fulfil the high 
duties which increased privileges involve. 


A City of Gems and Jewels — Nadir Shahs Descent on Delhi 
— Indiscriminate Slaughter and Plunder — The Shah 
of Persia's Largest Diamond, " Sea of Light " — Its 
Shape and Character— Is the" Darya-i-Nur" the Missing 
" Mogul ?"— " Opinions Differ "—A ReUable Judgment. 

OHAMMED Shah, who inherited the 
spoils extorted by his progenitors from 
the unhappy kings of Golconda and 
Beejapoor, sat upon the throne of 
Delhi, a mark for any adventurous warrior who 
had the courage to descend the Suleiman range, 
and, crossing the Indus, march straight to the 
most luxurious capital of the Eastern empire. 
Jewels of unequalled magnitude and lustre were 
openly exposed in durbars of the Palace, on the 
holy shrines, and in the princely demesnes of its 
Maharajah, its nobles and its merchants. Nothing 
in the history of modern times can equal the inroad 
of the humbly- born sheep-skin clothier. Nadir Shah, 
who had mounted the throne of Persia. Without 
warning, this warrior-prince came boldly on the 
devoted city, and having plundered its palaces, laid 
waste its populous streets, which he choked up with 
the dead of his opponents. He removed his booty 
with reckless prodigality, amidst the fire and smoke 
of the devastated public buildings. Nothing of value 
escaped the rapine of this merciless murderer. The 


peacock throne with its priceless jewels, the treasures 
of the general populace, even the ordinary stores 
of the labourer went in the indiscriminate loot. 
The "Koh-i-Nur" (as previously shown), and the 
" Darya-i-Nur," with waggon-loads of less renowned, 
but hardly less valuable things, were removed en masse 
to Khorassan, where the murderer arrayed himself in 
the spoils of his royal victim, and unconsciously by 
his very triumph, paved the way to his own murder, 
and the destruction of his dynasty and race. 

" The Darya-i-Nur," which in imagination might 
seem to flash blood red rays, came out of this carnage, 
pure and lovely as when it was first cut. It is pro- 
bably the finest gem, as it certainly is the largest 
diamond belonging to the Shah of Persia. It is a 
magnificent stone of the purest water, and of almost 
matchless lustre, fully deserving the proud title of 
" Sea or River of Light," by which it has always 
been known in Persia.* It appears to be rose-cut, 
and weighs i86 carats, which, strange to say, was the 
exact weight of the " Koh-i-Nur," before that famous 
L'^em was re-cut in London. Were there anv truth 
in the story that the emperor Aurung-zeb had the 
" Koh-i-Niir," and another stone of like size, set in 
the eyes of the peacock overshadowing his throne, we 
might well suppose that this was the corresponding 

* In Persian , "^ W;^ — Daiya-i-Niir — Sea or River of Light. 
Although the adjective Daryai strictly means marinL-, the noun Darya is 
applied indifferently to seas and rivers, as in Amu-Darya, the Persian 
name of the river Oxus Niir is " Light ;'' as in the corresponding ex. 
pression A'c/^-r-Awr— Mound of Light, 



gem.* In any case, it seems tolerably certain 
that the " Darya-i-Nur " was one of the diamonds 
carried off by Nadir Shah, when he plundered the 
Delhi treasury in 1739. But if it was never associated 
with the " Koh-i-Nur," it is now at least fittingly 
coupled with the "Taj-e-Mah," a gem of scarcely 
inferior splendour, for both of these superb diamonds 
figure as the ornaments in a pair of magnificent 
bracelets, which Sir John Malcolm tells us he saw 
in Persia, and which were valued at no less than 
one million sterling. 

Some writers have suggested that the " Darya-i- 
Nur" may possibly be the missing " Great Mogul," of 
which nothing has been heard since the time it was 
seen by Tavernier in Aurung-zeb's treasury in 1665. 
Thus Barbot, amongst others, writes that, " Thamask 
Kouli-Khan, so famous under the name of Nadir 
Shah, seems to have got possession of the ' Great 
Mogul.' If so it may now be in Persia, where it is 
known by the name of * Darya-i-Nur,' or ' Ocean of 
Light.' " 

But while it is quite possible, and even probable 
that Nadir may have seized the " Great Mogul," it does 
not at all follow that this diamond is now represented 
by the " Darya-i-Nur." On the contrary, the two stones 
differ so widely in size and form that they cannot 
possibly be the same jewel under two different names. 
The " Great Mogul," as we have seen, was reduced in 

 It will be seen in our account ol the '•.Jehan-Ghii-Sliah " that this 
stone i?> also one of the rivals for tlie honour of having formed a companion 
of the '' Koh-i-Nir " in the peacock throne ; but, for the reasons there stated 
none of these claims can be accepted as valid. 

THE DARYA-r-NUR. 1 39 

Borgio's hands to 279^^^ carats, whereas Malcolm tells 
us that the " Darya-i-Nur " weighs only 186 carats. In 
shape the former presented the appearance of an egg 
cut in half, whereas the latter appears to be rather 
of a flat oval form. It is also mounted in a 
bracelet, a setting for which the " Great Mogul " 
would be unsuited. Hence, whatever its origin, the 
" Darya-i-Nur ■' cannot at all events be identified 
with the great Indian diamond. 

A full account of the " Darya-i-Niir's" adventurous 
career, after it passed from Nadir Shah to his son, 
Shah Rukh, will be found in the chapter devoted to 
the " Taj-e-Mah." 


A Name that excites Unpleasant Reflections— Incidents of 
lintish Warfare in India — The Assault and Capture 
of Ahmedabad — The Opportunities of Collectors. 

HMEDABAD is not a pleasant name 
to British ears. A French officer, the 
ChevaUer St. Lubin, acting secretly 
with some Mahratta chief, following up 
in the Ghauts the schemes he had only two success- 
fully adopted in Mysore, produced the disasters 
attending the war of Hyder Ali with the Madras 
Government. Governor-General Warren Hastings 
directed that a force should be sent to assist the 
Government of Bombay. The Peishwa of Poonah 
was an infant, and the chief authority was thrown 
into the hands of Rugonath Raw. 

Without waiting for the support of the troops 
from Bengal, the Government of Bombay commenced 
hostilities. The troops of the former Presidency 
moved slowly, harrassed by the Mahrattas, and before 
a general action was attempted Colonel Kay and 
Captain Stewart fell in a skirmish. 

Colonel Egerton was compelled to relinguish the 
command, and the British troops commenced an ill- 
considered retreat. On the nth January, 1779, this 
retreat degenerated into a rout. So little power had 


the British in Bombay reserved to themselves, thnt 
when their ally Rugonath Raw was demanded to be 
surrendered by the Poona minister, the panic-stricken 
Government of Bombay would have given him up, 
had he not made his escape to Scindia. The British, 
by the help of Scindia, made a convention with the 
Mahratta Government of Poona, by which the Island 
of Salsette was to be ceded, and the fort and govern- 
ment of Baroach were to be added to Scindia's 
kingdom, two hostages being left to secure the per- 
formance of that engagement from the British. This 
arrangement cost England 41,000 rupees as presents 
for the good offices of some powerful Hindoos. 

The Bengal contingent was intercepted by native 
chiefs, and so little progress had Colonel Leslie made 
in five months that the Governor-General recalled 
him, and appointed Colonel Goddard to succeed to the 
command. After this the Bengal contingent was 
very soon marched into Bombay, and in 1780 Colonel 
Goddard put his army in motion, and Ahmedabad 
was taken by assault. From its position, at the 
eastern end of Gujerat, both Scindia and Holkar 
were threatened with check, and these two chiefs 
advanced to give battle to Goddard, when the British 
general at once accepted the challenge. Scindia used 
all the eastern arts to avert the engagement he had 
challenged, but Goddard brought the matter to an end 
by an attack upon the enemy's camp, which proved 
successful. In the meantime a small force under 
Captain Popham attacked Lahar, 50 miles from 
Calpie, and, to the astonishment of Sir Eyre Coote, 
carried it by storm. If possible, it was an object of 


great importance to take Gwalior, deemed by the 
Indian military authorities impregnable. Popham 
sat down to consider how to deal with the " exceed- 
ing high rock — scarped nearly all round " and garri- 
soned by a thousand men. He saw his point, and 
actually determined personally to attempt the capture, 
and after midnight he was in the fort. This gave 
Bombay a respite and a lesson. 

Such bandits as the Mahrattas, are constantly 
dividing the booty taken in the expeditions 
against feebler communities. In a hotly contested 
engagement like that of Ahmedabad, the soldiers 
of the native chiefs often find valuable loot on the 
persons of their officers, whom they rob when dead or 
severely wounded. These are the occasions which 
skilled collectors of valuables improve. We readily 
believe M. Tavernier when he says that he purchased 
this magnificent stone, the " ' Ahmedabad,' for one of 
his friends, and that it originally weighed 157^ carats, 
but after being cut on either side the jewel was re- 
duced to 94^ carats, and that its water was perfect. 
The flat side, where there were two flaws below, 
was about the thickness of a sheet of stout paper. 
When I had the stone I caused all this part to be re- 
moved together with a portion of the upper point 
where little flaws remained."* 

It is strange that nothing further should be known 
regarding a stone, which, even when reduced by 

* '' Le coste plat ou il y a deux glaces au bas estoit mince comme 
une feuille de gros papier. En faisant tailler la pierre je fis emporter tout 
ce morceau mince avec une partie du bout d'en-haut, ou il est reste une 
petite pointe de glace." — It is figured in the first edition ot his work 
Vol. II., p. 334. 


cutting, was still over 94 carats in weight. Tavernier 
probably never brought it to Europe, but disposed of 
it in Persia, where there are still many hidden 
treasures, destined again to turn up whenever 
liberal institutions are introduced into that oppressed 



The Kimberley Mine-A Surprise— " Test Diamonds"— 
Mr. Porter- Rhodes at Osborne — Presented to the 
Queen— Her Majesty's Opinion of the Famous Cape 
Stone— At Osborne Cottage-^The Empress Eugenie 
an Authority on Gems— Handling the "Koh-i-Niir" 
at Windsor. 

HE recent exhibition of the "Porter- 
Rhodes" in Bond Street, London, has 
made this remarkable stone a familiar 
object to connoisseurs. During the 
winter of 1881, many ladies and gentlemen inspected 
it, and heard from the lips of the owner, some of the 
details of its discovery. Notes upon the question of 
its value have been published in the leading journals, 
wherein it has been stated that while a syndicate of 
English diamond merchants had offered him ;^6o,ooo 
for his treasure, he estimates its value at more than 
^^200,000. The history of the .stone (which is as yet 
uncut), and the opinions of Her Majesty the Queen, 
and Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Eugenie, are 
set forth in the following letter, written to Mr. Streeter 
by Mr. Porter- Rhodes. 

" In giving an account of the Blue- White Dia- 
mond, weighing 150 carats, which is known as the 
' Porter-Rhodes Diamond,' I am, since my visit to 
vou, more assured of the great worth of the stone, 


and from information derived from reliable sources, 
I have every confidence in saying, I firmly believe it 
has no rival. The diamond was found on the 12th 
of February, 1880, in one of my claims, (or diggings), 
situated in what is known as the Kimberley Mine, 
Diamond Fields, South Africa. Here, at mid-day, 
the workmen are allowed to leave the mine, and are 
away somewhat over an hour for dinner. I was in the 
habit of meeting my overseers at this time every day, 
for the purpose of ascertaining whether anything 
good had been found, or other news in connection 
with the mine, and I had always impressed upon 
them, in case of a good stone being unearthed, they 
were not to mention the fact before the diamond had 
been handed to me. The reason for this, no doubt, 
you will quite understand. At that time, and even 
now, the dealers in rough diamonds like to be in the 
position of knowing that the diamond or parcel of 
diamonds, purchased from the claimholder, had not 
been offered for sale to any of their neighbours in 
opposition establishments, and I believe I have at 
times, obtained higher prices, through being able to 
shew that no other dealer had seen the stones. Why 
this should make any difference I am unable to tell. 
On the 1 2th of February, 1880, I had been busily 
engaged at the Magistrate's Court, in connection with 
a case I had against a native, who had been misbe- 
having himself, and was not released until a few 
minutes after the time. 12 o'clock, when I should 
have been at the edge of the mine, to hear the news. 
However, I went in the direction where I was most 
likely to meet my chief overseer, and fortunately saw 


him in the street, and at a glance saw something 
unusual had happened. In reply to my question 
' Anything good to-day .'' ' ' Yes, a white one this 
time,' he replied, and at the same moment pro- 
ceeded to hand the stone to me, which I partially 
hesitated in taking. I saw it was so uncommonly 
white, that I thought some one had been playing a 
practical joke upon the man, but once in my hand, I 
realised its genuineness. I had had the diamond 
about four months before the fact was made publicly 
known. Besieged by gentlemen anxious for a sight 
of it, I made arrangements with a friend, who kindly 
consented to allow me to exhibit the diamond in his 
office. We had some difficulty in restraining the 
crowd, as each person expected to be allowed to 
handle it, which I considered reasonable enough. 
There was great excitement amongst those who 
understood the matter, each willingly paying a 
sovereign, and within an hour I had taken ;^ioo. 
This, with further amounts, arrived at something like 
iJ^500, and was handed to the managing committee of 
our hospital on the diamond fields. I must mention 
that most of the dealers keep what you will better 
know as 'test stones,' for the purpose of trying the 
color of parcels of diamonds offered them for sale, 
as according to the light of the day, or the tint of 
the particular kind of paper the stones may be 
wrapped in, the buyers are apt to be deceived, and 
to guard against this, the ' test stones ' are placed 
with the others, by which means, they better assure 
themselves of the quality of the stones offered. Many 
gentlemen produced their ' test diamonds,' and I am 


happy to sa}-, when placed next to mine, even to the 
smallest, there was not one so white, and I felt on 
this account, all the more gratified to hear each gen- 
tleman in his turn, add to the compliments they had 
already paid me upon the purity of what is now 
known as the ' Porter-Rhodes Diamond.' 

" When leaving Kimberley, I was fortunate 
enough to receive a letter from Mr. Orpen, then our 
Surveyor-General, introducing me to Colonel Gawler, 
who has charge of the Crown Jewels. In him I found 
a thorough English gentleman, who, shewing me 
every possible kindness, ready to assist me, so far as 
his position allowed, in furthering the object of my 
visit to England. Through Colonel Gawler's influence, 
it was arranged that I should pay a visit to Osborne, 
where our Queen was then living, and there exhibit 
the stone to Her Majesty. I left London on the i8th 
of January, 1881, which you will no doubt remember 
as the day of the very heavy snow-storm. The line 
was so blocked by the drifting of the snow, that the 
train arrived at its destination too late for my ap- 
pointment. I communicated with Sir John Cowell, 
who is Master of the Queen's Household, mentioning 
the unfortunate position I was in. He replied that 
Her Majesty understood the case, and would allow 
me to present myself the next day. I took good care 
not to be late on this occasion, and found myself at 
Osborne atthe right time. The attendants shewed me 
into the apartments of the Master of the Household, 
and after spending some time with Sir John and Lady 
Cowell, it was announced that the Queen was pre- 
pared to receive me. On being presented to Her 


Majesty and His Royal Highness Prince Leopold, I 
broke the seal of the envelope covering the diamond, 
and handed it to the Queen, Her Majesty being the 
first to see it out of South Africa, At a glance 1 
think, she saw its great beauty, and I was more 
assured when the question followed ' Is it really 
from the Cape ? ' I think you will agree with me 
that people in England know but very little of the 
Cape, and under-estimate its worth. I explained to 
Her Majesty how we are robbed by a low class of 
men known to the diggers as ' Illicit Diamond 
Dealers,' and how closely we are obliged to watch 
the natives in consequence, necessarily entailing very 
heavy cost. Her Majesty after examining the stone 
thoroughly, and evidently understanding the subject, 
congratulated me upon its great purity, as well as 
upon m)^ good fortune in having secured it from the 
h nds of the illicit diamond buyers. The Queen 
then withdrew, and Prince Leopold, accompanied by 
Princess Beatrice entered, and on their inspection of 
the stone, I was equally pleased with the interest 
displayed, and the kind expressions used. After 
exhibiting the stone to a number of ladies and gen- 
tlemen of the Court, I was taken by Captain Bigge 
to what is known as Osborne Cottage, then the tem- 
porary residence of the Empress Eugenie, where we 
were received very kindly, and had not waited many 
minutes when the Empress entered. This audience 
was most entertaining, as I found the Empress to be 
quite an authority on the subject, and in possession 
of the history of all diamonds of note. The Empress 
said everything good possible of the stone,, and 


remarked that it was ' simply perfection,' not knowing 
what to compare it with. Here, too, I was asked, 
' are you sure the diamond is from South Africa, and 
have you not had it polished a little ?' I was some- 
what amused when the Empress remarked, ' I have 
always been under the impression that diamonds from 
the Cape were very yellow, and worth but little.' I 
believe I convinced Her Majesty of the fact that 
good stones are exported from the Cape, and I am 
sure, Mr. Streeter, in referring to you, I have no better 
authority to bear me out on the subject. 

" Before leaving Osborne, I took the precaution to 
ask if I might be allowed to inspect the great " Koh-i- 
Nur," and I am happy to say Her Majesty graciously 
granted me permission ; but I was not then aware of 
the gem being kept at Windsor. A short time after, 
when the Queen returned to Windsor Castle, I had 
the honour, in company with my sister, of viewing 
this grand historical stone, and I am proud to be able 
to say, allowed to handle it, an honour I think which 
has fallen to the lot of very few. I shall never forget 
the pleasure experienced at my reception by the 
English Court. I have too, a handsome watch and 
chain, presented to me by Her Majesty, and this I 
trust, will be an everlasting remembrance of the for- 
tunate time when I was admitted to the presence of 
our gracious Sovereign, Victoria." 



Gems 111 the Turkish Regalia — Abdul Aziz and his Creditor 
— An Incident of Turkish Trouble — A Reign of Terror. 

HER]^2 are two large diamonds in the 
Turkish Regalia of which little or 
nothing is known beyond the fact of 
their existence. We have named them 
as above. The first weighs 147, and the second 
84 carats, The heaviest of the two is said to have been 
" picked up on the sands by a boy." One can hardly 
imagine a more vague description of discovery. 
We have made considerable efforts to obtain fuller 
information in regard to the antecedents and present 
character and appearance of these two gems, but so 
far without success. A gentleman holding an official 
position in the East undertook to assist us. He wrote 
to us as follows from Galata on July 19, 1881. 

" In reply to yours of I ith inst., I beg to say that 
I shall endeavour to get the information 3'ou seek ; 
but as the Turkish fast, the Ramazan, is now coming 
on, it is quite useless to attempt anything till after 
Bairam, that is in five weeks. I shall then apply, 
through the Embassy, for a firman to inspect the 


jewels, which may or may not be given. At that 
time I shall also endeavour to get such drawings and 
legends as you wish for. 1 may, however, say that 
of late years immense robberies have gone on ; and 
very likely the stones you speak of have disappeared. 
When Abdul Aziz was dethroned, and Murad came 
in, he paid his banker, a certain Christaki Efifendi, 
the debt he owed him (;^500,ooo) in diamonds ; giving 
him, so it is alleged, no less than ;^8oo,ooo worth of 
stones. Christaki Effendi went to Paris, where he 
disposed of the gems ; but as Murad in the mean- 
while was dethroned, he never took the trouble either 
to come back or to render an account. It is thus 
very likely that my search for the stones of which you 
speak may be fruitless. In the meantime you must 
be patient, and I shall promise not to forget your 

Five months later our correspondent writes again, 
this time from Constantinople : — 

" I have your memorandum of 2nd inst., and can 
well understand that you are surprised at my long 
silence. I regret, however, to say that I am not one 
whit nearer the information you desire than when 
you first wrote to me about it ; and that I doubt very 
much if I ever shall get anything reliable to com- 
municate to you. I have taken no inconsiderable 
amount of trouble in the matter, and have approached 
several high and influential men on the subject ; but 
with absolutely no result. It is not at all a question 
of money ; but simply this, that the reign of terror 
in the palace is so absolute, that no one would ever 
dare to ask a question referring to crown jewels." 


It is possible that at a future day we may 
unearth the true stories of these Turkish gems. At 
present we must leave the subject where it is. The 
unsettled state of affairs at the Porte is graphically 
illustrated in the closing sentence of our agent's 
second letter. 



The Diamond Works of Sninbhulpore — Mining Under Diffi- 
culties — Diamond Seekers at Work— A Famous Region — 
Robbed and Exiled— A Monarch on the Rack — The 
Royal Torturer Assassinated — A Gorgeous Bracelet^ 
Royal Gems — Uncivilized Persia — A Strange Story — 
The Philosophic Content of a Blinded King. 

HIS gem is acknowledged to be of Indian 
origin, and has the character of a 
Godaverv stone. It is like its twin 
the Darya-i-Nur, of first water, and 
is claimed by the diamond finders as a Mahanuddy 
which in Sanscrit is the synonym of " great river," 
and is appropriated to the stream which runs from 
west to east and falls into the Bay of Bengal. 

The diamond works of Sumbhulpore are not 
rich in large first class diamonds, but they have been 
remarkable for their clear water. The reason of the 
ill success attending the working of these diamanti- 
ferous fields is that in the north the jungle, in addition 
to being pestiferous, is the haunt of the tiger and the 
leopard. Natives also affirm that it is the only spot 
in India where the lion has been found. It is rich in 
gold and produces gems of the first water. The 
petty chiefs have always striven to keep the know- 
ledge of this unpeopled mining di.strict to themselves 
fearing alike the Mahratta and Mohammedan inter- 
ference. They have generally taken quiet posses- 
sion of such produce as was washed down the torrent 



into the larger affluents. In 1818 this province 
came into the British possession, but the British 
workmen stationed at Sumbhulpore fell victims to 
the insalubrity of the country. The part of the 
river Mahanuddy in which diamonds were found 
reaches from Chundepore where the Maund joins 
the main stream to Sohnpore where the Mahanuddy 
makes a sudden bend to the north producing an exten- 
sive mud bank on the northern shore, making alto- 
gether a course of 120 miles. Throughout this extent 
the diamond searchers ply their unwholesome trade 
from the time when the rains cease to their periodical 
return. These labourers are of two tribes called 
Jhara and Tora. The former are said to be Gonds, 
an aboriginal race, and the latter a mixed people. 
When the rain has ceased the Jhara and Tora 
searchers repair to the upper Mahanuddy, with their 
wives and children, and explore the beds, especially 
the alluvial deposits. The principal tool which they 
employ is a sharp pickaxe. All the detritus is well 
washed. The hard stony matter is looked at care- 
fully by the women. It is put thinly on planks and 
exposed to the glare of the sun, which shows up the 
character of the calcareous " detrit." Every particle 
of red ochrey clay coloured by oxide of iron, is passed 
through the fingers and thumb, and examined 
minutely, as this is richest in diamonds. But con- 
cealment of the stones was and perhaps is very easy 
and common. In 18 18, the year of the dispersement 
of the Pindarics and not less thieving masters, the 
Mahrattas, the native searchers found by some ex- 
periments that the white man's agent valued fairly 


some fine stones brought for his inspection, and the 
agent very shortly after had a stone of 81 carats (a 
Brahmin) brought to him at Sumbhulpore, which 
he vakied at ^^500. The names given to the 
various stones are classed into four divisions — ist. 
Brahmins ; 2nd, Kshatrias ; 3rd, Vaisyas ; and 
4th, Sudras. 

The native searchers are allowed sixteen villages 
rent free, and all the gold they find they may appro- 
priate for their own use. The Ranee, Rullum Coher, 
in the beginning of this century, received one diamond 
of 72 carats, and a second, or its nominal twin, of ^j 
carats, with many equally clear but smaller gems. In 
1809 a gem of 168 carats was discovered, and found a 
place in her treasury. The repute of the possession of 
these gems got abroad, and Holkar's or Scindia's 
Mahratta troops swooped down upon her territory, 
robbed her of her gems, and drove her into exile. 
The stones were supposed to have been deposited in 
the stronghold of Asseeghur, and were taken by the 
British in the early spring of 18 19, at the breaking up 
of the Mahratta confederacy. The " Taj-e-Mah " pre- 
sented so much the character of the gems in question, 
although exceeding them in size and weight, that the 
birth place of the stone is attributed to the upper 
Mahanadi or Mahanuddy. It found its way into the 
bands of Mir Jumna, the diamond merchant, and the 
Shah of Persia obtained it either directly or indi- 
rectly from his hands as will be shown in the historic 
sketch which follows :• — 

The " Taj-e-Mah " is perhaps the very finest gem 
in the Persian collection. But notwithstanding its 


Persian title,* its Indian origin is betrayed by its 
shape, for it is skilfully cut in the form of a rose 
diamond, the style almost universally adopted in 
Hindoostan. From that country it was brought away 
with a vast quantity of other treasures, variously esti- 
mated at from ^^30,000,000 to ^60,000,000 by the 
Perso-Tartar conqueror, Nadir Shah, in 1739. After 
his death in 1747 it was rescued from the pillage of 
his effects which then took place, and thus came into 
the possession of his unfortunate successor, Shah 
Rokh. When this feeble ruler fell into the power of 
the usurper, Aga Mohammed, he clung with incredible 
tenacity to the glittering treasures which had been 
saved from the wreck of his father's property. For a 
long time he endured with the constancy of a martyr 
the cruel treatment and horrible tortures to which the 
usurper subjected him. Exposed alternately to the 
pains of hunger and thirst, heat and cold, racked, 
torn with red hot pincers, and at last deprived of his 
eyes by the usual Persian process of cold steel, his 
firmness gradually gave way, and he yielded up the 
costly gems one by one, with each successive applica- 
tion of the rack or pincers, of burning heat and biting 

By this means Aga Mohammed succeeded at length 
in getting possession of the bulk of the crown jewels, 
including both the " Taj-e-Mah " and the " Darya- 
i-Nur." But the usurper proved no exception to the 
evil destiny usually attending the possession of these 
large diamonds. He was himself soon afterwards 

* The Persian title is i>^ g-^ — Taj-e-Mah, literally the 
" Crown or Crest of the Moon." 


assassinated by the emissaries of the rival faction at 
that time contending for the throne of the " king of 
kings." After his death the murderers handed over 
all his jewels to Sadek Khan Shekaki, who had been 
one of his leading generals, but who was suspected of 
having been privy to the murder. Since then the 
"Taj-e-Mah" and "Darya-i-Nur " have remained in 
the possession of the Persian monarchs, and are now 
set in a pair of magnificent bracelets, which are re- 
puted to be worth about a million sterling. 

Our authority for this statement, and in fact, 
for nearly all our historical notes, regarding both 
the "Taj-e-Mah" and " Darya-i-Nur," is Sir John 
Malcolm, who visited Persia in an official capacity 
early in the present century, and who, at an interview 
with the Shah in Teheran, was allowed to inspect the 
crown regalia. He thus relates the incident in his 
Sketches of Persia, published anonymously, 1827: — 
"The king, at this visit, appeared in great good 
humour with the Elchi, and gratified the latter by 
shewing him his richest jewels, amongst which was 
the ' Sea of Light,' which is deemed one of the 
purest and most valuable diamonds in the world. 
Many of the others are surprisingly splendid." Sir 
John Malcolm adds, 'The 'Darya-i-Nur,' or 'Sea of 
Light' weighs 186 carats, and is considered to be the 
diamond of the finest lustre in the world. The ' Taj- 
e-Mah,' or ' Crown of the Moon,' is also a splendid 
diamond. It weighs 146 carats. These two are the 
principal in a pair of bracelets, valued at near a 
million sterling. Those in the crown are also of 
extraordinary size and value." 


In our account of the "Koh-i-Nur" allusion 
was made to the horrible practice of gouging out 
the eyes of political opponents, until recently so 
prevalent both in Persia and Afghanistan. The in- 
difference with which these frightful cruelties came to 
be regarded, even by the victims themselves, is well 
illustrated by the following graphic story of Riza 
Kuli Khan, related by Sir John Malcolm in the work 
just quoted. 

" Riza Kuli Khan, the governor of Kazerun, 
came to pay the Elchi a visit. This old nobleman 
had a silk band over his eye-sockets, having had his 
eyes put out during the late contest between the 
Zend and Kajar families for the throne of Persia. 
He began, soon after he was seated, to relate his 
misfortunes, and the tears actually came to my eyes, 
at the thoughts of the old man's sufferings, when 
judge of my surprise to find it was to entertain, not 
to distress us, he was giving this narration, and that, 
in spite of the revolting subject, I was compelled to 
smile at the tale, which in any country except Persia, 
would have been deemed a subject for a tragedy. 
But as poisons may by use become aliment, so mis- 
fortunes, however dreadful, when they are of daily 
occurrence, appear like common events of life. But 
it was the manner and feelings of the narrator that, 
in this instance, gave the comic effect to the tragedy 
of which he was the hero. 

" I had been too active a partizan," said Riza 
Khan, "of the Kajir family, to expect much mercy 
when I fell into the hands of the rascally tribe of 
Zend. I looked for death, and was rather surprised 


at the lenity which only condemned me to the loss of 
my eyes. A stout fellow of a feresh (menial servant), 
came as executioner of the sentence. He had in his 
hand a large blunt knife, which he meant to make his 
instrument. I offered him twenty tomams if he would 
use a penknife I shewed him. He refused in the most 
brutal manner, called me a merciless villain, asserting 
that I had slain his brother, and that he had solicited 
the present office to gratify his revenge, adding, his 
only regret was, not being allowed to put me to death. 
" Seeing," continued Riza, " that I had no tender- 
ness to look for from this fellow, I pretended submis- 
sion, and laid myself on my back. He seemed quite 
pleased, tucked up his sleeves, brandished his knife, 
and very composedly put one knee on my chest, and 
was proceeding to his butchering work, as if I had 
been a stupid innocent lamb, that was quite content 
to do what he chose. Observing him, from this im- 
pression, off his guard, I raised one of my feet, and, 
planting it on the pit of his stomach, sent him " heels 
over head" in away that would have made you laugh 
(imitating with his foot the action he described, and 
laughing heartily himself at the recollection of it). I 
sprang up, so did my enemy ; we had a short tussle, 
but he was stronger, and, having knocked me down, 
succeeded in taking out my eyes." " The pain at the 
moment," said the old Khan, " was lessened by the 
warmth occasioned by the struggle. The wounds soon 
healed, and when the Kajirs obtained the undisputed 
sovereignty of Persia, I was rewarded for my suffering 
in their cause. All my sons have been promoted, and 
I am governor of this town and province. Here I am 


in affluence, and enjoy a repose to which men zvho can 
see are, in this country, perfect strangers. If there is a 
deficiency of revenue, or any real or alleged cause for 
which another governor would be removed, beaten, or 
put to death, the king says, " Never mind ; it is only 
poor blind Riza Kuli; let him alone." So you observe 
Elchi, that I have no reason to complain, being in fact 
better defended from misfortune by the loss of my two 
eyes than I could by the possession of twenty of the 
clearest in Persia," and he laughed again at this second 


Official History— A Romantic Ston — A Great Diamond Mis- 
taken for a Piece of Glass — Fact and Fiction— Charles 
the Bold and "The Florentine '"—A Splendid "Cap 
of Maintenance." 

HE history and identity of this stone 
have given rise to much controversy ; 
but there can be no longer any reason- 
able doubt that it is the same gem 
which Tavernier tells us he saw " more than once " 
amongst the treasures of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, 
and which has been variously known as the " Tuscan," 
the " Florentine," and the " Austrian." He says that 
"it weighs 139I carats, is pure and of fine form, 
cut on all sides in facets, and of a citron tint," a des- 
cription corresponding in every respect to that of 
the stone under consideration. It was the largest 
diamond in Europe in his time, but owing to its citron 
or yellow colour was not so highly esteemed as it 
would otherwise have been. According to the rule 
given by Tavernier for calculating the market value 
of large stones, he finds that " this diamond should be 
worth 2.608,335 livres."* It has been in the possession 

 "Le diamant du Grand Due de Toscane pese 119^ carats, et il 
est de belle forme taille de tous les costez a facettes, et comme I'eau tire un 
peu sur la couleur de citron je ne mets le premier curat qu' a 135 iivics 


of the House of Austria since the time of Maria 
Theresa, and the subjoined official account of it 
is embodied in the recently issued Catalogue of the 
Objects contained in the Treasury of the Imperial and 
Royal House of Austria, kindly forwarded to us by 
the Austrian Ambassador in London : — 

" The * Florentine,' also called the ' Great 
Florentine diamond,' actually forming part of a hat- 
button, is known to be one of the largest diamonds in 
the world. It weighs 133^ carats of Vienna,-f but is 
rather yellow. The stone is cut in nine surfaces 
covered with facets forming a star with nine rays. 
This jewel was once the property of Charles the Bold, 
Duke of Burgundy, who according to the custom of 
the day carried all his valuables in the battle-field, 
first to have them always in sight, and, secondly, on 
account of the mysterious power then attributed to 
precious stones. Charles lost this diamond at the 
battle of Morat on the 22nd June, 1476. Tradition 
relates that it was picked up by a peasant who took it 
for a piece of glass, and sold it for a florin. The new 
owner, Bartholomew May, a citizen of Berne, sold it 

suf lequel pied le diamant doit valoir 2,608,335 livres." — Vol. II., ji. 290 of 
i68i ed. The rule is here laid down at p. 288. Square the number of 
carats, and multiply result by the price of a stone of one carat of same 
value as the stone in question For the price varies with the quality of the 
stone itself. Thus a perfect stone of one carat being valued at 150 livres, 
the price of such a stone weighing 12 carats will be 12 x 12 x 150 = 
2i,6oo=the price in livres. It may be remarked that this rule is usually 
credited to Jetiiies, who lived nearly 100 years after the time of its 
real author. 

t The Viennese carat is somewhat larger than the French, the 
former weighing 206-1300, the latter 205.500 milligrams only. The 133^ 
carats of Vienna would thus make about 139^ French carats, the weight 
given by Tavernier. 


to the Genoese, who sold it in turn to Ludovico Moro 
Sforza. By the intercession of the Fuggers it came 
into the Medici treasury at Florence. When 
Francis Stephen of Lorraine exchanged this Duchy 
against the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, he became 
the owner of the ' Florentine Diamond.' Through 
this prince, who became later on the consort of the 
Empress Maria Theresa, this diamond came into the 
private treasury of the Imperial House at Vienna. 
At the coronation of Francis Stephen as Emperor of 
Germany at Frankfort-on-the-Main, the 4th day of 
October, 1745, the 'Florentine diamond' adorned 
the crown of the House of Austria." 

It is much to be regretted that this official 
statement should adopt the erroneous view that the 
" Florentine " belonged originally to Charles the Bold. 
If it did belong to him, a most violent supposition in 
any case, it was certainly not one of the three dia- 
monds which Robert de Berquem tells us that prince 
placed in the hands of his great uncle, L. de Berquem, 
inventor of the art of diamond cutting, " to have them 
advantageously cut, according to his skill. He cut 
them forthwith (that is apparently in 1476), one thick 
another thin {foible), and the third in triangular shape. 
And he succeeded so well that the Duke, delighted at 
such a surprising invention, gave him three thousand 
ducats in recompense." He adds that Charles gave 
the " foible," or thin stone to Pope Sixtus IV. ; and 
the triangular one to Louis XI ; and that he kept the 
third or thick one for himself, wearing it in his ring 
" when he was killed before Nancy, one year after 
having had them cut, that is in 1477." But it is not 


to be supposed that a diamond weighing 139^ carats 
could be worn in a ring, so that the "Florentine" 
must have been a different stone from that here 
spoken of. Besides De Comines, whose account of 
the Duke's diamonds is much more reliable than that 
of Berquem, writing 200 years after the event, tells us 
that " his great diamond, which was one of the largest 
in Christendom," was lost, not at the battle of Nancy, 
in January, 1477, but at that of Granson in 1476, on 
which occasion Charles lost "all his large jewels" 
{toutes ses grandes bagues), together with all his 

The story goes that this " great diamond " was 
lost by Charles in the confusion of the rout, but that 
a common Swiss soldier found it, together with a 
valuable pearl in a box. Mistaking the diamond for 
a bit of glass, he threw it aside, but on second thoughts 
picked it up from under a waggon where it had fallen. 
He then sold it for a florin to a priest at Montigny, 
who in his turn disposed of it for three francs to 
the Bernese authorities. At that time there was 
residing at Berne a wealthy merchant, named Bartho- 
lomew May, who had many relations both of a com- 
mercial and private character with Italy. Having 
purchased the gem for 5,000 florins, and a present to 
the Mayor, William von Diessland, through whose 
mediation the sale had been effected, May sold it for 
a small profit to a Genoese dealer. From him the 
Milanese Regent, Ludovico Moro Sforza, bought it for 
some 10,000 florins, and when the treasures of Milan 
were distributed, Pope Julius H. purchased it for 
20,000 ducats. 


But this Story is in flat contradiction to the posi- 
tive statement of J. J. Fugger, who assures us that the 
diamond in question was purchased from the Bernese 
Government, not by Bartholomew May, but by his 
own great uncle, Jacob Fugger, head of the famous 
Nurenberg family of that name, together with the 
" Cap of Maintenance," and other jewels belonging to 
the Duke of Burgundy all for 47,000 florins. 

In a curious document, illustrated by himself in 
1555, and published by Lambeccius in the Bibliotheca 
CcBsarea, Fugger gives a detailed account of these 
jewels. But his description of Charles the Bold's 
large diamond, which, he says, was the talk of 
all Christendom,* answers to that of none of the large 
diamonds now extant in Europe, and least of all to 
the "Florentine. He says it formed a pyramid five- 
eighths of an inch square at the base, with the apex 
cut into a four-rayed star in relief, each star coinciding 
with the middle of each face of the pyramid. It was 
the central piece in a beautiful pendant of diamonds, 
rubies, and pearls, which remained for some years in 
the Fugger family. It thus came into the hands of 
the author of the manuscript, who sold the pendant 
to Henry VIII., of England, in 1547, shortly before 
his death. It continued to form part of the English 
regalia during the reign of Edward VI. But soon 
after lier accession to the throne, Queen Mary pre- 
sented it to her husband Philip II., 1554 And thus 
it happened, as Fugger remarks, that after a period of 
seventy-six years (1477 — 1554) this diamond returned 

* ''Der grosz und dicht spitiig Diamante, von dem in der gantzen 
Christenheit gesagt wurd." 


to the representative, in the fourth descent, of its 
original owner, Charles the Bold, of Burgundy. 

It is thus placed beyond doubt that the stone 
lost by Charles, whether at Granson or Nancy, ulti- 
mately found its way through Switzerland, and Jacob 
Fugger, and his great nephew J. J. Fugger, into the 
possession of Henry VIII., by whose daughter Mary 
it was presented to Philip II. But the " Florentine " 
passed directly from the Grand Duke of Tuscany to 
Maria Theresa. Consequently the introduction of the 
Fugger family into the above official account of the 
stone, with which they had nothing to do, arises out 
of a misconception or a confusion of the traditions 
associated with two distinct gems. It thus appears 
that the " Florentine " cannot clearly be traced to 
Charles the Bold at all. Its authentic history really 
begins with the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in whose 
possession it was when examined and weighed by 
Tavernier. Its form and treatment (" cut on all sides 
in facets") are distinctly Indian, which again renders 
it extremely improbable that this stone was one of 
those manipulated by De Berquem for the Bur- 
gundian prince. We are thus led to the conclusion 
that the " Florentine " probably reached Italy direct 
from the East, and that the many stories and legends 
associated with Charles the Bold and his regalia have 
been transferred to the " Florentine " through the 
ignorance of writers who lived long after the events 
they were describing. 

Whatever doubt might remain on this point is 
disposed of by a consideration of the respective 
forms of the stones themselves. Both are said 


to be star-shaped. But we have seen that Fugger 
describes the Burgundian as " a pyramid, with 
the apex cut into a four-rayed star in rehef," 
whereas we are officially told that the " Florentine" 
" is cut in nine surfaces, covered with facets forming 
a star %vith nine rays?' 

Another still more extravagant tradition identi- 
fies the " Florentine " with the " Sancy," from which, 
as will be seen further on, it differs in weight, form, 
colour, and history. The true origin of both of these 
historical gems may doubtless be wrapped in ob- 
scurity, but that they are two totally distinct stones 
there cannot be the shadow of a doubt. 

Owing to the confusion between the " Fugger " 
and " Florentine," the latter has sometimes been 
called the " Maximilian," as by Murray, who writes 
that " the ' Maximilian,' or Austrian diamond, is of a 
yellow colour and rose cut, and has been an heirloom 
in the family ever since the emperor of that name," 
But we have seen above that it did not pass into the 
Austrian family until the time of Maria Theresa. 
It was one of the gems purchased by Jacob Fugger 
that passed into the hands of Maximilian II., for 
whom P'ugger broke up the " Cap of Maintenance," 
resetting all the jewels adorning it. He describes it 
as of silk, and covered with pearls, with a hat-band of 
sapphires and rubies, and a plume-case set with alter- 
nate rows of good-sized diamonds, pearls, and rubies. 
It would thus seem that one of these " good-sized 
diamonds" has developed into a stone of 139^ carats, 
and that the latter has been made an " heir-loom " of 
the House of Austria nearly two hundred years before 


it crossed the Alps ; for Maximilian II. reigned from 
1564 to 1576, while Maria Theresa married Francis 
Stephen of Lorraine in 1736. 

This stone has been variously estimated at 
^40,000 to i^5o,ooo, and even at ;^i55,ooo. But for 
its citron hue the latter might not perhaps be too 
high an estimate of its value. 


Found by a Slave — Stolen by an English Skipper — Treachery 
and Murder — Sold for /"i,ooo — Bought for ^"24,500 — Re- 
sold to the Regent of France for £1^5,000 — Stolen and 
Restored to the Garde-Meuble — Pawned to the Dutch 
— Redeemed and Worn by Napoleon the Great — Cap- 
tured after Waterloo, and taken to Berlin — On View 
at the Paris Fxhibition — Among the Crown Jewels of 
France, and Valued at ^"480,000. 

llRST known as the " Pitt," then as the 
" Regent," this perfect diamond has a 
remarkable history. There are two 
stories of its original discovery. They 
do not differ sufficiently to cast a doubt upon the 
general facts. The second version of the narrative is 
easily reconcilable with the first. 

The adventures of the " Pitt " begin very much 
on the lines of several other great stones. Cupidity, 
murder, remorse, are factors in the opening chapter. 
Trouble, political, social, and personal, accompany the 
gem to its latest resting-place. It was found by a 
slave in the Parteal mines, on the Kistna, in the year 
1 70 1. The story goes that, to secure his treasure, he 
cut a hole in the calf of his leg, and concealed it, one 
account says, in the wound itself, another in the 



bandages. As the stone weighed 410 carats before 
it was cut, the last version of the method of conceal- 
ment is, no doubt, the correct one. The slave escaped 
to the coast with his property. Unfortunately for 
himself, and also for the peace of mind of his confi- 
dant, he met with an English skipper, whom he 
trusted with his secret. It is said he offered to give 
the diamond to the mariner, in return for his liberty, 
which was to be secured by the skipper carrying him 
to a free country. But it seems probable that he 
supplemented this with a money condition as well, 
otherwise the skipper's treatment of the poor creature 
is as devoid of reason as it is of humanity. The 
English skipper, professing to accept the slave's pro- 
posals, took him on board his ship, and having 
obtained possession of the jewel, flung the slave into 
the sea. He afterwards, so this first version of the 
narrative goes, sold the diamond to Mr. Thomas Pitt, 
governor of Fort St. George, for ;6^ 1,000, squandered 
the money in dissipation, and finally, in a fit of 
delirium tremens and remorse, hanged himself. 

There is no reason to doubt the substantial 
accuracy of this characteristic beginning of the ad- 
ventures of the great diamond, with a trifling exception. 
The English sea captain sold it in all probability for 
;^i,000, not to Mr. Pitt, but to Jamchund, at that 
time the largest diamond merchant in the East, who, 
it will be seen in the course of our history, sold it to 
Mr. Pitt for ;^20,400. The circumstances connected 
with his purchase of the gem, are fully related by 
Pitt himself, who, on his return to Europe in 17 10, 
was suspected, and even openly accused, of having 


procured it by foul or unfair means. Amongst others 
Pope was supposed to point at something of the kind 
in the oft-quoted lines from the Man of Ross. 

"Asleep and naked as an Indian lay, 
An honest factor stole a gem away ; 
He pledg'd it to the Knight, the Knight had wit. 
So kept the diamond, and the rogue was bit." 

These scandalous reports, to which, however 
much credence never seems to have been attached, 
having reached the ex-governor, at that time in 
Norway, he sent a letter from Bergen to the editor 
of the European Magazine for October, 17 lo, setting 
forth the true facts of the case. A certified copy of 
this document was carefully preserved in the Pitt 
family, and, in consequence of some fresh rumours 
regarding the early history of the diamond, was again 
published by them in the Daily Post for November 
3, 1743, that is, seventeen years after Pitt's death. 
The chief passages bearing on the transaction are 
here subjoined from the latter source : — 

" Since my coming into this melancholy place of 
Bergen, I have been often thinking of the most unpa- 
ralleled villany of William Fraser, Thomas Frederick, 
and Sampa, a black merchant, who brought a paper 
before Governor Addison* in council, insinuating that 
I had unfairly got possession of a large diamond, 
which tended so much to the prejudice of my reputa- 
tion, and the ruin of my estate, that I thought 
necessary to keep by me the true relation how I 
purchased it in all respects, that so in case of sudden 
mortality, my children and friends may be apprized 

* This was a brother of the celebrated poet and es-sayist. He suc- 
ceeded Pitt as governor of Fort St. George in 1709 or 1710. 


of the whole matter, and so be enabled thereby to 
put to silence and confound those and all other 
villains, in their base attempts against either. 

" About two or three years after my arrival at 
Madras, which was in July, 1698, I heard there were 
large diamonds in the country to be sold, which I en- 
couraged to be brought down, promising to be their 
chaperon, if they would be reasonable therein, upon 
which Jamchund, one of the most eminent diamond 
merchants in these parts, came down about December, 
1 70 1, and brought with him a large rough stone, about 
305 mangelins, and some small ones, which myself 
and others bought. But he, asking a very extrava- 
gant price for the great one, I did not think of 
meddling with it ; when he left it with me for some 
days, and then came and took it away again, and 
did so several times, insisting upon not less than 
200,000 pagodas,* and as I best remember, I did not 
bid him more than 30,000, and had little thoughts of 
buying it for that. I considered there were many 
and great risks to be run, not only in cutting it, but 
whether it would prove foul or clean, or the water 
good. Besides, I thought it too great an amount to 
venture home in one bottom, so that Jamchund re- 
solved to return speedily to his own country, so that, 
I best remember, it was in February following he 
came again to me (with Vincaty Chittee, who was 
always with him when I discoursed about it), and 
pressed me to know whether I resolved to buy it. 

• As a pagoda is worth about 8s. 6d., this would be equivalent to 
about ;^85,ooo. 


when he came down to 100,000 padagoes, and some- 
thing under before we parted, when we agreed upon 
a day to meet and to make a final end thereof, one 
way or other, which I believe was the latter end of 
the aforesaid month, or beginning of March, when we 
met in the consultation room, when, after a great 
deal of talk, I brought him down to 55,000 padagoes, 
and advanced to 45,000, resolving to give no more 
and he likewise not to abate, so delivered him up the 
stone, and we took a friendly leave of one another. 
Mr. Benyon was then writing in my closet, with whom 
I discoursed what had passed, and told him now I 
was clear of it ; when, about half-an-hour after, my 
servant brought me word that Jam.chund and Vincaty 
Chittee were at the door, who, being called in, they 
used a great many expressions in praise of the stone, 
and told me he had rather I should buy it than any- 
body ; and, to give an instance thereof, offered it for 
50,000. So, believing it must be a pennyworth if it 
proved go 3d, I offered to part the 5,000 padagoes that 
were between us, which he would not hearken to, and 
was going out of the room again, when he turned 
back, and told mc I should have it for 49,000. But 
I still adhered to what I had before offered him, 
when presently he came to 48,000, and made a solemn 
vow he would not part with it for a pagadoe under ; 
when I went again into the closet to Mr. Benyon, and 
told him what had passed, saying that if it was worth 
47,500 it was worth 48,000.* So I closed with him 

* Pitt, who throughout spells "padagoe"for pagoda, here appends 
a note in which he reduces the 48,000 pagodas to " ^^20,400 sterling, 
at 8s, 6d. per padagoe," 


for that sum, when he delivered me the stone, for 
which I paid him honourably, as by my books doth 
appear. And I here further call God to witness that 
I never used the least threatening word at any of our 
meetings to induce him to sell it to me ; and God 
Himself knows it was never so much as in my 
thoughts so to do. Since which I have had frequent 
and considerable dealings with this man, and trusted 
him with several sums of money, and balanced several 
accounts with him, and left upwards of 2,000 padagoes 
in his hands at my coming away. So had I used the 
least indirect means to have got it from him, would 
he not have made himself satisfaction, when he 
has had my money so often in his hands ? Or would 
I have trusted him afterwards, as I did preferable to 
all other diamond merchants ? As this is the truth, 
so I hope for God's blessing upon this and all my 
other affairs in this world, and eternal happiness 
hereafter. — Written and signed by me in Bergen, 
July 29, 1 7 10. — Tho. Pitt." 

On the back of this declaration the following- 
words are written : — " In case of the death of me, 
Tho. Pitt, I direct that this paper, sealed as it is, be 
delivered to my son, Robert Pitt." 

In publishing this document the editor of the 
Daily Post observes that he does so " at this time of 
day " (that is seventeen years after Pitt's death), " by 
desire, and hopes that the following piece will give 
satisfaction to all those who may still suspect that 
that gentleman did not fairly come by the said stone." 

No doubt Pitt drove rather a hard bargain 
with Jamchund ; but there was otherwise nothing 


dishonourable or even unusual in the transaction. It 
will be noticed that in this account there is no refer- 
ence to the story of the slave, about which neither Pitt 
nor Jamchund were likely to know anything. The 
governor was evidently under the impression that 
the dealer had brought the stone with many others 
down from the diamond-fields, while the dealer, if he 
picked up such a gem for i^i,000 from a sea-captain 
on the coast, would naturally abstain from asking any 
indiscreet questions, whatever his suspicions might be. 
The fact that Jamchund ultimately closed for 48,000 
pagodas, or a little over ^20,000, after asking 200,000 
pagodas, or ;^85,ooo, would almost imply that he was 
glad to get rid of the diamond " at a sacrifice," 
because conscious that the circumstances attending 
its purchase would not bear any severe scrutiny. 

Pitt's account of his share in the transaction 
was afterwards fully confirmed by Mr. Salmon who 
was present on the occasion. Yet it appears that 
the stone, which had been consigned by Pitt to Sir 
Stephen Evance, of London, and sent home in the 
ship Bedford, (Captain John Hudson), was charged 
in the original bill of lading at 6,500 pagodas only. 
This might have been done either to save freight, 
or more probably to avoid attracting attention to the 
stone, and thereby exposing it to the risk of being 

The diamond was cut very skilfully in London, 
and in the process, which lasted two years, it was re- 
duced from 410 to 136I carats. The editor of the 
Museum Britannicum stated at the time that the 
cutting and polishing cost ;^5,ooo, and Jeffries, who 


points out the mistake made in the operation, and 
shows how it might be improved, remarks that there 
is only one small speck, and that placed in such a 
position as not to be detected in the setting. He also 
says that another ^5,000 was spent in negotiating its 
sale to the Regent, Duke of Orleans, who purchased 
it in 17 17, during the minority of Louis XV., for 
£iSS,ooo. The cleavage and dust obtained in the 
cutting were also valued at from £y,ooo to ^8,000,* 
so that Pitt must have netted at least i^ 100,000 by 
his venture. With this he restored the fortunes of 
the ancient house of Pitt, which was destined later on 
to give to England two of her greatest statesmen and 
orators, for the governor of Fort St. George was 
grandfather of the great Earl of Chatham, father of 
the illustrious William Pitt. He was born at Bland- 
ford, in Dorsetshire, where he was buried in May, 1726. 
In the funeral oration preached on the occasion by the 
Rev. Canon R. Eyre, the following reference was made 
to the "diamond scandal:" — "That he should have 
enemies no wonder, when envy will make them, and 
when their malice could reach him in no other 
way, it is as little to be wondered at that they 
should make such an attempt upon his credit by an 
abusive story as if it had been by some stretch of his 
power that he got that diamond which was of too 
value for any subject to purchase, an ornament more 

* These figures, like almost everything else connected with the 
history of the great historical diamonds, are variously given in different 
writers. Thus Murray (p. 59) gives, as here stated, ''from j^7,ooo 
to ^'8,000 ;" while King (p. 83) says that " the value of the fragments 
separated in shaping it amounted to ;^3,Soo " He adds that it became by 
the process, " for perfection of shape as well as for purity of water the first 
diamond in the world ; as it still continues." 


fitly becoming an Imperial crown, which if it be con- 
sidered, may be one reason why it was brought to the 
governor by the merchant who sold it in the Indies, 
and it was brought to him once or twice before he 
could be persuaded to part with so great a sum of 
money for it, as it cost him." 

Even after refuting the calumnies of his enemies, 
Pitt knew little rest until he was quit of his costly 
jewel. He was constantly haunted by a morbid fear 
of losing or being robbed of it, so that it was with 
great difficulty he could ever be induced to exhibit it 
even to his most intimate friends. The German tra- 
veller, Offenbach, when visiting England in 17 12, 
anxious to see all the sights of the metropolis, made 
several vain attempts to get a view of the gem, which 
had already become famous throughout the West. 
While it remained in his possession the ex-governor 
never slept two nights running under the same roof. 
He moved about capriciously, or in disguise, and never 
gave previous notice of his arrival to, or departure, 
from town. 

At last he was relieved of further anxiety by the 
negotiations, in consequence of which the " Pitt " 
became, the " Regent," passing from its English 
owner into the hands of the Duke of Orleans 


Regent of France, in 17 17. After being cut in the 
form of an almost faultless brilliant, a model of the 
diamond was taken, which is now in the British 
Museum,* and on the silver frame is engraved the 

* Murray (p. 65) says that in the same place there is another 
" model of the ' Pitt ' diamond in i:;. originui rou^ii form in lead. ' 


legend : "This is the model of Governor Pitt's diamond, 
weight 136J carats ; was sold to Louis XV. of France, 
A.D. 17 17." This model, or rather a duplicate without 
the frame, had been sent to Paris and submitted to 
the famous Scotch financier John Law, at that time 
at the height of his power in France. Law took the 
stone first to the Regent, and then to the Due de Saint 
Simon,* who gives a full account of the affair in his 
Memoirs. Saint Simon agreed with Law that France 
ought to possess a gem which up to that time was in- 
comparably the finest ever seen in Europe. Yielding 
to their combined efforts, the Regent at last consented 
to purchase it for i^i35,ooo,-f- including i^5,ooo for the 
negotiations, a euphemistic expression, which, trans- 
lated into plain language, meant a bribe for Law. 
Money, however, was just then so scarce, that the 
interest alone was paid on the amount, jewels being 
given as security for the principal until it was paid off. 
This price, great as it may appear to be, was even 
then regarded as much below its real value, and in the 
inventory of the French Crown Jewels, drawn up in 
1 791, it is valued at 12,000,000 francs, or ^^"480,000. 

The year after the preparation of this inventory 
which was made by a commission of the most 
experienced jewellers in Paris, the whole of the French 

■^ Saint Simon, who seems to have known nothing of its early 
history, asserts that it was stolen by a person employed in the Indian 
diamond fields, who brought it to Europe, After showing it to the King 
of England, and several other English noblemen, he took it to Paris, where 
he submitted it to Law, Then follow the particulars of the negotiations 
with the French Regent, as stated in the text. 

+ But on this point the authorities are at variance with each other. 
Board says the figure was 2,250,000 francs : Jeffries, ^125,000 ; others 
;^i 30,000. 


Regalia disappeared, and with it the " Pitt," now the 
" Regent," which stood at the head of the list. The 
remarkable circumstances attending this famous rob- 
bery of the Garde-Meiible are thus related by M. 
Breton, editor of the Gazette des Tribiincaiix : — 

" The inventory of the Crown diamonds, made in 
1791, in virtue of a decree of the Constituent Assem- 
bly, had scarcely been completed in the month of 
August, 1792, at the time of the last public exhibition, 
which took place on the first Tuesday of every month. 
After the sanguinary events of August loth to Sep- 
tember 2nd, this rich treasury was naturally closed to 
the public, and the Paris Commune, as representing 
the State property, put its seals on the cabinets in 
which had been placed the crown, the sceptre, and 
other ornaments of the coronation service. The 
golden shrine, bequeathed by Cardinal Richelieu to 
Louis XIII., with all the accompanying diamonds 
and rubies, and the famous golden vase, weighing 
106 marks, besides a vast quantity of other vases in 
agate, amethyst, and rock crystal. On the morning 
of September 17th, Scrgent and the two other com- 
missioners of the Commune, perceived that during 
the night robbers had made their way in by scaling 
the colonnade from the side of the Place Louis XV., 
and through a window looking in that direction, 
having thus got access to the vast halls of the Garde- 
Meuble, they had broken the seals without forcing the 
locks, carried off the priceless treasures contained in 
the cabinets, and disappeared without leaving any 
other traces of their presence. Several persons were 
arrested, but released after a protracted enquiry. An 


anonymous letter, addressed to the Commune stated, 
that some of the stolen objects were in a ditch in the 
Allee des Veuves, Champs-Elysees. Sergent at once 
proceeded with his colleagues to the spot, which had 
been very carefully indicated. Here were found 
amongst other things the famous " Regent" diamond, 
and the no less famous agate-onyx cup, known by 
the name of the Abbe Suger's Chalice, which was 
afterwards placed in the cabinet of antiques in the 
National Library. 

" Notwithstanding the investigations made at the 
time and subsequently, it remained uncertain whether 
this robbery had a political object, or whether it was 
simply the act of ordinary criminals, undertaken at a 
time when the guardians of the public security were 
in a state of complete disorganization. Some said 
that the proceeds of these treasures were intended to 
maintain the army of the emigrants. Others, on the 
contrary, pretended that Pethion and Manual h:-d 
used them to obtain the evacuation of Champagne^ 
by giving up the whole to the King of Prussia. Some 
even went so far as to assert that the keepers them- 
selves had broken open the cabinets, and Sergent, of 
whom we have above spoken, was nick-named Agate, 
in consequence of the mysterious way in v/hich he 
had found the agate-onyx cup. But none of these 
more or less absurd surmises ever received any judicial 

"Nevertheless,therewas one circumstance of which 
I was witness, jointly with the others present at the 
sitting of the special criminal court of Paris, when 
Bourgeois and others accused of having forged notes 


on the Bank of France, were put upon their trial in 
1804. One of the accused, who had assumed the 
name of Bada, had at first denied all the charges 
brought against him. But during the proceedings 
he made a complete confession, and explained the 
ingenious devices employed by the forgers. ' It is 
not the first time,' he added, ' that my revelations 
have been useful to society, and if I am now con- 
demned, I will implore the emperor's pardon. But 
for me. Napoleon would never have mounted the 
throne ; to me alone is due the success of the 
Marengo campaign. I was one of the robbers of 
the Garde-Meuble. I had assisted my associates to 
bury in the Allee des Veuves the * Regent ' and the 
other easily recognized objects, by which they might 
have been betrayed. On the promise of a free pardon 
a promise which was faithfully kept, I disclosed the 
hiding-place. Here the 'Regent' was recovered, and 
you are aware, gentlemen, that this magnificent 
diamond was pledged by the first Consul to the Dutch 
Government, in order to raise the money, of which he 
stood in the greatest need after the i8th Brumaire." 

" The criminals were all condemned to the galleys 
except Bourgeois and Baba, who were sent to the 
prison of Bicctre, where they died. I do not know 
whether Baba made any further revelations beyond 
what I have reported, and which may also be read in 
the Joiiriial de Paris of that date." 

Since its recovery and redemption from the 
Dutch Government, the "Regent" seems to have 
remained in the French treasury to the present time- 
The first emperor is known to have worn it in the 


pommel of his sword, and Barbot tells us expressly that 
it was publicly shown amongst the Crown jewellery 
at the Paris Exhibition of 1855 * Still it is remark- 
able that this brilliant does not figure in the inventory 
of the State Jewels, drawn up by order of Napoleon 
in 1 8 10, nor apparently in any of the subsequent 
official reports on the Crown jewels. This circum- 
stance, however it is to be explained, has doubtless, 
lent some colouring to the many conflicting statements 
regarding its subsequent vicissitudes. Kluge asserts 
that after its recovery in 1792, it was pledged, not to 
the Dutch Government, but to Treskow a merchant 
in Berlin. He also refers to the highly improbable 
report that, after the battle of Waterloo, where the 
Prussians found it in the Emperor's State carriage, 
it was carried off to the Prussian treasury. If it really 
was taken to Berlin on that occasion, it was subse- 
quently restored to the French Government, for Ersch 
and Gruber, writing in 1833, distinctly state that at 
that time it was " the first diamond in the French 
treasury." f Barbot also justly regards it as the most 
conspicuous gem in the now disused crown of France. 

* " Tout le monde a pu admirer cette magnifique pierre parmi les 
paiures de la couronne a lExposition Universelle de 1855, et contempler sa 
rare et unique beaute." Op. cit. p, 240. 'J'ouching its " rare and singular 
beauty," this writer, a most competent judge in sucii matters, adds (p. 44), 
" Ce qui fait la valeur du' Regent' ne git pas seulement dans son poids 
mais bien en ce qu' il est I'uniqne parmi toutes les pierres princieres, reu- 
nissant les plus rares qualites des gros diamants, c'est-a-dire blancheur eclat 
et surtout beaute de forme. 11 en est certes plus volumineux, mais s'il fallait 
les ramener a la purete de forme du 'Regent' aucun n' atteindrait son 

I '' Er ist der erste Diamant im franzosischen Schatze." Allgemeine 
Encydopddie. Vol 24, p. 456. 


This crown, which also contains eight other diamonds, 
weighing- from 19 to 28 carats, is thus by far the 
richest in the world.* 

The form of the " Regent," is somewhat round, 
an inch broad, ij of an inch long, and f of an 
inch thick. It was reduced in cutting from 410 to 
136^ carats, and has been estimated to be worth 

* The Ministry of Finance was visited this afternoon by the Par- 
liamentary Committee entrusted with the examination of the bill relative 
to the sale of the Crown Jewels. The committee was received by M, 
Antonin Proust and by MM. Bapst, the jewellers, who gave it all the 
necessary information. It appears that during the Restoration the Crown 
jewels were deposited with the Bapsts. Under Louis Philippe they were 
kept in the Garde Meuble, and during the Empire, M. Thelin had them 
safely locked up in a strong box. They are now in chests in a cellar at the 
Ministry of Finance, and it is in this subterranean chamber that they were 
laid out to-day. Tiie ornaments that possess a historic or an artistic value 
had been separated from the rest. They include a collection of decorations 
sent to the sovereigns of France by foreign monarchs, and are valued at 
;^8, 000 sterling; a watch presented by the Dey of Algiers to Louis Quatoi-ze 
and worth ^,^120; a brooch of diamonds, of antique cut, valued at about 
£3,000 ; and a sword, the hilt of which, mounted in 1824, is a fine speci- 
men of chaste French workmanship. MM. Bapst advised the committee to 
retain all these articles, as they were really worth iar more than their money 
value. There is, consequently, every reason to believe that they will 
eventually find their way to the Apollo Gallery at the Louvre. As for the 
"Regent" a diamond unique in the world on account of its size, the 
jewellers also opposed its sale. It was formerly valued as high as half a 
million sterling, but there is always risk that it might not fetch more than 
£25,000, and its acquisition by some enterpri.-ing showman would be 
scarcely creditable to this country. Such were the arguments used by MM. 
Bapst, and their counsels will probably be followed in this as in other 
matters. The other jewels, estimated — en bloc — at about half a million 
pounds, have no historic value. There are only three parures, the sapphire, 
the tunjuoise, and the ruliy parure, the last made expressly for the Duchesse 
de Berry. AH the other jewels were arranged and altered again and again, 
to suit the taste of the Empress Eugenie. I may add that the committee 
has not yet arrived at any definite decision, but will revisit the Crown jewels 
in the course of the week. — "Paris Correspondent," Daily Telegraph, 
December 8, 1881. 


Persia in Poetry and Romance — The Shah in England — A 
Precious Gem, the History of which is at present 

HE Arabian Nights, Lallah Rooke, and 
Eastern fable generally, coupled with 
the sack of Delhi by Nadir Shah, and 
the accumulation of its strancje hordes 


of wealth in 

"That delightful Province of the Sun," 

have surrounded Persia with a halo of romance studded 
with precious gems. There was once a brilliant reality 
in the " untold treasures " of Persia, but that time, it is 
to be feared, is past, and the tendency of the prosaic 
age in which we live is to go to the extremes in dis- 
counting the exaggerations of history, leaving nothing 
to the imagination. For example, when the Shah 
visited England for the first time satirists questioned 
the genuineness of his jewelled decorations, and 
horticulturists declared that in spite of " the Bower 
of Roses by Bendemere's stream," his majesty saw 
more and finer examples of Persia's favourite flower 
in London than ever he saw at home. The Shah, 
wore what appeared to be fine gems, but they were 


mostly roses or very flat brilliants. There is supposed 
to be still in the Persian regalia a large and lovely 
stone, weighing 135 carats, valued at ^^'145, 800, known 
as the " Mountain of Light." It is mentioned by 
Murra>', in a quotation from Sketches of Persia, pub- 
lished in 1838. Further than arriving at the bare 
fact of its supposed existence, our investigations in 
regard to this precious gem have had no result. 
We have reason to believe that even the Persian 
Ambassador has found it impossible to assist our 
inquiries to a satisfactory conclusion. 





Pieces of the " Great Mogul"— Dr, Beke and the '* Koh-i-Nur " 
— Evidence against his theory, and that of Professor 
Tennant— Complete identification of the ''Abbas 

N a previous chapter we ventured to 
express the opinion that Tavernier's 
" Great Mogul " has ceased to exist as 
such, andj to escape detection, has been 
cut up into two or more stones. If this view is correct 
there can be but little doubt that what we have named 
the "Abbas Mirza" is one of these pieces. It turned up 
at the capture of Cucha, in Khorassan, by the Persian 
general " Abbas Mirza," in 1832, but attracted little 
attention until the meeting of the British Association 
in 185 1. On that occasion a statement was made by 
Dr. Beke, of the Chemical Section, " On a Diamond 
Slab supposed to have been cut from the Koh-i-Nur." 
The subjoined report of Dr. Beke's views appeared at 
the time in the AtheiKEum, for July 5, 185 1 : — 

"It appears that in 1832, the Persian army of 
Abbas Mirza, for the subjugation of Khorassan, found 
at the capture of Cucha, among the jewels of the 
harem of Reeza Kooli Khan, a large diamond slab, 
supposed to have been cut from the ' Koh-i-Nur.' It 
weighed 130 carats, and showed the marks of cutting 


on the flat or largest side. The only account that 
could be obtained of it was the statement that it was 
found in the possession of a poor man, a native of 
Khorassan, and that it had been employed in his 
family for the purpose of striking a light against a 
steel, and in this rough service it had sustained injury 
by constant use. The diamond was presented by the 
Prince of Persia to his father Futteh Ali Shah. The 
Armenian jewellers of Teheran asked the sum of 
20,000 tomaums (about ;^io,ooo sterling) for cutting 
it ; but the Shah was not disposed to incur the 
expense. These particulars had been forwarded to 
Dr. Beke by his brother, Mr. W. G. Beke, late colonel 
of engineers in the Persian service, and Khorassan 

At the meeting of the British Association in 1852, 
Section B., Chemical Science, Professor Tennant, as 
reported in the AtJienceuni of Sept. 25, 1852, expressed 
his opinion that Dr. Blake's view was correct. " He 
had made models in fluorspar, and afterwards broken 
them, and obtained specimens which would correspond 
in cleavage, weight, and size with the ' Koh-i-Nur.' 
By this means he was enabled to include the piece de- 
scribed by Dr. Blake, and probably the large Russian 
diamond, as forming altogether but portions of one 
large diamond. The diamond belongs to the tesselar 
crystalline system, it yields readily to cleavage in four 
directions, parallel to the planes of the regular octahe- 
dron. Two of the largest planes of the ' Koh-i-Nur,' 
when exhibited in the Crystal Palace, were cleavage 
planes ; one of them had not been polished. This 
proved the specimen to be not a third of the weight 


of the original crystal, which he believed to have been 
a rhomboid dodecahedron ; and if slightly elongated, 
which is a common form of the diamond, would agree 
with Tavernier's description of it bearing some resem- 
blance to an egg. Sir D. Brewster made some obser- 
vations, and stated that the English translation of 
Tavernier's work left out the minute details which 
were fully given in the original. Sir David expressed 
his satisfaction with Mr. Tennant's illustration, which 
clearly proved the diamond to be only a small part of 
a very large and fine stone." 

Brewster's remark that the English translation 
of Tavernier's work omitted the minute details given 
by that writer is very significant in the present con- 
nection. Had those details, as set forth in our 
account of the " Great Mogul," received proper at- 
tention, subsequent writers could never have fallen 
into the mistake of confounding that stone with the 
"Koh-i-Nur." Nor would Dr. Beke have here sug- 
gested that the slab found at Cucha might be a 
portion of the " Koh-i-Nur." The remarks made 
both by Tennant and Brewster, evidently show that 
they refer this fragment not to the " Koh-i-Nur," but 
to Tavernier's " Great Mogul." Its weight being 138 
carats, it could not be described by them as forming 
" only a small part" of the " Koh-i-Nur,'' which was 
never known to weigh more than 186 carats alto- 
gether. Hence, Brewster's " very large and fine stone " 
must necessarily refer to the " Great Mogul," which 
was the only other stone ot which the Cucha slab 
could be described as " a small portion." 

In his account of the " Great Mogul," the reader 


will remember that Tavernier remarks : " if Hortensio 
knew his business well, he would have taken from 
this large stone sone fine pieces, without wronging 
the king, and without having so much trouble to 
grind it down." The question here arises whether 
Borgio may not have adopted this very obvious 
course, concealing the fact to escape punishment, 
and secretly disposing of the fragments on the first 
favourable opportunity. In this case the Cucha 
slab may well have been one such fragment, and the 
very circumstances attending its origin would then 
also sufficiently account for the mystery in which it 
is involved. Having been fraudulently obtained and 
secretly sold " for a song," to the first comer, it may 
have easily remained in the hands of obscure and 
ignorant persons, unacquainted with its true value, 
and have thus been ultimately " found in the posses- 
sion of a poor man," in whose family " it had been 
employed for the purpose of striking a light against 
a steel," and have thus " sustained injury by constant 

Since its discovery in 1832, the "Abbas Mirza '' 
has probably remained in the possession of the Persian 
kings, although we have failed to find any direct 
allusion to it in the public descriptions of the Shah's 


The Pan Diggings, South Africa— Active Mining Operations 
in 1871 — The first important '• Find." 

HIS Stone is named after the "Du Toit's 
Pan," dry diggings,* in South Africa. 
The mine belonged to Mr. Van Wyke, 
and it began to prove attractive to a 
few diamond hunters for the first time in 1870. It is 
situated about twenty-four miles from the Vaal river. 
Within a short time after the first really active 
operations, some fine stones were discovered, and in 
1 87 1, there sprang up quite a lively encampment 
of diggers. " The Pan " is now worked by several 
mining companies. The " Du Toit II," was found by 
Messrs. Stevens and Raath, on July 21, 1871. It 
weighed in the rough, 124 carats. 

* They derived this name from the fact that there was no water 
there, and the diamonds having been originally discovered in a light sandy 
soil, it was thought that they could he found without the diggers having to 
undergo the laborious operations of cradling and washing the soil before 
sorting, which they had been compelled to do whilst operating on the 
banks of the river. The first of the dry diggings to attract public attention 
was Du Toit's Pan, to which a few diggers liad resorted before tiie close of 
1870. Small diamonds had been found on this farm, and on the adjoining 
one. Du Toit's Pan belonged to a Mr. Van Wyk, and Bultfontein to a 
Mr. Du Plooy. It is scarcely worth while to wade through the details of 
purchase and sale, and the disputes and actions at law, which came out of 
the purchase, It will be sufficient to state that these two farms ultimately 
became the property of the London and South Ah-ican Exploration Company, 
and were, when first purchased by that company, under the jurisdiction of 
the Free State. — R. W. Murray in the Journal of Jie Society of Arts. 



" Diamond Cut Diamond " — Nadir Shah Murdered by his own 
Troops— Shafforass and the Afghan Soldier — The Curse 
of Wealth — A Terrible Tragedy — Three Brothers Mur- 
der a Jew and an Afghan for the "Moon of Mountains" — 
Two Brothers Murdered by the Third — Adventures of 
the Assassin — The Law of Russia — The Story as told 
by Pallas — Shaftbrass the Murderer Retires and Marries, 
and is eventually Killed by his Son-in-Law. 

FTER unravelling the intricate history 
of the " Orloff," so often interwoven 
with that of the " Moon of Mountains," 
the tragic story of the latter gem flows 
smoothly enough. That this diamond originally be- 
longed to the Mogul emperors, and passed from them 
together with a vast quantity of other treasures, to 
Nadir Shah, is highly probable. It seems to have been 
in the Persian conqueror's possession for many years, 
and of all places visited by his destroying hosts, Delhi 
was by far the most likely to have harboured a rare 
stone, such as this. It was said to have been one of the 
two large diamonds which ornamented Nadir's throne, 
and which were respectively known as the " Sun of 
the Sea," and the " Moon of Mountains." A few years 
after returning from his sanguinary campaign laden 
with spoil, his chariot wheels literally clogged with 
the blood of his helpless victims, he was mur- 
dered, and his ill-gotten treasures plundered and 
dispersed by his revolted and brutalized troops. This 
occurred in the year 1747, and a short time afterwards 


an Afghan soldier, formerly in Nadir's service, made 
his appearance in Bassorah, a large town on the 
Shatt-el-Arab, about seventy miles from its mouth 
in the Persian Gulf. This place has long been a 
famous emporium for all sorts of Eastern produce, 
and to it the Afghan warrior brought his wares, con- 
sisting of one very large diamond, the " Moon of 
Mountains," an emerald of rare size and beauty, a 
fine ruby, a magnificent sapphire, since known to the 
Persians as the " Eye of Allah," besides many other 
costly jewels, all of which had doubtless fallen to his 
share when Nadir's effects were pillaged. At this 
time Shaftrass, an Armenian merchant, was residing 
in Bassorah, with his two brothers, and to him the 
Afghan offered his gems at a very temptirig price. 
Shaffrass, however, who was greatly astonished at the 
sight of so many sparkling jewels in the hands of a 
common soldier, evidently unaware of their great 
value, was obliged to put him off for a few days, in 
order to find sufficient funds to effect the purchase. 
Meantime the Afghan became suspicious, and fancying 
that a snare was being laid for him, suddenly disap- 
peared from Bassorah in the same mysterious way in 
which he had entered the place. 

The Afghan had meantime, made his way to 
Bagdad, where he fell in with a Jew, to whom he 
disposed of his treasure for 65,000 piastres, or about 
;^500 sterling, and two full blooded Arab horses. But 
unfortunately for himself, instead of returning to his 
home in the Suleiman Mountains,he remained loitering 
in the famous capital of the eastern Califs, squander- 
ing his easily acquired wealth in riot and dissipation 


of all sorts. In the midst of his revels he one day ran 
against Shaffrass, who had unwittingly followed him 
to Bagdad, where he had a large trading connection. 
" Now," thought the wily Armenian, " I shall take 
good care not to lose sight of my man again, until 
the bargain is struck." He was not however, a little 
disappointed to learn that the wares had already 
been sold to a third party. Nevertheless, there 
was still hope of doing a .stroke of business with the 
Jew, whose house the Afghan had pointed out, and 
on whom Shaffrass lost no time in calling. But, 
although he offered double the amount of the pur- 
chase money for the diamond alone, on which he 
had set his heart, the Jew declined to part with it. 
Shaffrass now held a consultation with his two 
brothers, who had joined him in Bagdad. The trio 
forthwith resolved to murder the Jew, and thus get 
possession of the coveted treasures. Having carried 
out this cold-blooded assassination, they also deemed 
it prudent to get rid of the Afghan, whcse evidence 
would scarcely fail to incriminate them, when the 
matter came to be investigated. Taking advantage of 
his dissipated habits, they easily induced him to join 
them the next day in an entertainment, followed by a 
drinking bout, during which they found an opportunity 
of poisoning him in his cups. The two bodies were 
placed together in a sack,and,accordingtothe approved 
Eastern method, thrown by night into the Tigris.* 

* In the current versioni of the stor)', the Euphrates has been sub- 
stituted for the Tigris, with the usual lofty disregard of geography; for 
the reader need scarcely be reminded thnt Bagdad lies on the Tigris, about 
190 mildjs above its junction witli t;ic Euphrates. 


Everything had so far gone on smoothly enough. 
But when they came to the distribution of the plunder, 
each of the three murderers insisted on having the 
diamond. As it was impossible to divide the stone 
into three equal parts, and as neither brother would 
waive his claim Shaffrass settled the matter by treat- 
ing his two brothers in the same way that they had 
treated the unfortunate Afghan. So the following 
night another sack, also containing two dead bodies, 
was quietly dropped into the river, and the Armenian 
found himself sole master of treasures, which on ex- 
amination were found far to exceed in value his 
most sanguine expectations. Feeling that it would be 
dangerous to linger in a place where awkward inquiries 
might be set on foot at any moment, he packed up, 
and withdrew to Constantinople, whence he ultimately 
made his way through Hungary and Silesia to Holland. 
Here he set up as a dealer in precious stones, and 
drew the attention of the various European sovereigns 
to some of his choicer specimens. The Empress 
Catherine II., who seems to have been particularly 
taken by his description of the great diamond, sent 
him a pressing invitation to go to St. Petersburg, 
where she placed him in communication with the 
crown jeweller, M, Lasaroff. After some negotiations, 
he was offered an annuity of io,000 roubles, together 
with a patent of nobility for certain of his gems. But 
Shaffrass, who desired something more tangible, de- 
manded a cash payment of 600,000 roubles, which 
was considered rather exorbitant. However, Count 
Panin, at that time Catherine's favourite minister, was 
fully equal to the occasion, and in the long run proved 


himself more than a match for the astute Oriental. 
Shafifrass was beguiled with fair words and empty 
promises. His demand was neither agreed to nor 
rejected, and he himself was gradually led into a style 
of living, which was far beyond his means, and obliged 
him to run heavily into debt. When his purse was 
exhausted and his credit broken. Panin suddenly put 
an end to the negotiations, and the Armenian was 
officially informed that he could not carry out his 
avowed intention of leaving Russia or even the capital 
until all his creditors were satisfied. Such was the 
law of the land, and no exception could be made in 
his favour. He now found himself at the mercy 
of the minister. Nevertheless, he determined not to 
sacrifice the diamond, which had already cost him so 
much blood. He accordingly raised money enough 
to meet his liabilities by the sale of some smaller 
gems amongst the Armenians of St. Petersburg, paid 
his debts, and suddenly withdrew from the capital. 

He was now completely lost sight of ; but ten 

years later the Russian Court received intimation 

that he was residing in Astrakhan. Here negotiations 

were renewed for the purchase of the diamond, which 

he was at last induced to part with, apparently on the 

original terms. Murray, speaking of the " Orloff," says 

that " a Greek merchant, named Gregory Suffrass 

offered it for sale in Amsterdam in 1766, from whom 

Prince Orloff bought it for Catherine of Russia for 

^90,000, an annuity of ^4,000, and a patent of 

nobility, as he himself informed Mr. Magellan." He 

then quotes the authority of Dutens for this statement, 

which, he adds, " Seems to be a genuine account." 

iq6 the great diamonds of the world. 

But Dutens makes no mention of Suffrass or Shaffrass, 
and merely says that the Jew, who bought the " Orlofif" 
from a ship captain, " a few years afterwards disposed 
of it more advantageously to a Greek merchant."* 

To the introduction of the name of Shaffrass into 
this passage may be traced all the confusion, that 
has since arisen in regard to the history of the "Orloff" 
and " Moon of the Mountains." By removing this 
name the accounts of each become perfectly clear and 
intelligible. The " Orloff'' comes directly from the 
Seringham temple, Mysore, to Europe by the sea 
route ; the " Moon of Mountains" is brought over- 
land, apparently from Delhi, through Persia, Bassorah, 
Bagdad, and Constantinople. They both meet for a 
moment in Amsterdam, the great diamond mart of 
the West, where the "Orloff" is purchased by Prince 
Orloff for Catherine from a Greek merchant, and 
whence Shaffrass takes the " Moon of Mountains," first 
to St. Petersburg, and then to Astrakhan. Here he 
ultimately disposes of it, also to the Russian Crown, 
as above stated. 

It may be added that after his flight from Badgad, 
the crimes of Shaffrass came to light. Being thus pre- 
vented from returning to his native land, he settled 
in Astrakhan, where he married, and had seven 
daughters. But Nemesis overtook him at last ; for 
he was poisoned by one of his own sons-in-law, under 
circumstances not unlike those by which he had him- 
self sacrificed his two brothers. 

* " II donna le diamant pour 50,000 livres, a un capitaine de vaisseau, 
qui le vendit trois cent mille livres a un juif, lequel s'en defit plus avanta- 
geu^ement ensuite .^ un n%ociant grec quelques annces apres." Op.'cit,, 
P- 37- 


Another version of the story is given by Barbot, 
who states that the " Moon of Mountains " fell into 
the hands of an Afghan chief, who sold it to an 
Armenian named Shaffrass, a merchant in Bassorah, 
for 50,000 piastres. Shaffrass kept it for twelve years, 
and then sent one of his brothers to Amsterdam to treat 
for its sale, either with England or Russia. After 
some protracted negotiations the latter Power acquired 
it for 450,000 silver roubles, and a patent of nobility 
to the seller ; for thus are titles obtained in Russia." 
This reads like an cditio expurgata of the more 
romantic and popular account. But it has its value, in 
so far as it associates the " Moon of Mountains " with 
Shaffrass, and thus helps to distinguished this stone 
from the " Orlofif," with which that dealer was in no 
way connected. 

But Barbot's story is itself merely a re-hash of 
the account given by P. S. Pallas in his Travels 
through the Southern Provinces of the Russian Empire, 
in 1793-4. Although involving some repetition, it 
will be best to give the text of Pallas in full, as it is 
constantly referred to by writers who have never 
consulted the original, and who have consequently 
superadded fresh errors to those for which Pallas is 
responsible. At p. 276 of the first* volume of the 
English edition (London, 1812) Pallas writes : — 

" During my residence in Astrakhan I became 
acquainted with the heirs of the late Grigori Safarov 
Shaffrass, the Armenian, who sold the celebrated large 
diamond, which is now set in the Imperial sceptre of 

• Not second volume, as is generally stated. 


Russia. The history of this diamond, which holds so 
distinguished a place among those of the very first 
water, may probably afford entertainment to my 
readers, as I shall thereby refute many false reports 
which have been circulated on this subject. Shah 
Nadir had in his throne two principal Indian dia- 
monds, one of which was called the ' Sun of the Sea,' 
and the other the ' Moon of the Mountains.' At the 
time of his assassination many precious ornaments 
belonging to the crown were pillaged, and afterwards 
secretly disposed of by the soldiers who shared the 
plunder. Shaffrass, commonly known at Astrakhan 
by the name of Millionshik, or the Man of Millions, 
then resided at Bassorah, with two of his brothers. 
One day a chief of the Avganians (Afghans) applied 
to him, and secretly proposed to sell, for a very 
moderate sum, the before-mentioned diamond, which 
probably was that called the ' Moon of the Mountains,' 
together with a very large emerald, a ruby of con- 
siderable size, and other precious stones of less value. 
Shaffrass was astonished at the offer, and pretending 
that he had not a sufficient sum to purchase these 
jewels, he demanded time to consult with his brothers 
on the subject. The vendor, probably from suspicious 
motives, did not again make his appearance. Shaffrass, 
with the approbation of his brothers, immediately 
went in search of the stranger with the jewels, but he 
had left Bassorah. The Armenian, however, met him 
accidentally at Bagdad, and concluded the bargain by 
paying him 50,000 piastres for all the jewels in his 
possession. Shaffrass and his brothers being conscious 
that it was necessary to observe the most profound 


secrecy respecting this purchase, resolved, on account 
of their commercial connections, to remain at Bassorah. 
After a lapse of twelve years, Gregori Shaffrass, with 
the consent of his brothers, set off with the largest of 
the jewels, which had till then been concealed. He 
directed his route through Sham (Damascus), and 
Constantinople, and afterwards by land through 
Hungary and Silesia to the city of Amsterdam, 
where he publicly offered his jewels for sale. 

" The English Government is said to have been 
among the bidders. The Court of Russia sent for 
the large diamond, with a proposal to reimburse all 
reasonable expenses, if the price could not be agreed 
upon. When the diamond arrived, the Russian 
Minister, Count Panin, made the following offer to 
Shaffrass, whose negociator, M. Lasaref was then 
jeweller to the Court. Besides the patent to hereditary 
nobility, demanded by the vendor, he was to receive 
an annual pension of 6,000 roubles during life, 500,000 
roubles in cash, one-fifth part of which was to be 
payable on demand, and the remainder in the space 
of ten years, by regular instalments. The capricious 
Shaffrass likewise claimed the honour of nobility for 
his brothers, and various other annuities or advan- 
tages, and persisted so obstinately in his demands, 
that the negociation was frustrated, and the diamond 

" Shaffrass was now in great perplexity. He had 
involved himself in expenses, was obliged to pay 
interest for considerable sums he had borrowed, and 
there was no prospect of selling the jewel to ad- 
vantage. His negociators left him in that perplexity 


in order to profit by his mismanagement. To elude 
his creditors, he was obliged to abscond to Astrak- 
han. At length the negociations with Russia were 
re-commenccd by Count Gregory Grigorievitsh Orloff, 
who was afterwards created a Prince of the Empire, 
and the diamond was purchased for 450,000 roubles, 
ready money, together with the grant of Russian 
nobility. Of that sum it is said, 120,000 roubles fell 
to the share of the negociators for commission, 
interest, and similar expenses. Shaffrass settled at 
Astrakhan, and his riches, which by inheritance 
devolved to his daughters, had, by the extravagance of 
his sons-in-law, been in a great measure dissipated." 

It is obvious that Pallas received this version of 
the story from " the heirs " of Shaffrass, whom he 
met in Astrakhan, and who were naturally interested 
in suppressing the series of crimes, by which the 
Armenian merchant got possession of the diamond. 
It is also obvious that Pallas has wrongly transferred 
the whole story from the " Moon of Mountains '' 
to the " Orloff." According to his own showing, 
the sale to the Russian Government was effected 
after Shaffrass had been "obliged to abscond to 
Astrakhan," that is, some years after his arrival 
in Amsterdam. But we have the already quoted 
contemporary testimony of the Museum Britannicum, 
to the effect that the diamond associated with 
the name of Prince Orloff, and now set in the 
Imperial sceptre of Russia, was purchased by Orloff, 
not in Astrakhan from Shaffrass, but in Amsterdam, 
from a Persian merchant in the year 1776. Pallas 
is, no doubt, quite right in supposing that the 


Stone disposed of in Astrakhan came through the 
Afghan chief and Nadir Shah from the Delhi treasury. 
But it is equally evident that the stone purchased in 
Amsterdam, came from Mysore to Europe by the sea 
route. We are thus again driven to the same con- 
clusion, that the Shaffrass story belongs to Nadir's 
diamond, the " Moon of Mountains," and the French 
deserter's to the Seringham gem, now in the Imperial 



One of Brazil's Largest Diamonds—" Picked up " in 1851— 
The Thieves of Minas-Geraes— A Gem without a 
a Pedigree. 

HIS is one of the very largest stones ever 
found in Brazil. It was picked up 
in 185 1, near the source of the Rio 
Patrocinho, a small stream watering 
the district in the centre of the province of Minas 
Geraes, which is the most elevated portion of the 
Brazilian table-land. It lies along the upper course 
of the Rio de San Francisco. Nearly every kind 
of metal has been found, at one time or another, in 
this province. It is particularly rich in iron, gold, and 
diamonds. The latter have been chiefly discovered 
in the Tequetinhonha and Abaite, instances of which 
have already been mentioned. A large portion of 
the country washed by these rivers is still held by 
Indian tribes, though some districts are well settled 
by Europeans. Cidade Diamentina, formerly Tejaco 
the capital of the diamond district, is situated on 
an acclivity of a mountain, 4,000 feet above the 
level of the sea. These diamantiferous regions have 
produced many splendid stones, but none about which 
less is known than the " Patrocinho," our efforts to 
unearth it having so far proved singularly futile. 



A Faultless Stone — Remarkable Success of Cutting — A 
Fortune made in Cotton and spent on a Diamond — 
Crafty Agents — Singular Coincidence of Ill-Luck — 
A Ruined Merchant and a Deposed Prince. 

HROUGH the courtesey of Mr. E. 
Dresden, from whom it takes its name, 
we are enabled for the first time to 
give the true history of this most re- 
markable gem. Many of the subjoined particulars 
are contained in a letter, dated June 14th, 1881, which 
Mr. Dresden kindly forwarded to us in reply to an 
application for an authentic account of a diamond, 
concerning which so many false reports are still cur- 
rent. This notable stone was found about the year 
1857, in the Bagagem district, Brazil, the same place 
which also yielded the " Star of the South," and which 
has been identified in our description of that gem. 
Soon after its discovery, the " English Dresden " 
was brought to Rio de Janeiro, where the owner's 
agents bought and forwarded it to him in London, 
in the same year, 1857. A model was then taken of 
the rough stone, which weighed 119^ carats, although 
evidently forming a part only of the original crystal. 
What became of the corresponding portion has re- 
mained a profound secret, though, as Mr. Dresden 
suggests, it may have cither been destroyed in 
detaching it from the rock, or else may possibly have 
remained behind in its original itacolumite matrix. 


However this may be, the owner submitted the fractured 
crystal to " a marvellously clever polisher," in Am- 
sterdam, who converted it into a very fine drop-shape 
diamond. In the process of cutting it lost exactly 
43 carats, and now consequently, weighs only y6^ 
carats. But, as Mr. Dresden well remarks, experts 
alone can fully appreciate the extraordinary skill of 
a workman " who produced such a well-proportioned 
drop out of half a rough diamond, and with such little 
loss in weight — not even one-third." 

The result was an absolutely faultless gem, if at 
least there be anything in this world which can be 
pronounced quite free from blemish. No imperfections 
of any sort have ever been detected in this unrivalled 
brilliant, so that Mr. Dresden does not hesitate to 
assert that " there is no diamond known in the world to 
come up to it." Such, indeed, is its astonishing purity 
and lustre that the writer adds : " I matched my drop 
with the ' Koh-i-Nur ' at Garrard's one day, and to the 
surprise of all present, the latter's colour turned 
yellowish, a proof how perfectly w/iite my diamond 
must be." A competent judge, also wrote at the 
time : " It is perfectly pure, free from defects, and 
has extraordinary play and brilliancy. Indeed the 
quality of the stone is superior to the ' Koh-i-Nur.' 
Yet when half a share in this magnificent jewel was 
offered to a noted West-end jeweller for the relatively 
small sum of ;^i2,ooo, he declined it." 

This refusal probably led to the further migrations 
of the stone, which ultimately found its way to the 
" Far East " under somewhat remarkable circum- 
stances. After having been offered to nearly all the 


crowned princes of Europe, and successively declined 
by them, it was seen and greatly admired by an Indian 
rajah, who is said to have visited London in 1863, 
chiefly for the purpose of adding this diamond to his 
collection. But the price, fixed at that time at ;^40,ooo, 
was more than he could afford, and he was reluctantly 
compelled to decline the purchase. 

The rajah was accompanied on this occasion by 
an English merchant from Bombay, who, dazzled 
by the lustre of this peerless gem, expressed a great 
desire to possess it. " I should like to buy this 
diamond myself," he remarked, " but have not the 
means to do so at present. Whenever I am rich 
enough I shall certainly not fail to secure it." No atten- 
tion was paid at the time to these words, which, how- 
ever, were afterwards remembered, when the speaker 
found himself unexpectedly in a position to prove 
their sincerity. Within a year of his desire to possess 
the English " Dresden," the great war of Secession 
broke out in the United States, which led to an 
almost fabulous rise in the price of cotton, of which 
commodity the Bombay merchant happened to be 
a large holder. By selling off his stock at enormous 
profits he suddenly found himself in possession of 
ample means to gratify " the dearest wish of his heart." 
He at once wrote to Mr. Dresden, and his letter was 
followed by a special agent commissioned to effect the 
purchase. In'executing the task entrusted to him this 
agent contrived to do a stroke of business of which 
neither Mr. Dresden nor the purchaser was aware at 
the time. Making a show of extreme caution, he be- 
trayed an apparently praiseworthy zeal in the interest 


of his employer. His first objection was to the stone 
itself. " I am no expert," he remarked. " How can 
I be certain that it is a genuine diamond ?" The 
seller thereupon had it submitted to a competent 
and disinterested judge ; and when his verdict had 
been obtained, the agent thought the price (;^40,ooo) 
rather high, adding : " I have not full instructions, and 
do not think he would give so much. However, I do 
not mind taking the responsibility on myself of offering 
you ;^32,ooo. In fact, as it is evidently a very fine 
stone, I am prepared to do this on my own account, 
and if my employer does not ratify the transaction, you 
may still regard it as a bargain, for in that case I will 
keep the stone for myself" The expert, to whom it 
had been submitted, persuaded Mr. Dresden to accept 
this offer, and on receipt of ^32,000 from a person pro- 
bably not worth as many shillings, the diamond passed 
into the " middleman's " hands. By him it was con- 
veyed to Bombay, and handed over to the English 
merchant, who was given to understand that no 
abatement had been made, and that consequently 
his ^40,000 had been sunk in the purchase. The 
agent, and it is said one other, had thus a round sum 
of ^8,000 to divide between them, an arrangement 
which, however, would not have " held water " in a 
court of law. 

The usual ill-luck, apparently inseparable from 
the possession of all these great diamonds, now over- 
took the Bombay trader.* Continuing to do business 

* It is merely in the way of "coincidence " that we refer once more 
to the ill-luck which seems invariably to have accompanied the possession 
pf extraordinary large diamonds, and to instance the ruin which fell on 


in cotton, he found himself again a large holder, when 
" Secession," and with it the price of cotton, suddenly 
collapsed. This, with the withdrawal of the ;^40,ooo 
not only involved his affairs in pecuniary embarrass- 
ment, but threw him on a bed of sickness, from which 
he soon sank into the grave. His estate had now to 
to be wound up, and the executors considered them- 
selves fortunate in being able to recover the ;^40,ooo 
by disposing of the already famous " Dresden Drop" 
to the late notorious Gaikwar of Baroda, in whose 
family it still remains.f 

the procurer of this diamond for the Indian Prince, as well as the merchant 
buyer of the gem. Though the latter became a ruined merchant, and tlie 
former a wholly deposed potentate, we need hardly point out that in both 
instances it was the qualities which dominated the character of each, and 
not the stone, which ensured the ruin of the men in question. Aiiliis Gelins 
in his Nodes Atticae, tells us that when the Romans seized upon the treasure 
found in the Temple ot Toulouse, in Languedoc, a series of fatal misfortunes 
overtook the perpetrators of what was deemed their sacrilege, and that thence- 
forward the Aunim Tholosaniim (the gold of Toulouse), became a proverbial 
expression for treasure which brought ruin upon its possessors. 

t '' Our telegraphic intelligence of this morning contains an account of 
the investment of the youthful Gaikwar with full powers of administration, 
and the return of the State of Baroda to native rule, which were consum- 
mated on Wednesday after an imposing ceremony. More than six years 
have elapsed since the Indian Government, on the deposal of Mulhar Rao. 
assumed the functions of government in Baroda during the minority of the 
young Prince chosen as his most suitable successor ; and now the position of 
affairs is about to revert to what it was before Mulhar Rao fell into evil 
ways, and paid the penalty of his crimes. The question of our recent rela- 
tions with the reigning family and people of Baroda, has therefore, reached 
a terminal point, and presents itself for consideration, and description as a 
complete episode in modern Anglo-Indian history. The young Prince, to 
whose care the happiness and prosperity of two millions of people are now 
entrusted, was born in 1863, and is named the Maharajah Sivaji Rao. He 
is the direct descendant, through a younger son, of Pilaji Rao, the founder 
of the House. Khandi Rao left no heir, and the posthumous child of his 
wife, the Princess Jamna Bai, proving a daughter, his younger brother, 
Mulhar Rao, was allowed to assume and retain the rank of ruler. The 
antecedents of this Prince wrere not of a character to inspire much confi- 
dence in his capacity to direct the affairs of the State with happy results, 
and the event soon proved that the worst anticipations were justified. He 
was called upon in 187410 institute certain necessary reforms, and a definite 


It is not a little remarkable that two of the finest 
diamonds in the world, the " Star of the South " and 
the " English Dresden," should have had a closely 
parallel career. Both were found nearly about the 
same time, in the same district of Bagagem ; bought 
in the same city of Rio de Janeiro ; treated in the 
same place (Coster's Atelier, Amsterdam), forwarded 
through the same agency, (Mr. Dresden of London,) 
to the same country, India ; and there ultimately 
purchased by the same person, the Gaikwar of 

period was given him, within which they were to be carried out. The 
progress ot the threatened complication was precipitated by the attempt to 
poison the Resident, Colonel Phayre, and by the implication of the Gaikwar 
himself in the crime. Mulhai Rao was then suspended from his post, and 
fhe circumstances were investigated before a mixed commission. But the 
mfmbers, three of whom were English and the other three natives, were 
unable to agree in their decision, and the Supreme Government thereupon 
thought itself bound to intervene, and decree the removal of Mulhar Rao 
for his " notorious misconduct ' and " gross misgovernment," The diffi- 
culty then became to find a suitable successor for him, and, after as brief a 
deliberation as possible, the Princess Jamna Bai was allowed, in May, 1875, 
to adopt as her son the young Prince who had just been invested by Sir 
James Fergusson, with the sovereignty of his ancestors' dominions. During 
his minority the State has been governed under the control of British officials 
but great assistance has also been given by the experienced and talented 
native minister, Madhava Rao, who established his reputation as a skilful 
administrator many years ago in Travancore. As a consequence of these 
last six and a half years of enlightened government, Baroda has recovered 
all, and more than all, its old prosperity. The new Gaikwar has but to 
continue in the course marked out by our former ally, Gaikwar Khandi 
Rao, and to avoid the errors of his predecessor, Mulhar Rao. He will thus 
be able to maintain the prosperity of his people at its present high point, 
and to preserve with the paramount Power those relations of friendship and 
confidence which have so long characterized the intercourse of the Gaikwar 
and the Indian Government.'' — The Times, January 2nd. 1882. 



Lost and Found — Known m Turkey as the " Shepherd's 
Stone " — Sold to the hite Gaikwar of Baroda — Another 
Disappearance — Royal Egotism. 

N every respect a very remarkable stone, 
the " Akbar Shah" entirely disappeared 
about the close of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, but it has again recently come to 
light. Thanks to information courteously communi- 
cated to us by Messrs George Blogg & Co., of London, 
we are enabled to trace its history back to the famous 
Mogul Emperor Akbar Shah, apparently its first 
owner. It remained in the Mogul's treasury till the 
time of Shah Jehan, by whom it was beautifully en- 
graved in Arabic characters on both sides. After its 
long disappearance it suddenly came to light again a 
few years ago in Turkey, where it was known by the 
name of the " Shepherd's Stone." But the two inscrip- 
tions left no doubt as to its true origin. Mr. George 
Blogg, who purchased it at Constantinople in February, 
1866, was told at the time that, according to the 
tradition, it formed one of the eyes of the Peacock 
Throne, destroyed by Nadir Shah. By him it was 
briught to London, where it was rc-cut to a drop, as 


the most advantageous form, by the late Mr. L. M. 
Auerhaan. It was then sold by Messrs. Blogg, to 
the notorious Gaikwar of Baroda, in 1867, for 3I lacs 
of rupees (^35,000), and now lies hidden away with 
the other treasures accumulated by that prince during 
his oppressive reign. 

The stone weighed originally 120 Arabic, or 
116 English, carats. But in the hands of the cutter 
it was reduced to about 71 or 72 carats, and during 
the process the two inscriptions were totally des- 
troyed. Facsimile copies, however, were first taken, 
and are here appended, with the English translations: — 

Shah Akbar, To the Lord of Two Worlds, 

The Shah of the World, 1039, A.M. 

1028 A.H. Shah Jehan. 

The date on No. i, 1028 a.h., corresponds to 
1650, A.D. But Akbar, who succeeded Humayun in 
1556, died in 1605. Hence the inscription could not 
have been engraved by Akbar himself The date 
obviously indicates the year when Shah Jehan caused 
it to be made, whilst the terms of the inscription 
record the fact that the stone had belonged to Akbar. 
The second inscription was evidently added eleven 
years later on, also by Shah Jehan, the then owner, 
who reigned from 1627 to t666, his reign thus covering 
both dates. 



A Precious Colour in Diamonds—" D'un Beau Violet "— 
Famous Mines in History and Tradition — Misfortune 
follows Tavernier— The Old Idea of Great Diamonds 
being Unlucky— One Stone with a Treble History, 

HIS stone is described as "D'un beau 
violet," and at once attracts the atten- 
tion of every connoisseur. There are 
diamonds of a sapphire hue, and one 
of a ruby red, which are of high value ; there are also 
green, white olive, black, yellow, and fire-coloured ; 
but the red and blue are the rarest of all natural pro- 
ductions. An affluent of the Coleroon somewhat 
north of the Palqhat Pass in the South-Western 
Ghauts is said to be the locality where this unique 
specimen was found. 

It must strike students as very wonderful that 
the places in which great diamonds were said to be 
discovered are not the extensive mines at the base of 
the Neela-Mulla mountains, in the vicinity of the 
Krishna and Pomarjivers, where a hundred thousand 
miners, labourers, and merchants dwelt in the time of 
Methold ; nor the mines of Golconda, described by 
Jean Baptiste Tavernier ; nor those of Raulconda ; 
nor the Gani or Coloor, seven days journey from the 
same capital, where, in Tavernier's time, sixty 
thousand labourers were at work, and where, we are 


told, a poor Vaisya preparing a piece of ground to 
sow some millet, struck his hoe on a stone, which to 
his surprise and the dealers, too, turned out to be a 
diamond weighing twenty-five carats. It was from 
this thin soil that a stone of forty carats was found, 
which was presented to Shah Jehan by the Persian 
general Emir Jemla. But the stones found here were 
tinged with green, yellow, or red. Tavernier speaks 
of a diamond the weight of which was 793 carats, 
which was given by the Emir Jemla to the emperor. 
Sumelpoor on the South-Western frontier of Bengal^ 
and near the source of the river Quel, was also visited 
by Tavernier, and the South-West of Allahabad on 
the Ganges, a stronghold of the Prasians, was also the 
locality of the most ancient diamond mines. 

Vast as were and are these diamond fields, com- 
paratively few remarkable stones are declared to have 
been discovered there, and for obvious reasons. The 
feudal lord of the soil made conditions with the 
employer of labour, similar to those existing between 
the rich merchant jeweller Marcandar, and the King 
of Golconda, who stipulated that the merchant should 
pay yearly to the king 30,000 pagodas of 8s. 6d. each 
for working the mine, and reserve for the king's 
special right all stones found, which exceeded in 
weight two carats. This, no doubt, accounts for so 
few large diamonds coming to light. The merchant's 
temptation to have large stones broken up was very 

The experience of smuggling in all ages, and in 
every country, confirms the report that this restriction 
onl}' stimulated the secreting and disposal of the 


commodity so reserved. It was indeed a tremendous 
premium on the concealment of the place where these 
exceptional stones were found ; and as the inventive 
faculty of Easterns is of luxurious growth, it may well 
be believed that the extraordinary incidents which 
were related about the discovery of wonderful stones, 
would be as wonderful, and far more plentiful than 
the diamonds themselves. 

Tavern ier, on his last return from the East, sold 
twenty-five large diamonds to Louis le Grand Mo- 
narque, 1668. But this violet blue stood at the head of 
the list. From 1 391 to theend of theeighteenth century 
diamonds were passionately sought for both by men 
and women in most Courts of Europe to adorn their 
persons, and their grand reception rooms. The sums 
of money given to Tavernier by Louis XIV. for this 
Blue diamond and the other stones purchased by the 
Grand Monarque, so enriched the merchant, that he 
purchased a great estate, to which he retired to spend 
in peace his remaining years with his loved and trusted 
son. His sovereign, besides enriching Tavernier 
with above ;^ 100,000, added the honour of nobility. 
Alas ! The ill-luck which was said to pursue the 
merchants in these gems from India seems to have 
attached itself to this famous traveller. The son 
involved his aged father in such unfortunate specu- 
lations, that he was compelled to sell his estate 
to pay his debts, and at the age of eighty-four to 
venture out once more to the East. On his journey he 
was attacked by fever and perished. It is very note- 
worthy that Emir Jemla died, after the miscarriage of 
his son, in a similar manner. That this blue diamond 


was cut after coming into the possession of the French 
king, and reduced to 6/1 carats is most probable. It 
appears that by cleavage subsequently the dia- 
mond was reduced to 44^ carats, and after this 
treatment it came into the possession of the late 
Mr. Henry Thomas Hope, and stands unrivalled. 

The disappearance of Tavernier's rough blue 
from the French regalia, followed by the unexplained 
appearance of a cut gem of precisely the same delicate 
blue tint, and answering in size to the original after 
due allowance made for loss in cutting, leaves little 
or no room for doubting the identity of the two stones. 
Hence the theory set forth in Precious Stones and Gems 
remains unchallenged ; nor is it likely to be seriously 
called in question by any future experts. It will be 
further demonstrated in our account of the " Hope " 
diamond. We have also succeeded, by a careful 
process of analysis, in identifying this stone with the 
French " Blue." It thus appears that the rough un- 
cut Tavernier, the French "Blue," lost in 1792, and 
the " Hope," are one and the same stone. 



Another South African Gem—" Off Colour," but free from 
Flaw or Speck— Offered for Sale by Auction. 

HORTLY before his lamented death, 
the distinguished mineralogist, Mr. 
James Tennant, of London, became 
possessed of this gem. From the brief 
account published by him in November, 1880, and 
illustrated with four engravings, we gather that the 
rough diamond was brought to him from the South 
African diamond fields by one of his students. In 
the original state it weighed 112 carats, but it has 
since been cut in London as a brilliant, losing 46 
carats only in the process. Hence its present weight 
is 66 carats. Like most African stones it has a yellow 
tinge, and, as the printed account says, " it exceeds in 
size and brilliancy any diamond in the British crown." 
It was recently put up to auction at the rooms of 
Messrs. Christie, by Professor Tennant's executors, 
with a reserve, but was not sold. We have named 
it the "Tennant" in recognition of the remarkable 
talents of this great mineralogist. 

In the paper already referred to, mention is made 
of some other South African diamonds in the same 
collection, one of which is stated to weigh 56 carats. 
But it is apparently of inferior quality to the 
" Tennant," which, although of a yellow hue, is free 
from flaws or specks. 



A Brilliant Gem — " All the Colours of the Rainbow." 

EEING how recently the active working 
for diamonds in South Africa was 
commenced, it is not a little surprising 
that we are unable to present the reader 
with the history of one of the most precious stones 
known to experts by the somewhat arrogant title 
of " the Star of Diamonds." It is mentioned by 
Dieulafait as one of the largest and finest discovered 
in the South African diamond fields. " A lovely 
stone, which attracted attention by revealing under 
the microscope a prospect of pointed mountain crests, 
lit up by vivid sunlight in all the colours of the rain- 
bow." It weighed in the rough state 107I carats. 


A Treasure of Brazil — Fouud iuthe famous Diamond Province 
of Minas-Geraes. 

LMOST as little is known of this gem 
as of the " Star of Diamonds." It was 
found about the year 1852, in the 
Rio-das- Velhas (Guaicuti), a large river 
flowing from the Paraupeba Mountains, through the 
province of Minas-Geraes, Brazil, northwards to the 
the right bank of the San Francisco. In the absence 
of any further information it is interesting to identify 
the locality of the river which gives the gem its title. 
The upper branches of the San Francisco rise on the 
north of the Serra-das-Vertentes, 3,000 feet above the 
sea. They are principally the Paraupeba, and that 
more properly called the S. Francisco, which unite 
after a course of above 150 miles in 19° 20' S. lat. 
The river then flows in a northerly direction to its 
junction with the Rio-das-Velhas. Before this, how- 
ever, it forms the cataracts of Pirapora. The Rio- 
das-Velhas rises in the neighbourhood of Villa Rica 
on the northern decli . ities of the Serra Mantiqueira, 
and runs upwards of 250 miles. 

It is not unlikely that the stone under notice 
may have travelled down the San Francisco to the 
point where it was eventually found. We hope at a 
future day to trace its wanderings since those pre- 
adamite days when nature first set it adrift in the 

" troubled waters." 




A Product of the KoUur Mine — Cleavage and Flaws — A 
Risky and Unprofitable Speculation. 

EFORE the cleavage this stone, which 
Tavernier procured in the Kollur mine, 
weighed 104 carats. Although of fine 
water, it seemed to be so foul in the 
middle, that, being of large size and held at a high 
price, none of the Banians (native traders) would 
venture to purchase it. At last a Dutchman named 
Bazu was bold enough to do so, and having had it 
cleaved there was found in the interior as much as eight 
carats weight of impurities, which had the appearance 
of decayed vegetable matter.* The smaller portion 
remained pure with the exception of a few almost 
imperceptible blemishes. But as to the other portion, 
the flaws passed right through it, and it had to be 
divided into seven or eight pieces. Bazu ran a great 
risk in having this stone cleaved. The operation 
might have broken it into a hundred pieces. Even 
as it was he made a bad bargain, which shows plainly 
enough that " where the Banians refuse to bite, there 
is not much hope for the Franks." 

* A diamond of similar character is now in the British Museum. 


Cutters at Work in a Mine — A Notable Operation 

HIS stone takes its name from the mine 
where it was discovered. There is 
nothing sufficiently sahent in its history 
to suggest a more appropriate title. 
Tavernicr mentions the stone in his account of the 
Raulconda mine, where he saw it in the process of 
being cut. " In this mine," he says, " there are a 
number of cutters, each of whom has only one wheel, 
which is of steel, and about the size of an ordinary 
dinner plate. They place one stone only on each 
wheel, which they moisten incessantly with water 
until they have found the grain of the stone. Then 
they take oil, and do not spare the diamond dust, 
which is very cheap, to make the stone run the 
quicker, and they also charge it much more than we 
do. I have seen 150 lbs. of lead placed on one stone, 
though it was certainly a very large one, which re- 
mained at 103 carats after having been cut, and the 
mill was like ours, the large wheel of which was 
turned by four blacks." The site of Raulconda mine 
will be found identified in our introductory chapter. 


In the Early Days of our Eastern Empire — National Ingrati- 
tude — A Georgian Scandal — Cruel Caricature — The 
Power of Diamonds. 

N the year 1786 the " Hastings'' diamond, 
(which cannot now be identified in the 
crown jewels), was sent by the Nizam 
ol the Deccan to King George III., 
whose favour Mr. Hastings was about that time 
anxious to secure. He was on his trial for having 
endowed the nation with an eastern empire. Com- 
missioned to deliver the jewel to the king, this 
circumstance brought both himself and the royal 
family into great trouble. The report was soon 
spread that in order to prevent an adverse sentence, 
Hastings had bribed the king with a valuable diamond, 
and as Queen Charlotte had the reputation of being 
very avaricious, it was added that her mediation had 
also been purchased by similar means. This gave rise 
to numerous scurrilous writings and caricatures, which 
were publicly hawked about the streets and exhibited 
in the shop windows. In one of these advantage was 
taken of a notorious mountebank, who professed that 
he could eat and digest stones like an ostrich, and 
whose performances were advertised on posters under 
the heading of " The Great Stone Eater." For the 
juggler the caricaturists substituted the king, who was 
represented as " The Greatest Stone Eater." He was 
depicted with a diamond in his mouth, and a heap of 


others ready for mastication. Amongst the numerous 
street ballads that appeared on the occasion was the 
following, reprinted with some slight but necessary 
modifications by Thomas Wright in his Caricature 

History of the Georges : — 

I'll sing you a song of a diamond so fine, 
That soon in the Crown of our Monarch will shine ; 
Of its size and its value the whole country rings, 
By Hastings bestowed on the best of all kings. 

Deny down, &c. 

From India this jewel was lately brought o'er. 
Though sunk in the sea, it was found on the shore, 
And just in the nick to St James's it got, 
Conveyed in a bag by the brave Major Scott, * 

Deny down, &c. 

Lord Sydneyf stepped forth when the tidings were known, 
It's his office to cany such news to the throne, 
Though quite out of breath to the closet he lan. 
And stammered with joy, 'ere his tale he began. 

Derry down, &c. 

Here's a jewel, my liege, there's none such in the land. 
Major Scott with three bows, put it into my hand, 
And he swore, when he gave it, the wise ones were bit. 
For it never was shown to Dundas or to Pitt, 

Deny down, &c. 

* This Major Scott was a personal friend and prominent champion 
of Warren Hastings, and when the diamond scandal was referred to in the 
House of Commons, he it was who supplied the necessary information, and 
gave the true histoiy of the affair. But his explanation was received with 
incredulity by thf hostile faction. 

t The diamond, together with a rich purse, containing the Nizam's 
letter was openly presented to the king by Lord Sydney at a levee in 
St. James's Palace. But Hastings happened, unfortunately for himself, to 
be present on the occasion, this circumstance, of course, lending colour to 
the report that the diamond really came from him, the Nizam's name 
being merely used as a cloak to veil the true nature of the transaction. 


" For Dundas," cried our Sovereign, " unpolished and rough 
Give him a Scotch pebble — 'tis more than enough — 
And jewels to Pitt, Hastings justly refuses, 
For he has already more gifts than he uses." 

Derry down, &c. 

" But run, Jenky, run !" adds the king in delight, 

" Bring the queen and the princesses here for a sight ; 

They never would pardon the negligence shown. 

If we kept from their knowledge so glorious a stone." 

Derry down, &c. 

" But guard the door, Jenky ! No credit we'll win 
If the prince, in a frolic, should chance to step in ; 
The boy to such secrets of State we'll ne'er call, 
Let him wait till he gets our crown, jewels, and all !" 

Derry down, &c. 

In the princesses run, and surprised, cry " O, la ! 
'Tis as big as the egg of a pigeon, papa !" 
" And a pigeon of plumage worth plucking is he," 
Replies our good monarch, "who sent it to me !'' 

Derry down, &c. 

Madam Schwellenberg peep'd thro' the door at a chink, 
And tipped on the diamond a sly German wink. 
As much as to say, " Can we ever be cruel 
To him who has sent us so glorious a jewel ?" 

Derry down, &c. 

Now God save the queen ! while the people I teach. 
How the king may grow rich, while the Commons impeach. 
Then let nabobs go plunder, and rob as they will, 
And throw in their diamonds as grist to his mill. 

Derry down, Sec. 

This is no doubt the stone of which Mawe wrote : 
" A fine stone, weighing loi carats, called the * Nizam ' 
diamond, was brought from India by governor 
Hastings ; it made a most perfect brilliant, and 
was presented to our late gracious queen Charlotte." 


In this sentence we have a characteristic instance 
of the extreme carelessness displayed by most writers 
on precious stones. For, short as it is, it contains no 
less than three mistakes, all of which might have been 
avoided by a little attention to the facts of the case. 
In the first place the stone was never " called the 
' Nizam ' diamond." Secondly, it was not " brought 
from India by governor Hastings," but sent from 
India by the Nizam to governor Hastings. Lastly, 
it was not "presented to our late gracious Queen 
Charlotte," but to King George III. by Hastings at 
the request of the Nizam. It is, however, likely 
enough that it afterwards passed into Queen Charlotte's 
possession, although of this there can be no certainty. 
It is also quite possible that, for his own purposes, 
Hastings may have made the most of the part played 
by him in the transaction. He was fully aware that 
his enemies were both numerous and powerful, and 
great efforts were needed to command sufficient 
influence to obtain a favourable verdict. One of the 
means which he freely employed to secure this object 
was a lavish distribution of his funds amongst influen- 
tial members of society. Hence he was not parti- 
cularly interested at the time in refuting the 
popular impression, that the great diamond was his 
personal gift to royalty. A certain amount of interest 
could not fail to be felt in the fate of a man who 
could afl"ord to solicit the favour of his sovereign 
by such princely means. Society at the time was not 
immaculate, and in any case it was as true then as 
ever that " every woman had her price," and that when 
all else failed, diamonds ever commanded success. If 


he did not possess an unlimited store of these trea- 
sures, the impression that there were more where this 
gift to the king came from, might equally well serve 
his purpose. 


The comparatively Unknown Diamond Fields of South 
Africa — The Progress and Wealth of Griqualand West 
— One of many Great Diamonds. 

R. R. W. MURRAY, in a paper read 
before the Society of Arts a year ago, 
held that while the Diamonds Fields of 
South Africa are the least known of 
English territory, and have been most misrepre- 
sented, no single spot of ground in the whole world, 
is better worth knowing than they are. We quite 
agree with him in believing that no discovery of 
modern times is more remarkable than that of the 
Diamond Fields of South Africa, no portion of her 
Majesty's dominions has made such rapid progress 
in civilization and wealth ; and that unless the pro- 
gress of the province of Griqualand West, in which 
the Diamond Fields are situated, is checked by mis- 
government, it will be one of the chief centres of 
trade, and commerce in that great country. 

What is almost as remarkable as the general 
ignorance in regard to South Africa, is the way in 
which some of the diamonds discovered there 
become absorbed, and leave comparatively no trace of 
their history or their whereabouts. Take, for example 
the " Star of Beaufort." All that appears to be known 


concerning it is that, speaking of the unusual number 
of large stones found in the South African diamanti- 
ferous regions, Dieulafait observes that, " among the 
exceptional treasures were diamonds weighing con- 
siderably more than loo carats, one of which was 
the beautiful ' Star of Beaufort.' Our inquiries do 
not at present enable us to add anything to this 
vague mention of a very valuable stone. 


Peculiarities of Brazilian Stones — A Diamond-Bearing Rock 
— A Notable Gem, named after the District where it 
was found. 

N a recent number of the American 
Journal of Science, Mr. A. O. Derby, in 
a paper on the geology of the diamond, 
gives some interesting results of his 
researches. It has been generally stated that the 
Brazilian diamond has its matrix in itacolumite, 
which is a granular quartzose rock sometimes flexible. 
Mr. Derby, however, shows that, under the name of 
itacolumite rocks, two distinct geological series have 
hitherto been confounded. The diamond-bearing- 
rock of Grao Mogul probably belongs to the newer 
of the two series ; but the stones have not been 
formed in these rocks, and occur there only as deriva- 
tive bodies like the associated pebbles. At Sao Jao 
de Chapada the diamond is found in a deposit of 
clay ; and its original matrix is described as a vein of 
quartz accompanying a rock of unknown nature, but 
containing iron and crystals of tourmaline, traversing 
a series of schists and itacolumite. Mr. Derby is of 
opinion that the original diamond formation in Brazil 
is probably of Cambrian age. A notable diamond of 
?>']\ carats was found in 185 1, in the rich mineral 
district of Chapada, or Santa-Cruz-da-Chapada, three 
leagues North-East of Fanado, in the province of 
Minas-Geraes, Brazil It has been named after the 
district that produced it. 


Under the Mahratta Power—" Gifts of the gods "—A Present 
to the East India Company — Reminiscences of a 
Royal Birthday— Re-cut by Order of the Marquis of 

HE town of Nassak, variously written 
Nassac, Nassik, Nasik, Nessuck, &c., 
lies on the Upper Godavery, 95 miles 
by rail north-east of Bombay. In the 
neighbourhood are some famous cave-temples, and 
in the days of the Mahratta ascendancy, this town 
was a noted place of pilgrimage, annually resorted to 
by thousands of devotees. The offerings of these 
worshippers of Shiva, the presiding genius of the 
district, caused here, as elsewhere, throughout the 
peninsula, a gradual accumulation of vast treasures 
in the local shrines. While the Mahratta power 
flourished, these treasures were respected, but when 
they fell upon evil days, the Peishwas, nominal heads 
of the great confederacy, helped themselves freely to 
the "gifts of the gods," thereby acquiring the means 
to carry on their incessant wars against rival chiefs, 
and finally against the all-absorbing " Company 
Bahadur." When Bajerow, the last independent 
Peishwa, surrendered to the British in the last Mah- 
ratta war of 18 1 8, his baggage became the "loot" 


of the conquerors. Amongst the prizes of war 
seized on that occasion, was this diamond, which 
the Peishwa had already taken from the temple of 
Shiva, in Nassak, and which was thence known as 
the " Nassak" Diamond. It had been concealed by 
his orders, but was brought to light by Colonel 
J. Briggs, who forthwith handed it over to the Marquis 
of Hastings, under whom the combined operations 
against the Peishwa had been conducted. By him it 
was presented to the East India Company, but was 
ultimately given up, and formed part of the booty, 
being at the time valued at ^^30,000. It was thus 
brought to the London market, in the year 1818, and 
soon afterwards sold by the East India Company to 
Messrs. Rundell and Bridge. Mawe, who had the oppor- 
tunity of seeing it, describes it as " a diamond of great 
purity, but of a bad form." He gives its weight as 
79 carats and 2 grains, (the 79 being an obvious 
misprint for 89), and adds that "its form is trian- 
gular, and it is cut and polished, so as to retain the 
greatest possible weight. But it exhibits none of the 
qualities which it would so proudly display, if it had 
teen well proportioned." 

When it reached Europe the "Nassak," which 
had been badly cut in India, presented very much the 
form and appearance of the " Koh-i-Nur," the native 
cutter having, as usual, sacrificed everything to size. 
Hence, when Messrs. Rundell became the owners, 
they found it desirable to have it re-cut, and in doing 
so they pursued a very wise course. By instructing 
the artist to keep as closely as possible to the traces 
of the Hindu cutter, " amending his defects, and 


accommodating the pattern to the exigencies of the 
subject matter, they transformed the rudely-facetted, 
lustreless mass into a diamond of perfect brilliancy, at 
the sacrifice of no more than lo per cent, of its 
original weight." 

The thread of the history is then taken up by 
Murray, who tells us that " it has remained for ten 
years in the possession of Rundell & Bridge, and 
was disposed of by public sale in London in July, 
1831,* for the sum of ^^7, 200 to Emanuel Brothers. 
Its weight is stated to be 89^ carats. The amount 
realized by the sale of the ' Nassak ' diamond 
scarcely amounted to one-third of its previously 
estimated amount." 

It was in the month of August, 1837, that the 
" Nassak " and a number of other costly gems were 
put up to sale, by Messrs. Emanuel in Willis's Lower 
Room, King Street, St. James's. The "Nassak," 
and the diamond earrings, presented by the Nabob of 
Arcot to Queen Charlotte, together with the brilliant 
brooch purchased by Emanuel from Bevis Marks, were 
knocked down to the Marquis of Westminster, who 
presented the earrings and brooch to the Marchioness 
as a birthday present. 

At the Drawing Room on Queen Victoria's 
birthday, immediately succeeding her accession to 
to the British throne, the Marquis of Westminster 
wore the " Nassak " diamond on the hilt of his sword, 
and, " the Marchioness intended on the same occasion 

* In this year Messrs. Rundell retired from business, when the 
" Nassak," with much oi their other goods, was brought to the hammer. 


to have worn the ' Arcot ' diamonds, but indisposition 
prevented her attendance." 

We have seen that the *' original weight " was 
89I carats, and this was now reduced to 78I carats, 
a very slight sacrifice compared with the loss suffered 
by the "Koh-i-Nur', and some other Indian stones 
when re-cut in London or Amsterdam. Kluge says 
the re-cutting was executed " by order of the Marquis 
of Westminster."* But this must be a mistake ; for 
the operation, as already stated, was performed by 
Messrs. Rundell before the stone was put up to sale 
in July, 1837, and consequently before the Marquis 
had any control over it. 

It gained so much in the lapidary's hands that 
this gem is now reputed to be worth from ;C25,ooo 
to ^^30,000, and it must not be forgotten that the 
stone was sold when times were very bad and money 

* " Aut Befehl des Marquis von Westminster von neuem gescli- 
nitten,'' op. cit. p. 254. Barbot also maites the same mistaiic, asserting 
(p. 269) that the operation was " executee par les ordres du Marquis de 


Engraved Diamonds — A Barbarous Subterfuge — Sadek Khan 
Bricked Up in a Dungeon — An Incident of the Desert 
— "A Blaze of Jewels" — Oriental Extravagance. 

HIS fine stone shares with the " Jehan- 
Ghir Shah " the honour of being the 
only diamonds that are known to 
have ever been engraved in the East. 
And so little known are even these specimens, that 
they are not so much as mentioned by King in his 
otherwise interesting account of diamond engraving 
in the Natural History of Precious Stones. 

The " Shah " seems to have formed part of the 
Persian regalia from the remotest times. Barbot 
asserts that it was lost when Nadir Shah's treasures 
were plundered by his revolting troops after his death 
in 1747. But if so, it was afterwards recovered, for 
according to the generally accepted account, it was 
presented to the Russian Emperor, Nicholas I., by the 
Persian Prince Cosrhoes, younger son of Abbas Mirza, 
when he visited St. Petersburg in 1843. 

The " Shah " is table-cut, or what is technically 
known as lasque. It is of the very finest water, with- 
out the least cloud or flaw, and so pure throughout, 
that in treating it, the cutter was able to leave several 
of the national facets untouched. This circumstance 
also explains the small sacrifice which it suffered in 

THE SHAH. 233 

the process of reduction. It is said to have weighed in 
the rough about 95 carats, and as its present weight 
is 86 carats, it lost 9 carats only in the cutter's hands. 
The three facets obtained by cleavage are beautifully 
engraved in Arabo-Persian characters with the names 
of three Persian rulers as under: — 

Li, y^^f (Akbar Shah). 
^^ r^^^' (Nisim Shah). 

3. ^ "^1 -,Aj' (Fat'hh Ali Shah). 

Round the upper edge of the stone runs a small 
groove, apparently for the purpose of securing the 
string with which it was worn suspended round the 
neck. By what process this intaglio and the inscrip- 
tions were executed it is impossible to say. The 
probability is that all were done at the same time 
by some European gem-engraver employed by the 
Persian Court. 

The third name engraved on this remarkable 
diamond is that of Aga Mohammed's nephew, who 
succeeded him in 1797. On Aga's death in that year, 
the usurper, Sadek Khan seized a great quantity of 
crown jewels. But he was defeated at Kasvin, and 
he purchased his freedom by surrendering most of 
these treasures. The rest he retained, intending, if 
necessary, to use them in a similar way on some future 
occasion. Some time afterwards he did actually again 
revolt. Fat'hh All's patience was now exhausted, and 
he not only confiscated all the remaining jewels, 



amongst which was this engraved stone, but also 
ordered the rebel Sadek Khan to be bricked up alive 
in a dungeon. This method of punishment was 
adopted because Fat'hh Ali had, on a former occasion, 
promised on oath never to shed Sadek's blood. 

Yet Fat'hh Ali, in spite of his inhuman punish- 
ment of Sadek, was not naturally cruel. Many- 
instances are, indeed, related of his kindly and mag- 
nanimous disposition. On one occasion, as he was 
passing through the desert from Bastam to Shahrud, 
it so happened that the ladies of the harem and their 
escort lost their way. The king, with a few atten- 
dants, immediately set out in search of them ; but 
they strayed so far that all the water was consumed 
and nothing remained except a small piece of ice, 
which was reserved for Fat'hh Ali. Perceiving how- 
ever, that a young prince had fainted from weakness 
and thirst, this Oriental Sir Philip Sydney relin- 
quished the life-giving morsel, and with his own hands 
placed it in the mouth of his exhausted fellow traveller. 
Fat'hh Ali was on one occasion visited by Sir 
R. Kerr-Porter, who in his Travels thus describes his 
magnificent reception : " He entered the saloon from 
the left, and advanced to the foot of it with an air 
and step which belonged entirely to a sovereign. 
Had there been any assumption in his manner 
I could not have been so impressed. He was one 
blaze of jewels, which literally dazzled the sight on 
first looking at him. A lofty tiara of three elevations 
was on his head, which shape appears to have been 
long peculiar to the crown of the great king. It was 
entirely composed of thickly-set diamonds and pearls, 


rubies and emeralds, so exquisitely disposed as to 
form a mixture of the most beautiful colours in the 
brilliant light reflected from its surface. Several 
black feathers like the heron's plumes, were inter- 
mixed with the resplendent aigrettes of this truly 
Imperial diadem, whose bending points were finished 
with pear-shaped pearls of an immense size. The 
vesture was of gold tissue, nearly covered with a 
similar disposition of jewelry, and crossing the 
shoulders were too strings of pearls, probably the 
largest in the world. I call his dress a vesture, 
because it set close to his person, from the neck to 
the bottom of the waist, showing a shape as noble as 
his air. At that point it devolved downwards in 
loose drapery, like the usual Persian garment, and 
was of the same costly materials with the vest. But 
for splendour nothing could exceed the broad brace- 
lets round his arms, and the belt which encircled 
his waist. They actually blazed like fire, when the 
rays of the sun met them ; and when we know the 
names derived from such excessive lustre, we cannot 
be surprised at seeing such an effect. The jewelled 
band on the right arm was called the ' Mountain of 
Light,' and that on the left 'the Sea of Light.' 
These names were of course derived from the cele- 
brated diamonds contained in the bracelets." 

It will be seen from our account of the " Darya- 
i-Nur " and " Moon of Mountains " that this writer 
is in error regarding the name of one of these famous 
diamonds. His description is in other respects ex- 
tremely interesting, and helps to show that towards 
the beginning of the present century most of the 


crown jewels (scattered during the troubles ensuing 
on the death of Nadir Shah), had again been 
recovered and collected in the royal treasury. 

Fat'hh Ali, who retained his seat on the throne 
lill his death in 1S34, was remarkable in another 
respect. His harem consisted of 800 ladies, and he 
left issue nearly two hundred children. Mr. Binning 
assures us that in 1850, many of his off-spring were 
still alive, and earning their bread as artisans and 




Strange History — The Vicissitudes of a Diamond — A 
Child's Toy worth a King's Ransom — The Discovery 
of Diamonds at the Cape — A Great Stone thrown 
away in Africa to be afterwards Sold for over ;f ii,ooo 
in London. 

HE story of the " Star of South Africa " 
(now better known as the " Dudley ") 
is the history of the beginning of dia- 
mond mining at the Cape of Good 
Hope. Apart from its interest in this respect it is 
quite a little romance of accidental discovery. 
Mr. B. W. Murray narrated it one evening last 
year to the Society of Arts. We cannot do better 
than reproduce the leading facts from his graphic 
paper which has been published in the Society's 
Journal : — 

" In the course of that year, 1867, just as things 
were at the very worst, and men had come to 
regard the whole of South Africa as God-forsaken, 
Mr. John O'Reilly, a trader and hunter in the 
interior, was in Albania. Here I had better explain 
that Albania is a portion of the province of Griqua- 
land West. It was a portion of the territory of 
the Griquas, who were under the chieftainship of 


Nicholas Waterboer, who afterwards ceded his terri- 
tory to the British authorities. That territory, which 
became a Crown colony, and in which are the diamond 
diggings and mines, is situated between the Cape 
Colony, the Free State, the Batlapin territory, and 
that which is set down in the old maps as occupied 
by Hottentot tribes, and in which the copper mines 
are found. I shall endeavour to avoid embarrassing 
you with more of such details than are unavoidable. 
The latitude and longitude are not at all essential to 
the subject with which I am dealing. It will be suffi- 
cient for you if I state that Griqualand West is about 
600 miles from each of the sea ports, and that it is 
approached by various routes ; those most frequented 
are the western, or Table Bay route, the eastern, from 
Port Elizabeth, the frontier, or the East London 
route, and the Durban or Natal route. 

" Albania, of which I commenced to speak, was 
a portion of the Griqua territory, settled by colonists, 
under terms made with Waterboer, some two years 
before the discovery of diamonds had been heard of 
One of the colonists who had helped to form the 
settlement was a Mr. Van Niekirk. Mr. O'Reilly, 
who was returning from the interior to Colesberg, 
called upon Van Niekirk, and remained with him 
the night. In the course of the evening, one of 
Van Niekirk's children, a little girl, was playing on 
the floor with some of the pretty pebbles which are 
common in the neighbourhood of the Vaal River. 
Mr. O'Reilly's attention was directed to one of the 
stones, which threw out a very strong light, to which 
Mr. O'Reilly's eyes had been unaccustomed. He 


took it Up from the floor and offered to buy it, asking 
what Van Niekirk would take for it. The simple- 
minded Boer could not understand what the meaning 
of purchasing a stone could be, and he said he would 
take no money for it, but that if Mr. O'Reilly had a 
mind to it, he could have it. 

" The colonial trader is generally represented as 
a verneuker of a most designing and unscrupulous 
kind, but there are men amongst them whose right 
dealing and high character would stand comparison 
with those of any men in the world, and no men have 
a better footing amongst the Boers than the old- 
established traders. Mr. O'Reilly is one of them. 
He told Van Niekirk that he believed it to be a 
precious stone and of value ; he would, therefore, not 
take it for nothing. It was ultimately agreed between 
them that O'Reilly should take the stone, ascertain 
its value, and, if found to be a diamond, as O'Reilly 
suspected it was, that it should be sold, and the money 
divided between them, Mr. O'Reilly took the stone 
to Colesberg, where he showed it, and he confidently 
stated to the people he met at the bar of the hotel 
that it was a diamond. He wrote his initials on the 
window-pane and cut a tumbler with the stone, and 
was laughed at for his alleged foolishness, as many a 
discoverer had been before him. One of the company 
took the stone out of O'Reilly's hands and threw it 
into the street. It was a narrow chance that the 
stone was found again, and, had it not been, it is quite 
a question whether the Diamond Fields of South 
Africa had yet or ever been discovered in our day. 
However, the stone was found, and O'Reilly sent it 


to Grahamstown, to Dr. Atherstone, to be tested, and 
and the doctor and Bishop Ricards, the Roman 
Catholic Bishop of Grahamstown (one of the most 
scientific men in South Africa) both pronounced it to 
be a diamond of 22^ carats. From Grahamstown the 
stone was sent to the then Colonial Secretary, 
the Hon. Richard Southey, afterwards Lieutenant- 
Governor of Griqualand West, who submitted the 
stone to the best authorities at hand, and they all 
decided it to be a diamond. It was then forwarded to 
the Queen's jewellers, Messrs. Hunt and Roskell, who 
confirmed the decisions obtained in the colony, and 
valued the stone at ;^5oo. At this valuation, it was 
purchased by his Excellency, Sir Philip Wodehouse, 
who was Governer of the colony at the time. 
Mr. O'Reilly, as soon as he had ascertained for 
certain that his first stone was a diamond, set out 
to see if he could not find others, and was not 
long before he found one of 8| carats, and this too 
was purchased by Sir Philip Wodehouse for ;!^20O. 
This led to a good deal of excitement throughout the 
country. Small diamonds were brought in by natives. 
Then flashed the startling intelligence through the 
country that a diamond of over 83 carats had been 
discovered. This turned out to be true, and this is 
how it came about. Mr. Van Niekirk, from whom 
Mr. O'Reilly obtained the first stone, hearing that it 
had turned out to be a diamond, remembered that he 
had seen one of a similar character in the possession 
of a native, and set out to find it. A Boer is not long 
in getting hold of a native when he wants him, and 
Van Niekirk soon had his man. The native had 


kept the stone, and Van Niekirk gave him nearly 
all he possessed for it — about 500 sheep, horses, &c. — 
but at whatever the price, he obtained the stone, and 
set off with it to Messrs. Lilienfield Brothers, of Hope- 
town, merchants of long standing in South Africa, and 
now represented in Hatton-garden. They purchased 
the stone for i^i 1,200, and christened it the " Star of 
South Africa," forwarded it to England, and it ulti- 
mately became the property of the Countess of Dudley, 
who purchased it of Messrs. Hunt and Roskell." 

In the process of cutting, undertaken by the pur- 
chasers, it was reduced to 46^ carats, and assumed, 
in the lapidary's hands, a triangular shape of such 
great brilliancy and perfectly colourless, that it is im- 
possible to distinguished it from an Indian stone of 
the finest water. The present Earl of Dudley had 
it skilfully mounted with 95 smaller brilliants, as a 
head ornament, whereby full effect is given to its 
beautiful form and splendid lustre. 


The Peacock Throne — Strange Picture of Magnificence — 
An Error Corrected — The Sanguinary Adventures of 

HIS Stone we have so named because it 
formed a conspicuous feature of the 
magnificent throne of the Mogul em- 
perors, the gems of which were yearly 
weighed, and the result carefully noted. There were 
altogether seven Imperial thrones covered all over, 
some with diamonds, others with rubies, emeralds, or 
pearls. But this, which Tavernier fully describes, was 
by far the most sumptuous, and was specially dis- 
tinguised by a peacock, whose outspread tail was 
made of blue sapphires and other coloured gems, and 
whose body was of enamelled gold studded with 
stones, and with a large ruby in front, whence hung 
a pear-shaped pearl, about 50 carats in weight, or 200 
grains. On either side of the peacock, and at about 
the same height, there stood two bouquets, the flowers 
of which were of enamelled gold and precious stones. 
Tavernier goes on to say that, " on the side of the 
throne facing the Court, there is an open-set jewel, 
whence hangs a diamond from 80 to 90 carats in zveight, 
and surrounded by rubies and emeralds, and when 
the king is seated he has this jewel right in front of 


him." Tavernier, who makes no further reference to 
this diamond, adds that the throne was begun by 
Tamerlane, and finished by Shah Jehan, and that it 
was valued at seventy lacs of rupees (equal to ;!^ 700,000 
sterling), " qui sont cent soixante millions, 500,000 
livres de nostre monnoye." There is every reason to 
doubt the accuracy of Tavernier's statement, at all 
events as to the commencement of the Peacock 
Throne. Tamerlane is probably an error for Baber 
or Humayun, and the point raises some interesting 
if not melancholy, reflections. 

About the year 1398, Tamerlane (known as the 
" Firebrand of the Universe,") crossed the Indus 
in his raid from Tartary to the luxurious dis- 
trict of Delhi, and on his course of indiscriminate 
plunder and slaughter, became so hampered with 
captives taken on his march, that he slaughtered in 
cold blood 100,000 of them. He ravaged Delhi, set 
fire to its magnificent public buildings and the dwell- 
ings of its inhabitants, and inaugurated a scene of 
indescribable massacre and pillage, by acts of besotted 
truculence. Then having secured untold wealth, and 
wasted more than he could take away, he returned to 
his Tartar capital, a monster among bandits, never 
more to visit the scenes of his horrible exploits. His 
inroad upon India was measured by a few days only. 
He constructed nothing but piles of unburied men, 
women, and children, and he wrote nothing but a 
legend of blood and barbarous outrage. 

Very general as is the belief in the one Peacock 
Throne out of the seven Imperial seats, covered all 
over with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, or pearls, it 


would be lawful to hesitate whether " the bird with 
out-spread tail made of sapphires and other coloured 
gems, and whose body was of enamelled gold, studded 
with stones, and with a large ruby in front, whence 
hung a pear-shaped pearl, weighing about 50 carats," 
is the actual thing, familiarly known by the French 
jeweller as the bird strutting about the chateaux in 
his native country. 


Roughs of the East and West— A Text for the Educationist— 
A Lost Diamond — A Reminiscence of Golconda, 

STRANGE title for a diamond, is "The 
Rough ; " a name which is associated 
in England with the worst form of 
humanity. A philosopher might find 
a text for a moral essay in a comparison of the inno- 
cent gem and the "rough" of the east-end of 
London. If it takes three generations to make a 
gentleman, however, the human rough as we know 
him in London, is far less susceptible of conversion 
into the polished jewel than nature's inarticulate gem 
coarse and unattractive, as found in the mine. We 
commend this theme of contrast and comparison to 
the educationist. Our "Rough'' in this chapter is 
a diamond of doubtful history. 

Mawe concludes his account of " Peculiar Dia- 
monds " with the remark that " there are in the hands 
of individuals briUiants of considerable magnitude, 
from 26 to 30 carats, and a rough diamond has lately 
been imported that weighs over 80 carats." It does 
not appear that this Rough specimen has been 
further traced. As it is impossible to say how much 
of its weight may have been sacrificed by the process 
of cutting, its weight in the rough gives no clue to its 
identity with any existing brilliants weighing less 
than 80 carats. 



Bornean Gems — Exploration of North Borneo— Difficulties 
to be overcome — Indications of Success — A Genuine 
Bornean Stone — The Treasures of Sarawak. 

HOUGH we have seen some notable 
and fine diamonds hailing from the 
little-known and wonderful island of 
Borneo, we have had reason, as will 
already have been observed, to question the reality 
of the great gem, which is offered to the world as an 
example of Bornean treasures. 

The truth is, that neither in the Dutch region 
of Borneo, nor in the territories of the Rajah of 
Sarawak, has anything like systematic exploration for 
gems been conducted. Hunting for precious stones 
is known to be of so speculative a character, that 
mineral explorers in Borneo have been encouraged 
rather to seek for coal, iron, copper, antimony, Lnd 
gold, than for diamonds. There are traditions of 
mining for precious stones, and without doubt, in 
past days, many diamonds have been found, but 
recent investigations have shown that the quantity 
exported has been exaggerated, though their quality 
can hardly be excelled. 

It is to be hoped that Borneo is entering upon a 
new era of exploration and prosperity. In spite of the 
tremendous obstacles of jungle and other difficulties, 
Mr. Frank Hatton, F.C.S., one of the most successful 
students of our Royal School of Mines, has already 


made great headway in the scientific exploration 
of the northern regions of Borneo, under the chartered 
company, whose cessions in the Malay Archipelago, 
have recently been so much discussed. Although he 
only started on his interesting journey of exploration 
in the autumn of 1881, his investigations lead to en- 
couraging hopes as to the mineral resources of the 
country, notably in the way of coal, iron, and anti- 
mony, besides a suggestion of an excellent mineral 
oil. It is too early as yet for the explorer to have 
arrived at anything like definite results. His travels 
belong at present as m.uch to the history of geo- 
graphy as to possible mineral deposits. Adventures 
of river and jungle, experiences of natives who have 
never yet seen white men, incidents of sport, acci- 
dents of travel, variations of climate, and a hundred 
other mattei's that belong to first visits to new worlds, 
must naturally tend to interfere somewhat with a 
concentrated hunt for minerals. Nevertheless, Mr. 
Hatton is sending home encouraging reports, and in 
one of them, we venture to think, he shows that he 
has been within the possible pale of a diamantiferous 
region, though it seems to us he is more intent upon 
what the company would regard as the greater 
commercial importance of metals.* His researches 
arc, as we have already said, attended with many 

 As regards the Sarawak district of Borneo, The Neiv Ceylon quotes 
Mr. Crocker, (a former resident under the present Rajah Brooke), who, in a 
paper read at the Royal Geographical Society in February, 1881, stated 
that the upper country of Borneo is rich in minerals, that gold is still worked 
by the Chinese, and diamonds by the Malays. This is outside the northern 
cession, which is practically a " Garden of the Sun," for vegetation, and 
with a grand range of mountains. In Sarawak, 25,000 tons of antimony 
was exported, from 1S59 to 1879, and from 1870 to 1879, 15,000 flasks of 


difficulties, not the least being that of a climate which, 
attractive to the tropical planter, must be very trying 
to the physical powers of the mineral explorer. The 
operations of the young scientist, are supplemented by 
the aid of a chemical laboratory with furnaces for the 
assaying of metals at Labuan, whence he has already 
sent home analyses of certain mineral specimens sub- 
mitted to him, as well as examples of his own dis- 
coveries. Caution is evidently one of his characteristics, 
and travel in a tropical country is a slow business ; we 
must, therefore, be content to wait, but we have great 
hopes that the spirit of exploration once roused in 
Borneo, we shall soon have a real knowledge of the 
value of the information which has come down to us 
from ancient times, describing Borneo somewhat 
grandiloquently, it must be confessed, as an island 
of precious stones and treasures of gold. 

To students of Bornean gems, there is a far more 
interesting treasure on view at a house of business 
in Bond Street, than the pear-shaped model of the 
" Rajah " diamond. This is a genuine stone. It 
was purchased from a Chinaman about four years 
ago, by the Rajah of Sarawak. Found at Landak, 
it weighs 70 carats, and is of the purest water. It 
is known as the " Star of Sarawak." 

quicksilver. Mr. Hunt, referring to Sir Stamford Raffles, in 1812, speaks 
of Landak as producing diamonds, "when rough of a white or yellow 
hue ; but none are found of that inkey and flinty tinge so valuable in some 
of the Golconda diamond." 


A Russian Secret. 

T is not a little remarkable that it should 
often be so difficult to discover the 
whereabouts of a great and famous 
diamond, the more so when we con- 
sider its financial value. The " Russian Table'' is in 
evidence, both in works of history and travel, but that 
is all. Its existence is chronicled, and its size ; but 
we know of no person, who has seen it, and as yet 
have not unearthed a single " biographic " incident 
connected with it. Possibly in future editions of the 
present work, our correspondents may help us. The 
secrets of Russian jewels are in some cases as well 
kept as those of Turkey. The "Table" is reported 
to be a fine stone, though of course its form is the 
least attractive style of diamond cutting. It weighs 
68 carats. 


A Rich Viceroy, who was also a Toxicologist — " Hung in 
Effigy " and possibly poisoned as well. 

HESE two stones belonged to the no- 
torious Portuguese viceroy, Dom Philip 
de Mascarenha, who showed both of 
them to Tavernier, when that traveller 
was in Goa, in 1648. He thus speaks of them and of 
their owner. 

" I will say in passing, that no viceroy of Goa 
ever left the country so enriched as Dom Philip de 
Mascarenha. He had a quantity of diamonds, all 
stones of great weight, from ten to forty carats. But 
he had especially two, which he was good enough to 
show me when I was in Goa, one of which, a thick 
stone, weighed 57 carats, and the other 6y^ carats, 
both of them tolerably pure, and of good water, 
and cut in the Indian fashion. The report ran that 
this viceroy was poisoned on board ship,* and it was 
added that his death was a just retribution for 
having caused so many persons to perish in the 
same way, especially while he was governor in 

* That is, on board the vessel in which he sailed for Europe at the 
end of his government, and in which he died before reaching Lisbon, where 
he would have met with a very warm reception. 


the island of Ceylon. He always kept the most 
subtle poison at hand, to make use of whenever he 
wished his vengeance to be swift. Having in this 
way, made many enemies, who feared for them- 
selves the fate of his victims, he was found one 
morning hung in effigy in Goa, when I was there, in 
the year 164S." 


The Crown Jewels of France — Breaking up of a Great Stone 
— Fragments that are Afterwards Traced. 

\WE writes : " In the Crown Jewels of 
France is a fine light blue diamond, 
which weighs 67I carats, and was esti- 
mated at above ;^ioo,ooo." This refers 
undoubtedly to the magnificent blue diamond which 
occupies the second place in the inventory of the 
French Crown jewels drawn up in 1791, where it is 
described as weighing Qj^q carats and valued at 
3,000,000 francs, or iJ"i 20,000. As fully described in 
our account of the "Regent," these treasures were stolen 
from the Garde Meuble in 1 792. But the blue diamond 
was not amongst the few gems subsequently restored, 
although Mawe still speaks of it in 1823, as " in the 
Crown Jewels of France ;" and Murray, writing so 
late as 1839, describes it as still "belonging to the 
Crown Jewels of France." 

Since its disappearance in 1792 its fate continued 
to be enveloped in the deepest obscurity until the 
mystery was at last happily cleared, as set forth in 
Precious Stones and Gems, and made further evident 
in succeeding pages of the present work. 

We have already, in a previous chapter, 
demonstrated that the true original of the " French 


Blue " was the " Rough Tavernier Blue," which 
in the process of cutting and polishing was reduced 
from 112I to 6y^ carats. The "French Blue," 
was itself later on reduced by cleavage into one 
large and two small fragments. The large fragment 
was again skilfully manipulated, so as still further to 
disguise its origin, and is now known as the " Hope 
Blue," weighing 44J carats. Of this stone the two 
smaller fragments form the compliment. One of them 
fell into the hands of the Duke of Brun.swick,and was 
disposed of at the sale of his effects which took place 
at Geneva in April, 1874. The purcha.sers were 
Messrs. Ochs Brothers, of Paris, who obtained it for 
17,000 francs, or £6So. It weighs 13I carats.* The 
third fragment has lately been seen and examined by 
ourselves. Its colour is identical with that of the 
" Hope " and the Duke of Brunswick's " Blue," and it 
weighs as nearly as possible ij carats. By adding 
44|, 13^, and i| we get " 59J" carats, which are about 
7i 4. h less than 67^, the weight of the " French Blue,^' 
from which these pieces are believed to have been 
obtained. The difference is accounted for by the 
losses incidental to the cleaving of the "French 
Blue," and the fresh treatment of the several frag- 
ments needed to give them a regular form. The full 
account of the process by which all these fragments 
have been traced back to the " French Blue," will, 
as stated, be found in the chapter devoted to the 
" Hope Blue" diamond. 

* Sei! Catalogue, published at the time by Messrs. Rossel et Flls o 


A Reminiscence of Persian Splendour — A Splendid Crown 

T is quite possible that the graphic 
author of the Sketches of Persia, pub- 
h'shed b}^ Murray, may have seen this 
notable gem. He saw the " Sea of 
Light," and other stones, some of which he could not 
individually examine. For example, on his second 
visit to the Persian Court, the king, at the reception 
of the envoy from the Governor-General of India was 
literally covered with rare jewels. His dress " baffled 
description." It was a robe of white, a-blaze " with 
jewels of an extraordinary size, and their splendour, 
from his majesty being seated where the rays of the 
sun played upon them, was so dazzling, that it was 
impossible to distinguish the minute parts which 
combined to give such amazing brilliancy to his 
whole figure." The splendours of the Persian Court in 
those days were on a far different scale to the some- 
what " faded glories " of to-day, when the Shah is in 
danger of falling between two alternatives, a forced 
alliance with Russia, or an uncertain dependence 
upon the lukewarm friendship of England. In the 
days of the Seffarean monarchs, Merv was considered 
the most important frontier post of Persia ; to-day it 
is almost an outpost of the Russian power in Asia. 

The " Sea of Glory " is one of the principal gems 
of the Persian crown. It weighs 66 carats, and is said 
to be worth ;^ 34,848. 



The Kollur Mine— The Kistna Valley— A Beautiful Stone 
Cut in the Mine Itself, 

N Indian cut stone of great purity, pur- 
chased in the year 1653, by Tavernier, 
in the Kollur mine, Kistna valley, the 
situation of which will be found ac- 
curately determined in our introductory chapter. 

This gem figures as No. 6 in Tavernier's list of 
large diamonds, and is briefly described in the first 
edition of his work. He tells us that " this is another 
diamond which I bought in 1653, in the Coulour 
(Kollur) mine. It is a beautiful and pure stone, 
cut as a thick stone, in the mine itself, and weighs 
36 mangelins, which are equivalent to 63I of our 
carats." Elsewhere, however, he makes a mangelin 
equal to if carats. Hence 36 mangelins ought to 
make 49 J carats only, not 63! as here stated. But 
the mangelin, like the rati and other Indian standards 
of measurement, may have varied at different times 
and places. 


Set in Pearls — A Popular Fiction Dispelled — The Pear and 
Savoy not one Stone — The Shadows of Nadir Shah — 
Loss of the Pear in Persia. 

N the inventory of the Crown Jewels of 
the House of Savoy, drawn up on 
October 19, 1679, the first gem on the 
list is described as " a large table dia- 
mond, set in a gold, black and white enamelled rim, 
in the antique style, weighing 54 carats, with three 
appended pearls, pear-shaped, amongst which pearls 
is the 'Pilgrim,' weighing 45 carats,the other two 38 and 
36 carats respectively. This gem was bequeathed 
to the crown by Queen Christina of France by her 
will dated April 5, 1662." 

It has been suggested that this gem, which we 
name the " Savoy," is the same as Tavernier's " Pear ;" 
but although the weight, about 54 carats each, corre- 
sponds, the shapes show that they are two different 
stones. Tavernier's is described as " pear shaped," 
whereas the " Savoy " is stated to be table-cut, the 
pear form mentioned in connection with it referring, 
not to the diamond itself, but to the accompanying 
pearls, which are said in the inventory to be grouped 


or disposed in the form of a pear.* Until the Italian 
text of the inventory was published in 1880, it was 
supposed that the diamond was described as pear- 
shaped, whence the natural conclusion that this stone 
was Tavernier's " Pear." 

It is further to be noted that Tavernier saw the 
Indian gem in 1658 in the Mogul's treasury, where it 
in all probability remained till the sack of Delhi by 
Nadir Shah in the next century. But the " Savoy " 
diamond was already amongst the French regalia in 
1662, in which year it was bequeathed to the House 
of Savoy, as stated in the above-quoted passage from 
the inventory. Hence the theory that the two are one 
and the same gem must be unhesitatingly rejected. 

It is remarkable that both have since disap- 
peared. The " Pear " was doubtless carried off by 
Nadir Shah, and lost in Persia. The " Savoy" may 
possibly have been re-cut and thus reduced in size, so 
that it can now no longer be identified. At all 
events no allusion whatever is made to it in the sub- 
sequent inventory of the crown jewels prepared in the 
year 1772, and a copy of which has been courteously 
forwarded to us by Signor Pincone, the present private 
secretary of his Majesty King Humbert of Italy, heir 
and successor to all the treasures of the House of 

It is needless to add that neither of these stones 
can be associated with the "Sancy," which is certainly 

* I'he words of the text are unmistakable : — " Un grosso diamante 
in tavola. . . di pezo di carrati cinquanta quatro, con tre perle appese 
ad esso in forma di pero," 


of the same size, but which in its form, history, 
and all other respects differs entirely from both of 

Next to the " Great Mogul," the " Pear," was the 
largest diamond seen by Tavernier when he was per- 
mitted to inspect Aurung-zeb's regalia. All he tells 
us regarding it, is that it was of excellent form, pear- 
shaped, of fine water, and 62| ratis in weight. This 
would make it as nearly as possible 54I carats. 


The Sphinx of Diamonds — Looking Back over Three 
Hundred Years— In the Days of the " Holy League" 
A Royal Debauchee — A Faithful Valet — Important 
Revelations — Under a Cloud — A " Cause Celebre " — 
Once More on its Travels — An Incident of the Prince 
of Wales's Indian Tour. 

HIS is the very sphinx of diamonds. 
The history of many other gems is no 
doubt sufficiently obscure, and often 
involved in great confusion. There is 
generally, however, some key to the solution of the 
most difficult problems, and the writers of this work 
are complacent enough to hope that the reader will find 
more than one such problem satisfactorily solved in the 
accompanying pages. But the " Sancy " seems to be 
wrapped in a dense cloud of mystery, defying the 
most subtle analysis, and impenetrable to the attacks 
of the keenest processes of reasoning. Nevertheless, 
there are even here, one or two breaks of light, by 
means of which it may be possible to dissipate the 
darkness in which this famous jewel has hitherto been 

Much of this darkness is due to the commonly 
accepted statement, that the " Sancy " was one of the 
large diamonds lost by Charles of Burgundy, either 
at Nancy or Granson. Its history thus became 


entangled in that of the "Florentine," elsewhere eluci- 
dated. Once separated from that connection, and 
from the Burgundian duke, to whom we shall see 
that it never belonged, its career, although still some- 
what obscure, becomes at least, consistent with facts, 
and on the whole, fairly intelligible. 

The " Sancy " is described as almond-shaped, 
and originally facetted on both sides, a form and 
cut peculiar to India, and altogether unknown in 
Europe. We may therefore, take it for granted that 
it was not one of the stones manipulated by Louis de 
Berquem, for Duke Charles. On the other hand, its 
Indian origin harmonises with the statement made, 
amongst others, by Louis's descendant, Robert de 
Berquem that the gem was brought from the East by 
M. de Sanci, French Ambassador at the Ottoman 
Court, who purchased it for a large sum in Constan- 
tinople, apparently about the year 1 570. This French 
gentleman,^Nicholas Harlai, Seigneur de Sancy, was 
evidently a diamond fancier, as shown by the fact 
that he also in 1589, obtained another large stone 
from Don Antonio, the pretendant to the Portuguese 
crown, as security for an advance of livres, 
which was never repaid. 

Nicholas was attached both to the Courts of 
Henry III. and Henry IV., having been ambassador 
for the former in Turkey, for the latter in England, 
during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. According 
to two different versions, obviously of one event, he 
is stated to have advanced the " Sancy " to both 
monarchs, in order to enable them to borrow money 
on its security, for the purpose of enlisting a body of 

THE Great sancy. 261 

Swiss mercenaries, as was the custom of the times. 
With regard to Henry III., we read in Varillas 
(Memoirs), that during the "Holy League," (1576), 
formed for the threefold purpose of exterminating 
the Huguenots, shutting up the king in a monastery, 
and placing the Duke of Guise on the throne, Henry 
abandoned himself to a life of almost unparalleled 
debauchery, leaving the cares of State to his mother, 
Catherine de Medicis. In his twenty-sixth year he 
became quite bald, and in order to conceal his de- 
formity, the Due de Sully tells us that he wore " a 
little turban on his head, his * toque ' as it was called, 
which was ornamented in front with a very large 
diamond. It is added that Henry induced M. Sancy 
to part with the Indian gem, which had already 
become famous in the West, ostensibly to empawn 
it for the purpose of obtaining means to engage a 
body of Swiss soldiers to crush the Due de Guise. 
In 1588 the duke was assassinated by the Swiss 
guard thus formed, who were themselves afterwards 
shot down by the Parisian rabble. But the jewel 
does not appear to have ever been pledged by Henry, 
for it continued to glitter on his toque when he was 
engaged combing his lap dogs, fondling his monkeys, 
stringing death's heads, playing with his ivory cup 
and ball, or caressing his detestable dwarfs and 
minions, his cheeks plastered with white and rouge, 
his lips, eyes, and ears smeared with unguents and 
cosmetics, while the streets of Paris ran with the 
blood of his bravest subjects, and his realm was 
brought to the verge of ruin by the feuds and in- 
trigues of lawless passion and religious animosity. 


Such was the murky atmosphere faintly illumined 
by this glorious gem, while in the possession of the 
modern Heliogabalus. 

From Henry III., assuming the truth of this story, 
the gem returned to Nicholas Harlai, who, according to 
the second account, advanced it to the Valois' successor, 
Henry IV. of Navarre, under peculiarly romantic 
circumstances. Being desirous of strengthening his 
army by a body of Swiss recruits, Henry is reported 
to have borrowed the diamond of Nicholas, now su- 
perintendent of finance, intending to raise money on 
its security. But the messenger charged with the 
responsibility of conveying the gem either to the 
king from Harlai, or from the king to the Swiss (for 
the story is here somewhat confused), disappeared on 
the way. A long interval elapsed before it became 
known that he had been waylaid and assassinated. 
Full of confidence in the loyalty and inventive faculty 
of his servant, Harlai proceeded to the forest where 
the murder had been committed. After a long search 
the body was found, disinterred and opened. In the 
stomach was found the diamond, which, as suspected 
by his master, the faithful valet had swallowed to 
prevent its falling into the hands of the thieves. 

Whatever credit may be given to these stories, it 
is certain that the " Sancy " again returned to its 
rightful owner, from whom it soon passed into the 
possession of Elizabeth, Queen of England. We 
have seen that Harlai was ambassador of Henry IV. 
at her Court, and the subjoined document shows that 
he sold it to the British Crown, doubtless during his 
residence in London. The passage, which occurs in 


the Inventory of the Jewels in the Tower of London, 
March 22nd, 1605, thus describes the " Mirror of 
Great Britain," a famous Crown Jewel, composed 
soon after the accession of James I. " A greate 
and ryche Jewell of golde, called the ' Myrror of 
Greate Brytayne,' conteyninge one verie fayre table 
dyamonde, one verie fayre table rubye, twoe other 
lardge dyamondes, cut lozengewyse, the one of them 
called the ' Stone of the letter H. (15) of Scotlande,' 
garnyshed wyth smalle dyamondes, twoe rounde 
perles, fixed, and ONE fayre dyamondE, CUTT in 

This important extract, strangely overlooked by 
all who have hitherto endeavoured to unravel the 
tangled history of the " Sancy," shows beyond all 
doubt, that this gem never permanently left the 
hands of its original purchaser until disposed of by 
him to the Crown of England, somewhere between 
the years 1590 and 1600. The words " cutt in faw- 
cettes " clearly identify the stone here referred to 
with that still known as the " Sancy." 

If possible, still more important is the following 
passage, which occurs at p. 1 1 of Robert de Berquem's 
well-known Merveilles dcs Indes, published in 1669. 
Speaking of the diamonds, at that time famous for 
their size and beauty, the writer observes : " There 
are some of extraordinary size and perfection. The 
present Queen of England has the one brought by 
the late M. de Sancy, from his embassy in the Levant, 

Inviiilones 0/ the Treunti-y af the Exchequer, Vol. II., p. 305. 


which is almond-shaped, cut in facets on both sides, 
perfectly white and pure, and weighing loo carats." * 

The " present Queen of England " might have 
been either the queen-consort of Charles II., Catharine 
of Braganza, or the dowager-queen Henrietta Maria. 
But in either case, this passage shows that the " Sancy " 
remained in the possession of the English royal family 
till the year 1669. It also shows that the stone was 
brought by M. Sancy, as above stated, direct from 
" The Levant," consequently, that it could never have 
belonged to Charles the Bold. Its owner, here spoken 
of as " the late M de Sancy," died in 1627, and as he 
had already parted with it in London, about or after 
the year 1 590, it is evident that all the other De Sancys, 
descendants of the original purchaser, mentioned in 
popular accounts of the stone, are purely mythical 
beings, introduced to make its history stretch back 
to the time of the Burgundian prince. 

We now identify Henrietta Maria, and not 
Catherine, of Braganza, as the Queen referred to by 
Berquem. This appears from the subjoined extract 
from a letter of the Queen Dowager, written while in 
exile to Somerset, Earl of Worcester, and presenting 
to him, amongst other valuable gifts, the very diamond 
in question, in return for the sacrifices made by that 
nobleman in the cause of the House of Stewart : " We, 
Henrietta Maria of Bourbon, Queen of Great Britain, 

• II y en a tout a fait d'extraordinaires pour leur grandeur et per- 
fection. La Royne d'Angleterre d'apresent a celiiy que detfunct Monsieur 
de Sancy apporta de son Ambassade du Levant, qui est en forme d'amande 
taille a facetes des deux costez, parfaictement blanc et net et qui pese cent 


have by command of our much honoured lord and 
master, the King, caused to be handed to our dear 
and well-beloved cousin, Edward Somerset, Count 
and Earl of Worcester, a ruby necklace containing 
ten large rubies and 160 pearls set and strung together 
in gold. Among the said rubies are also two large 
diamonds, called the ' Sanci' and the ' Portugal^ &c."* 

The " Portugal," of which nothing further is 
known, was probably the above-mentioned stone re- 
ceived by Nicholas Harlai from Dom Antonio in 
security for a large sum never repaid. It would thus 
became the property of Harlai, and may have been 
sold by him to the English crown when he disposed 
of the " Sanci " about 1 590! 

But, however this be, the distinct reference here 
made to the " Sanci," while confirming Berquem's 
statement, brings the history of this stone down to 
the reign of Charles II. There is an absurd state- 
ment current in popular works to the effect that 
Charles' successor, James II., purchased the diamond 
from a Baron de Sanci, while residing at St. Germain. 
But we have seen that it had passed from the Sanci 
family just about 100 years previous to that time. 
James certainly did obtain possession of the stone ; 
but that was either through purchase, or, more pro- 
bably gift, from the generous Earl of Worcester, its 
then owner. All, however, are of accord that James, 
in his turn, sold it for 625,000 francs (^25,000) to 
Louis XIV. about the year 1695. From the " Grand 
Monarque " it passed to his successor Louis XV., 

* Quoted by Jones, p. 232. 


who wore it as a hat ornament at his coronation. 
It also appears among the French Crown Jewels 
in the inventory of 1791, in which it is valued at 
1,000,000 francs (^^40,000). 

But here begin a fresh series of vicissitudes ; 
for it disappeared the very next year, together with 
the " Blue Diamond," and the other valuables per- 
manently lost to the nation at the robbery of the 
Garde Meuble. And now comes Barbot's positive 
assertion that a stone, in every respect resem- 
bling the "Sancy" was sold in 1835 by an agent of 
the Bourbons to the Princess Paula Demidoff for 
500,000 roubles — i^7 5,000, or, if paper money, about 
^35 ,000. Beyond Barbot's assertion there is no autho- 
rity for this statement, which may have been put 
forward for political purposes, in order to implicate 
the Legitimists in the robbery of the Garde Meuble. 
Another report, that it somehow fell into the hands ot 
the Queen of Spain, who presented it to her favourite, 
Godoi, " Prince of Peace," scarcely calls for serious 
refutation. Both statements cannot possibly be true, 
and both are contradicted by the fact that it entered 
the Demidoff family not through a Bourbon agent in 
1835, but through a respectable French merchant in 
1828, or thereabouts. 

Now comes the famous cause cdebre of Prince 
Demidoff versus M. Levrat, Director of the Society 
of the Mines and Forges of the Grisons, Switzerland. 
After agreeing to buy the gem from M. Demidoff for 
600,000 francs (^^24,000), Levrat stated that it was 
not worth a third of that sum, since it had been 
greatly reduced in weight from being recut as a 


brilliant. The Prince accordingly agreed to accept 
145,800 francs ((^5,830), payable in three instalments 
at an interval of six months, the buyer placing 200 
shares of the Swiss Company in the seller's hands as 
security for the payment. But Levrat, failing to dis- 
charge the very first instalment, M. Demidoff brought 
the action to have the contract cancelled, and to re- 
cover possession of the diamond, which Levrat had 
placed in the hands of the Mont de Piete or State 
Pawning Establishment. Judgment was given in 
favour of the plaintiff, who was authorized to with- 
draw the diamond on payment of the usual expenses 
due to the Mont de Piete, the defendant being con- 
demned to pay the legal costs of the process. 

The case was decided on June ist, 1832, 
in the tribunal of First Instance presided over 
by M. D. Belleyme. Thirty-three years thereafter 
the " Sancy " resumed its travels, after all its 
strange vicissitudes again returning to " the land of 
its birth," for it was purchased in February, 1865, 
of the Demidoff family fur ;{^2o,ooo by a London 
firm, on behalf of the wealthy Parsee merchant. 
Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, of Bombay. It did not 
however, remain long in the East, for it was 
again in Paris in 1867, where it was to be seen 
in the glass case of MM. Bapst, shown in the 
Universal Exhibition of that year, who were then 
asking a million of francs for it. Certainly if 
there were as many solutions of continuity in the 
stone itself as in its history, as at that time published 
in the Paris press, we should tremble for the million 
of francs ! It may be asserted without exaggeration 


that it has been made the subject of more contra- 
dictory accounts than perhaps any other historical 
jewel, the " Koh-i-Niir" alone excepted. Such accounts 
serve, however, at least to illustrate the anxiety which 
is naturally felt to enhance' " the rare and beautiful '' 
with a history worthy the intense desire to possess 
them, and thus to excuse our idolatry. 

Whether Messrs. Oulman's expectations were 
fully realised or not, we cannot say. But in any case 
they appear to have soon found a purchaser for the 
" Sancy " in the Maharaja of Puttiala. In the account 
of the Prince of Wales' Tour in India it is stated 
that at the Grand Durbar, this native prince wore on 
his turban many fine diamonds which were said to 
have belonged to the Empress Eugenie, and " the 
' Great Sancy ' as a pendant." 

By a strange fatality this stone has again been 
thrown on the market. As the Prince of Wales was 
landing in England on his return from India, a tele- 
gram was put into his hand announcing the sudden 
death of his friend the Maharaja of Puttiala. In conse- 
quence of this event, the ' Sancy ' is once more on sale. 


^S v/i 







The Diamond Bought by Louis XIV. — Stolen with the 
French Regaha in 1792— A Present to the Empress 
Eugenie by Her Husband.— "The Golden Fleece." 

F the twenty diamonds which Tavernier 
sold to king Louis XIV., and which are 
figured in the first edition of his work, 
four only exceeded 30 carats in weight. 
Of these, the largest was the rough blue, weighing 
II2| carats, which we have already described. 

The three others may here be conveniently 
grouped together as the Tavernier A, B, & C. 


Of this fine stone Tavernier gives three figures, 
representing its upper and lower surface, and thick- 
ness respectively. He tells us that it weighed Sij^g 
carats, was " white and pure " {blanc et net) and " cut 
in India" {tailU aux Indcs). 

Since Tavernier's time nothing further has been 
heard of this gem, which no doubt was stolen with 
the rest of the French regalia from the Garde Meuble, 
in 1792. But a very beautiful stone, which we have 
little doubt is the identical and long-missing Tavernier 
A, was purchased by the late Emperor Napoleon III. 
in the year i860, and by him presented to the Empress 


Eugenie. It is described as a perfect brilliant, of an 
oval shape, blunt at one end, very beautifully cut, and 
weighing 5 1 carats, or very nearly the exact weight 
of A. 


This stone weighed 32f carats, but was un-cut 
{brut). As it is impossible to say what it may have 
lost in the process of cutting, it cannot now be iden- 
tified with any existing gem. 


Tavernier gives us two illustrations of this dia- 
mond, one showing its upper surface, the other its 
depth or thickness. Like A, it was white, pure, 
and Indian cut. It weighed 3i§ carats, and this cir- 
cumstance gives us a clue to its identification. In 
the inventory of the French Crown Jewels, prepared 
by order of the National Assembly, in 1791, the fourth 
place was occupied by a large diamond, which was 
the most conspicuous gem in the Golden Fleece, and 
which weighed 3 if carats, or within about a quarter 
carat of the Tavernier C. That they are one and the 
same stone there can belittle doubt. In the inventory 
the Golden Fleece gem was valued at 300,000 francs, 
or ^12,000, certainly an extravagant price for any 
stone of that size, unless this figure is to be taken as 
the value of all the stones set in the Golden Fleece. 
According to the usual calculation, a diamond weighing 
31 or 32 carats, even of the purest water, ought not 
to be worth much more than ;i^2,500 or ;^3,ooo. 

In the fresh inventory drawn up by order of 
Napoleon, in 18 10, there is no separate entry of any 

THE TAVERNIER, A, B & C. 27 1 

diamond of this weight. Hence it must have cither 
disappeared altogether when the Garde Meublc was 
robbed in 1792, or else it was remounted in the crown, 
which in the new inventory was described as set with 
5,206 brilliants, jointly weighing 1,872^ carats, and 
valued at 1 1,686,504 francs, or about ^^"467,460. 



A New Stone in the History of Diamonds — A Gift from the 
Archduchess of Hungary to her Daugliter the Queen 
of Belgium. 

HIS diamond which, through the kind- 
ness of Baron Solvyns, the Belgian 
Ambassador in London, comes to h'ght 
now for the first time, is in the posses- 
sion of H.M. the Queen of the Belgians.* It weighs 
50 carats. Her Majesty received it from her mother 
the Archduchess, wife of the Archduke Joseph, 
Palatine of Hungary, brother of the late Emperor 
of Austria. 

* " Leopold 11. (Leopold Louis Phillippe Marie Victor), King of 
the Belgians, son ot the late king, Leopold 1., upon whose death, wliich 
occured December 5, 1865, he succeeded to the throne as Leopold II., 
was born at Brussels, April 9, 1835, and married, August 22, 1853, the 
Archduchess Maria ot Austria, by whom he has had three childien — two 
daughters and one son, the Duke of Braiiant,who died in January, 1869, at 
the age of 10. . . . His Majesty has visited England very frequently. 
His ' Silver Wedding' was celebrated with great rejoicings, August, 1878." 
— Men of the Tii>it\ 



A Splendid Hair-Pin— Catherine II. of Russia and her 
Favourites — Royal Presents — How the Hair-Pin was 
Bought by Napoleon III. — Its Sale to the Notorious 
Gaikwar of Baroda. 

PERFECT brilliant of 51 carats, of an 
oval shape, blunt at one end, and very 
beautifully cut. this diamond was set 
as the centre of a hair-pin belonging 
to the Empress Catherine II. of Russia. When 
Potemkin became her favourite she made him a 
present of it, as a proof of her esteem, and to reward 
him for the great services he had rendered to his 
country. This man, unlike her other favourites, was 
endowed with more than mere personal attractions. 
He had great natural abilities, and presence of 
mind. Catherine bestowed upon Potemkin for his 
services, both military and diplomatic, the surname of 
Taurisschesky.* It was at this time that he received 
from Catherine a magnificent palace called (con- 
formably to this name) the Tauria, together with the 
diamond now known as the " Eugenie." The Emperor 
Napoleon III., on the occasion of his wedding, bought 
tliis stone from a grand niece of Potemkin, the 

* This name was taken from the Kliersonesus Taurica (Ciim^i) 
which was added by Potemkin to the Rus-ian Empire. 


Princess Colorado (who was, at the same time, the 
heiress of all the jewels belonging to the Russian 
Prince), and gave it to his wife. 

The Empress of the French re-named the stone 
"Eugenie," and it is from Her Majesty's own lips 
that we received our information. During the whole 
of her reign, the empress wore this gem as a centre 
stone of a diamond necklace, which, after the Franco- 
German war, was sold to the notorious Gaikwar of 
Baroda, for a lac and a half of rupees (/" 15,000). 
This was the man who attempted (as previously- 
stated), to destroy the British Resident, Colonel 
Phayre, by administering diamond powder to him, 
for which he was tried by a jury of three English- 
men and three Natives. He was defended by 
Sergeant Ballantine. The judges could not agree, 
and the Gaikwar was discharged. He was, however, 
after the trial deposed for his misgovernment, and since 
then the " Eugenie," together with many other large 
diamonds purchased by him, has disappeared. He 
is supposed to have hidden them away, in the hope of 
some day raising money on them for the purposes of 
an attempt to recover his possessions. 



The Early Days of the Indian Empire — The Black Hole of 
Calcutta — The Successes of Clive — " Trifling Gifts " — 
A Lottery Prize — Sold to Ali Pasha for ^"30,000, and 
by him Destroyed — Only the Model of the " Pigott " 

HE name of Governor Pigott, connected 
as it is with that of the Subahdar 
Sooray-oo-Doulah, opens up a dark 
page in our Indian history. Mr. Drake, 
the Governor of the English settlement in Calcutta, 
with the Commandant, Captain Minchen, fled in 
the middle of the night, leaving the honor of their 
country, and the lives of a large body of their country- 
men, exposed to the frightful rancour of an inex- 
perienced, illiterate, self-indulgent prince, hardly 
eighteen at the time, marching with a numerous 
army, and within a few hours march of Cossimbazar, to 
seize the English possessions, and enrich himself 
with the fabulous wealth supposed to be stored up 
in their factories (a.D. 1756). Governor Drake and 
Commandant Minchen, possessed of the one idea 
that self-preservation was the first and only law 
which they had to observe, came to the conclusion 
that the Subahdar's army boded them harm, and 
therefore, that the thing to be done was to decamp 


at midnight, to leave Cossimbazar well-nigh defence- 
less, and thereby to give up Calcutta, with all it 
contained, to a mixed Mohammedan and native 
force. This they did with cruel promptitude. The 
triumphant garrison thereupon drove the helpless 
foreigners, 146 of them, into tlie strongroom used for 
the confinement of military offenders, since called the 
" Black Hole," where seven-tenths died in unexampled 
horror during the night, and tlie whole English 
population were exposed to miseries, in comparison 
of which the death on duty of every man in the city 
would have been a glory and a paradise. 

The surrender of Cossimbazar was not known to 
Mr. Pigott, the Governor of Madras, till the 1 sth of 
July, and it was two months before he and liis council 
could make up their minds to send aid to their brethren 
at Calcutta, and then it was due to Mr. Orme that 
Colonel Clive was nominated to command the ex- 
pedition against the Nabob, which Mr. Manningham, 
being one of the runaway council at Cossimbazar, 
very naturally opposed. Clive, small as was the 
force at his command, soon recovered Calcutta for 
the company, and followed up this ^-ucccss by the 
total overthrow of Sooraj-00-Doulah, his army and 
his kingdom. The successes of Clive were partialh' un- 
availing, because the Governor of Madras, Mr. Pigott, 
failed to protect " Fort St. David," which capitulated 
to the French. In the siege of Madras Mr. Pigott 
shewed some courage, and the coming up of a fleet, 
under Admiral Pocock, preserved the town from being 
taken. The French were driven beyond the Kistna, 
and the English gained an extended line of eighty 


miles along the coast, and twenty miles inland. In 
these successes Clive had the master hand and the 
lion's share. 

Mr. Pit^ott, at Madras, after coquetting for 
possession of the Northern Circass (conceded both 
by Nizam Ali and Basalat Jung), found he had 
plunged the whole possessions of the Company on the 
Coromandel coast into most serious difficulties. He 
returned to England, and was created an Irish Peer, 
in consequence of having prudently given up his design 
to lead the Madras forces to re-conquer Calcutta, 
in favour of Colonel Clive ; and Sir John Lindsay 
arrived at Madras as governor in quick succession 
to him. Sir Robert Hartland assumed the high 
powers with which he was invested, and forthwith 
Madras and Tanjore were involved in hostilities. 
Sir Robert Fletcher was restored to the chief 
command, and Mr. Warren Hastings was brought 
from Madras, and succeeded to the chair of the 
Council of Bengal, 1772. The attack on the Rohillas 

The conquest of Tanjore was condemned at 
home by the Court of Directors, who removed 
Mr. Wynch, the Governor of Madras, and re-appointed 
Lord Pigott. But Lord Pigott, determining to rule 
without, and in despite of his Council, was put under 
confinement by his own Council ; and the governor, 
weakened by the climate and irritated by the opposi- 
tion, died the prisoner of those over whom he had 
been appointed to preside, 1776. 

How Lord Pigott obtained possession of this 
gem called the " Pigott " is not clear, and when any 


ray of light is attempted to be thrown upon its 
acquisition, the less "luminious" it becomes. It is 
pretty certain, however, that he brought this rare 
diamond to England somewhere about the year 1775- 
There is no record of the source whence he procured 
it, but it probably came to him either from his friend, 
the Rajah of Tanjore, or from the Nabob of Arcot, 
from whom he admitted, in a letter to the Court of 
Directors, that he had accepted a few presents " of a 
trifling value." If this diamond was amongst the 
gifts, it was certainly no " trifle," for it has been valued 
by Mawe at no less a sum than ^^ 40,000. At any 
rate it fetched ^^"30,000 in the year 1801, when it fell 
in a public lottery to a young man, who afterwards 
sold it for a low price. It passed, in the year 18 18, 
into the hands of Messrs. Rundell and Bridge, the 
city jewellers, and from them it was soon afterwards 
purchased, also for ^30,000, by Ali Pasha, who 
forwarded a special messenger to receive it. Murray 
tells us that its new owner, " always wore it in a 
green silk purse attached to his girdle. When 
Ali Pasha was mortally wounded by Reshid Pasha, 
he immediately retired to his divan, and desired that 
his favourite wife, Vasilika, should be poisoned. He 
then gave the diamond to Captain D'Anglas, with 
an order that it should be crushed to powder in his 
presence, which was forthwith obeyed, and the beautiful 
gem utterly destroyed. Vasilika still lives, but the 
model of the diamond alone remains. The too 
obedient officer bitterly regretted his folly ; and the 
destroyed diamond haunted him in his dreams for 
months afterwards." 


This tragical end of what Mawe calls a " diamond 
of the first water, and ranking amongst the finest in 
Europe," entirely escaped the notice of Dieulafait 
Kluge, and other writers on Precious Stones. All of 
them continued to speak of it as still in existence, 
Emanuel shrewdly remarking that " the present 
owner is not known !" 

This circumstance also accounts for the astonish- 
ing differences of opinion that prevail regarding the 
size of a stone which has been seen by no expert 
since the time when it passed out of the hands of 
Messrs. Rundell & Co.* Murray gives its weight at 
47^- carats ; Dieulafait at 81^ ; Emanuel at 82^ ; and 
Kluge at 82|. But Mawe, who was personally 
acquainted with the stone, and who wrote before it 
was sold to Ali Pasha, tells us distinctly that, "its 
weight is 49 carats," and this statement must be 
accepted as final. 

The same writer describes it as " a brilliant of 
great surface, both in table and girdle, but is con- 
sidered not of sufficient depth," and is, therefore, also 
lacking in brilliancy. 

Another point remains to be noted. Murray 
makes the astonishing statement that " the ' Pigott ' 
diamond was brought to England by Earl Pigott when 
Governor-General of India." Of course Earl Pigott, 
or rather Lord Pigott, was never " Governor- General 
of India," though he was twice governor of Madras. 

 As .Ali Pasha was assassinated in 1822, the sale must have been 
effected some time between 18 18 and that year. 


In the interval between the two appointments he 
visited Europe, on which occasion he was created an 
Irish peer, apparently about the year 1775. Hence it 
must have been about this time that he brought the 
diamond to Europe ; for his second tenure of office' 
as is well known, ended fatally, another mournful 
instance of the strange and relentless destiny which 
has so frequently followed in the wake of these 
fascinating but ill-omened gems. Thornton, in his 
History of the British Empire in India, thus relates 
the circumstances : — 

" At this time a man notorious in the history of 
the British connection with the Nabob of Arcot, first 
became conspicuous. The Nabob had hinted that if 
he was dispossessed of Tanjore, his ability to dis- 
charge the debts owing by him to British subjects 
would be seriously affected. A civil servant of the 
Company, named Paul Benfield intimated that he 
held assignments on the revenues of Tanjore for 
vast sums lent by him to the Nabob, and other assign- 
ments on the growing crops for large sums lent to 
individuals. These allegations were more than sus- 
picious. It was not to be supposed that Benfield 
brought with him to India any wealth, and he had 
there enjoyed no opportunity of honestly amassing 
any. The governor properly demanded some evidence 
that the claims were just ; but none was offered that 
could satisfy any one not previously prepared to be 
satisfied. A majority of the members of the Govern- 
ment determined against the claims ; but to whatever 
cause it may be attributed, a change took place, and 
the Board reversed their own decision by determining 


that the crop sown during the Nabob's possession was 
his property ; and that the alleged assignments of the 
Nabob to Benfield gave to his demands the character 
of public claims. The governor had strenuously 
opposed these conclusions ; but his opinion was dis- 

" This struggle was succeeded by another. A 
British resident was to be appointed for Tanjore. 
Lord Pigott proposed Mr. Russell, a civil servant, 
the majority of the Board supported Colonel Stuart, 
second in command at Madras. The question was 
violently debated at several meetings, the governor 
refused his signature to the papers necessary to carry 
into effect the will of his opponents, and at length the 
latter determined to act without it. The governor 
was equally bent upon maintaining his own rights, 
and upon two members of the Board affixing their 
signatures to a paper to which his had been refused, 
he charged them with acting in a manner subversive 
of the authority of the government The persons 
constituting the former majority now seceded and 
having forwarded a protest against the conduct of 
Lord Pigott, assumed to themselves the right of the 
government. This was followed by the governor 
declaring all the refractory members suspended, and 
ordering Sir Robert Fletcher, the commander-in-chief, 
into arrest, for the purpose of being brought to trial 
by a court-martial. 

" The adverse party followed the example of their 
chief with no slow nor indecisive steps. They de- 
termined to arrest him, and on August 24th, 1776, 
the Governor of Madras became the prisoner of 



certain members of his own council. He appealed to 
Sir Edward Hughes, the admiral commanding the 
squadron in the roads, for protection, and the admiral 
demanded that safe conduct to the ships should be 
given him. The ruling body inquired whether Sir 
Edward would be responsible for Lord Pigott if the 
request was complied with. The admiral answered 
that he tendered the requisition in the king's name, 
and would make no terms. The acting council re- 
plied that they had no proof that the Crown em- 
powered its officers to require the removal of any 
servant of the Company, in such a situation as that 
of Lord Pigott, from under the authority of the 
Company's government, and the admiral rejoined 
that the case was unexampled, that he had done his 
duty in making the requisition, and must leave those 
who had resisted it to meet the consequences. One 
of these consequences was lamentable. The consti- 
tution of Lord Pigott, impaired by age and an Indian 
climate, sank under the irritation to which he had 
been exposed, and the restraint to which he was 
subjected, and he died, the prisoner of those over 
whom he had been appointed to preside." 

This was in the year 1777, and as his death took 
place in India, if the stone was brought to England 
by Lord Pigott himself, it must have been on the occa- 
sion of his return to Europe a short time previously. 


Au Ancient Form of Diamond Cutting — Famous Gems that 
have Disappeared. 

HESE are mentioned by Tavernier 
amongst the treasures of Aureng-zeb, 
seen by him in 1665. The reference 
to them as well as to the already de- 
scribed " Pear," occurs m the subjoined passage (II. 
p. 227) : " After having well contemplated this great 
stone (the 'Great Mogul'), and returned ittoAkel-Khan, 
he showed me another pear-shaped diamond, of very 
good form and fine water, with three other diamonds, 
table-shaped, tzuo of tJiein flaivless (nets), and the third 
with some little black specks (de petits points noir). 
Each weighs tifty-five to sixty ratis, and the pear 
sixty-two and a half." Their weight would therefore 
be on Tavernier's scale of reduction, from 48^ to 52^ 
carats, as indicated in our tabulated scheme p. 320. 

Although the table * appears to have been the 
original cut of the diamond, this form is now so seldom 
used, that specimens have become extremely rare. 
Besides the three here described, the only others of 
any size known to us are the " Great Table," which 

* Tlie technical name of the table is lasque, and small slabs in this 
form are still used for covering miniatures, and are then called portrait stones. 


has disappeared, and the " Russian Table," weighing 
68 carats. The table style was practically super- 
seded in the West, by the introduction of the rose- 
cut in the year 1520. The still more perfect brilliant 
form, invented by Vincenzio Peruzzi, of Venice, came 
into use during the reign of Louis XIII. of France, 
and is now universally adopted, except in the case of 
circular stones, for which the rose is the most effective 

None of the "Three Tables" seen by Tavernier 
have since been traced, nor have any stones answering 
to their description ever been seen in Europe. They 
were probably carried off by Nadir Shah, after the 
sack of Delhi, and may some day again come to light 
in Persia or Afghanistan. 



One of the Rarest Diamonds in the World— A Comparatively 
Small Gem Valued at /"30,ooo. 

HIS gem is the largest in the "Green 
Vaults" of Dresden, and owing to its 
peculiar green tint, one of the rarest 
diamonds in the world. This rare stone 
weighs 48i carats. It is probably of Indian origin, 
but nothing seems to be known of its antecedents. 
It is valued, according to Kluge, at 200,000 thalers 
(^30,000), a very large sum for a stone of such a 
small size, but accounted for by its unique character. 
Mr. Streeter has, or had lately, on sale a small red 
diamond, altogether unique of its kind, for which 
iS" 1,000 was asked, although it weighed only three- 
quarters of a carat. 



Astute Dealers — "The Banian Removes his Turban " — Rapid 

HIS stone was bought from a Banian 
or Indian trader by Tavernier at the 
Raulconda mine, and sold by him to a 
Dutch captain on his return to Surat. 
He gives us an interesting account of the circum- 
stances attending its purchase. " One day towards 
the evening a badly dressed Banian with only a girdle 
round his body, and a shabby kerchief on his head, 
came and politely accosted me, taking his seat by my 
side. In this country no attention is paid to dress, 
and many with nothing but a dirty cloth round their 
loins, occasionally contrive to hide away a good parcel 
of diamonds. . . . After some time, he asked me, 
through my interpreter, whether I wished to purchase 
a few rubies, and drew out about twenty ruby rings 
from his girdle. After examining them carefully I 
told him they were too small for my purpose. But 
remembering a commission I had received from a 
lady in Ispahan to procure her a ruby ring of about 
lOO crowns, I bought one of these for some 400 francs. 
I knew very well it was only worth 300, but I gladly 


risked the difference in the behef that he had not 
come merely to dispose of those rubies, and because 
I saw from his manner that he wanted to be alone 
with me in order to show me something better. As 
the time of prayer for the Mohammedans was drawing 
near, three of the attendants given to me by the 
governor went off, and I sent away the fourth to 
procure some bread, which is scarce in those parts. 
Being thus alone with me and my interpreter, the 
Banian, with great ceremony, removed his turban, 
and unbound his hair, which, according to the fashion, 
was tied up on his head. Then I saw him take from 
his hair a little bit of linen in which was wrapped a 
diamond weighing 485 of our carats, of fine water, and 
cabochon cut,* three-fourths of the stone pure, except 
a small patch (chevron) on one side, which seemed 
to penetrate a little into the stone. The other quarter 
was all flaws and red flecks {^points rotiges). 

"As I was examining the stone with great atten- 
tion, the Banian said, * Do not trouble to look at it 
now. You will see it at your leisure to-morrow 
morning when you are alone. When a fourth of the 
day has passed (for thus they reckon the time) you 
will find me outside the town, and if you want the 
stone, you will bring the money, and he then told me 

* This is a very remarkable statement, for, as far as we are aware 
it is the only instance on record of a diamond cut in cabochon form. Indeed 
we cannot but suspect some mistake on the part of the writer, who has pro- 
bably used the expression carelessly for rose cut, the usual Indian style. 
The peculiar crystal of the diamond we fancy would scarcely lend itself at 
all to the cabochon or convex cut, which is the form generally chosen for the 
opal, cat's eye, and such like stones that have a play of colours. However, 
the sapphire was in ancient times always so treated, as emeralds and rubiei 
of inferior quality still are, but we should say, the diamond never. 


what he wanted for it I did not fail to 

keep the appointment, and brought the sum he had 
asked, less 200 pagodas, which I kept in reserve. 
But in the end, after a little chaffering, I had to give 
him an additional 100 pagodas. On my return to 
Surat I sold the stone to a Dutch captain, making a 
decent profit on the transaction." 


A Bridal Gift — History at Fault. 

HE original owner of this stone was 
Carlo Afifetati, of Antwerp. From him 
it was purchased in the year 1559 for 
80.000 crowns by King Philip II. of 
Spain, who intended it as a bridal gift to his ill-starred 
third wife, Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Henry II, 
of France.* Clusius, who mentions the circumstance, 

* Philip II. was four times married. The Queen of England, by 
whom he had no issue, was his second wife. His first was his cousin, Mary 
of Portugal, and by her he had one son, Don Carlos, whose fate has 
deepened the sombre aspect of his reign. That young prince, who appears 
to have been of a haughty and violent temper, was exasperated by his 
father's refusal to admit him to a share in the administration of the kingdom, 
though he had never shown any capacity for public affairs. After giving 
many proofs of a discontented and disordered mind, he was, on the charge, 
as it would seem from the researches of Mr. Prescott, of aiming at the 
king's life, and of having shown heretical tendencies, arrested in his bed 
by Philip himself, at midnight on the i8th of January, 1568. To the 
Council of State and to Foreign Courts, Philip merely assigned as his reason 
for so acting, the necessity laid upon him by his duty to God and regard 
for the welfare of the monarchy. Philip, it was clear, had come, for some 
reasons, to regard his son with settled aversion, and it soon came to be 
understood that he was condemned to an imprisonment from which there 
was no hope of release, and in which he was to be treated with the utmost 
rigour, and that it was a subject on which every one must be silent. Happily 
tor him, death, in the course of a few months, terminated his miserable 
existence (July 24, 1 5 68), at the age of twenty-three years. The horrid 
suspicion that his death had been hastened through poison or other means, 
by his father's command, which prevailed at the time, has been frequently 
repeated since, and is directly, though inconclusively stated by Llorente, 
the secretary of the Inquisition, in his Histoire de F Imjuisitwn, book III., 
p. 171, &c Be the manner of his death however, what it may, there can 
be little doubt that, as Mr. Prescott observes, the responsibility to a great 
extent, must be allowed to rest on Philip, who, if he did not directly employ 
the hand of the assassin to take the life of his son, yet by his rigorous 


states that it was the largest diamond ever seen in 
Europe up to that time. This is a remarkable state- 
ment, and if it could be depended upon, one which 
might help not a little to clear up the history of the 
" Sancy." But, notwithstanding the great authority 
of Clusius, and the excellent opportunities he had of 
gaining exact information, this assertion cannot be 
regarded as trustworthy. 

treatment, drove that son to a state of desperation that brought about the 
same result. — History of Philip II., book IV., chap. 7. But the authentic 
version, which we have related, of this mysterious and tragical affair, has 
been still further variously discoloured by calumny and fiction. Writers 
who believed Philip to be the murderer of his son, have upon this foundation 
formed the superstructure for a romantic tale, of a mutual and criminal 
passion between Don Carlos and his father's third wife, the princess 
Elizabeth of France, who was originally betrothed to himself, and 
whose life, which closed quickly afterwards, is also said to have been 
sacrificed to the jealous vengeance of her husband. For this charge against 
all the parties there seems, however, to have been no foundation. (See a 
full sketch of the career of Don Carlos, and an elaborate, able, and just 
examination of the whole question of his connection with Elizabeth, and 
his treatment by his father in Prescott's History of the Rei^n of Philip II. 
vol. II., hook IV., chaps. 6, 7, and 8). By Elizabeth Philip had two 
daughters who, together with his son and successor by his fourth wife, 
Anne, daughter of the Emperor Maximilian II., were the only legitimate 
issue which he left. In the midst of his persecuting zeal, he had given one 
purer proof of his regard for religion, and sacred literature owes an obligation 
to his memory, for the publication of the beautiful polyglot bible, which 
bears his name, and which was printed at Antwerp in 1569 — 72, in eight 
vols., folio. 

Philip III. was a prince in everything except the bigotry of his faith, 
of a character most opposite to that of his father. Gentle, humane, and 
unconquerably indolent, he surrendered himself, and the whole management 
of his affairs from the very commencement of his reign, to the guidance of 
his favourite, the Marquis of Dema, who had been his chief equerry, and 
whom he raised to the dignity of Duke of Lerma. This nobleman, who 
governed Spain as prime minister with unbounded power for twenty years, 
was a personage of dignified mien, and of a mild and beneficent disposition; 
but as a statesman, though he wanted neither prudence nor firmness, he 
was otherwise of only moderate capacity, and he rendered his administration 
Injurious to the State by his love of pomp and lavish expenditure, and the 
consequent derangement of the national finances. He was supplanted at 
last in the affection of his feeble master (1618), by his own ungrateful son, 
the Duke of Uzeba, under whom the kingdom was not better governed, and 
the aged Lerma was solaced by the Pope, in his unmerited disgrace, with a 
Cardinal's hat, which he had the foresight to solicit a little before his fall, 
as a protection from the persecution of his enemies. — English Cyclopivdia. 


Models of Historic Gems in London — The Romance of Facts 
— Identification of the " Hope Blue " and the Famous 
French Stone — A Lovely Gem and a Notable Jewel. 

HERE is at i8, New Bond Street a 
remarkable case containing a collection 
of the models of many of the great 
diamonds of the world, the histories of 
which are set forth in this volume. The facsimiles 
are cut in crystal and glass, and in regard to the 
tinted stones, the rare hues of the originals are 
suggested. In this very interesting collection, gathered 
together in spite of many difficulties, and with much 
careful research, will be found the story of the " Hope 
Blue," simply told in three parts (we had almost 
said in three volumes), that once formed one great 
and glorious gem. It would be a strange story, could 
it be told, the history of this cleavage, with the details 
of the several adventures of the triple gems, since the 
masterpiece was stolen from the Garde Meuble in the 
stormy times of 1792. 

Failing the possibility of our entertaining the 
reader with such a narrative, we think it will be 
admitted that there is a certain amount of romance in 
the very logic of facts which has identified the divided 
gem, and for the purposes of history, at all events, 


re-united them. There is nothing to be added to 
Mr. Streeter's own account of his establishment of the 
" Hope Blue" as part of the famous Tavernier stone. 
It is, therefore, quite in order that we should quote 
the following interesting passage from Precious Stones 
and Gems. : — 

" This stone (the ' French Blue ') was, with the 
rest of the French regalia, seized in August, 1792, and 
deposited in the Garde Meuble. From this insecure 
place it was surreptitiously abstracted in September 
of the same year. What became of it remains a 
mystery. That it should have really been lost is 
incredible, and from the sudden appearance of a 
stone of similar character, the extraordinary rarity of 
which is acknowledged, I strongly incline towards the 
belief that it was Tavernier's re-cut, and so altered in 
form as to render its identification very difficult. 
This hypothesis, which I offer, receives additional pos- 
sibility from the fact that a blue brilliant about the 
year 1830 was in the hands of Mr. Daniel Eliason, 
which stone came to light without a history, without 
any account being rendered as to whence it came, 
and what had been its travels and fortunes. Sub- 
sequently I trace it as the property of the late 
Mr. Henry Thomas Hope, under the name of the 
' Hope ' diamond. The difference in weight between 
the original stone of 67^ carats, and this actual stone 
of 44J, forces upon us the interrogjltion, ' Was the 
weight lost simply in the cutter's hands in manipu- 
lating the stone, or were one or more pieces removed 
by simple cleavage and preserved V I incline to the 
latter alternative, viz. : that the diamond abstracted 


in 1792 was reduced by cleavage, and formed into 
two brilliants. This deduction is more probable, 
as Tavernier's diamond evidently had one of the 
crystallographic faces largely produced on the one 
side, which gave the stone a ' drop form.' This 
formation is frequently seen in diamonds, especially 
in coloured stones (excepting always the yellow 
varieties), leading us to infer that the cleavage plane 
must have run, as in the diagram, from A to B. 

" In the first cutting of the stone the original 
shape was to some extent preserved, which left an 
ill-formed, triangular-shaped brilliant, somewhat thin 
on one side. From this it would have been easy for 
an expert to cleave a triangular piece of about 10 or 
II carats, thus leaving the stone weighing about 
56 carats, the re-cutting of which, as a perfect 
brilliant, well-proportioned, would reduce it to its 
present weight of 44J carats. It is observable that 
the ' Hope' diamond ' is even now straighter on one 
side than the other, and this strengthens the presump- 
tion of the stone having been cleaved as suggested. 
The late Emperor of the French ordered a model of 
the ' Blue ' diamond in question to be made while it 
remained in the Paris Exhibition. 


" It would confirm my hypothesis still further 
could the piece or pieces split off be discovered. The 
piece at first must have been triangular, having a 
straight side, corresponding with the side of the ' Hope ' 
diamond, as described above. If then we find a blue 
diamond of drop shape, of the same colour precisely 
as the ' Hope,' having its base to correspond with the 
straight side of the latter, proportionate in substance, 
and weighing from 12 to 13 carats, we have a strong 
presumptive evidence that the smaller is a cleavage 
of the larger. Such a stone did actually come into 
the market in April, 1874. It was purchased in 
Geneva at the sale of the late Duke of Brunswick's 
jewels.* The purchaser put the stone for a short 
time into my hands, and I examined it in juxta- 
position with the ' Hope ' diamond. It is identical in 
colour and quality. I know not how to avoid the con- 
clusion that the Duke of Brunswick's ' Blue Drop ' 
diamond once formed the triangular salient gibbosity 
which formerly appears to have characterized the 
stone now known as the ' Hope ' brilliant. Besides 
the ' Hope' and Brunswick diamonds, there are only 
three diamonds known in Europe that can justly be 
termed ' blue,' and these all differ from the ' Hope,' 
and from each other in colour." 

The " Hope " is a very lovely gem, of a most 
beautiful sapphire hue, with an adamantine lustre of 
extreme brilliancy. It was purchased by Mr. Hope 
for ^18,000, and was considered by good judges to be 
worth a great deal more. Westrop (p. 4), values it at 

* See "French Blue." 


no less than ^30,000, probably not an excessive figure 
considering its absolutely unique character, faultless 
texture and exquisite form. It is unusually thick, 
and measures § of an inch in breadth, by i^ in length. 
With regard to the smallest of the three frag- 
ments, referred to in our account of the French " Blue," 
and which weighs i^ carat, we may state, to complete 
the subject, that it was purchased in Vienna some 
twenty years ago, by Messrs. Hertz & Co., one of the 
largest gem merchants in Paris. About six years since 
we bought it of them for ^300, and it now figures as 
one of the most conspicuous stones in a butterfly, 
composed of diamonds of all known colours. This 
lovely diamond butterfly is often seen standing out 
conspicuously, as one of the rarest jewels in the world, 
in the London salons. 



The Raulconda Mines. — Tinted Stones — A Diamond that 
Broke into Fragments on the Cutter's Wheel — " Bort" 
— A Curious Freak of Nature. 

BOUT five days' journey from Golconda, 
and about half as much again from 
Bejapoor, there is an extensive plain, 
where diamonds were found in the 15th 
and 1 6th centuries, of great purity and of unusual size. 
It was known as the Raulconda ; but early in the 17th 
century, between this plain and a no less productive 
mine at Coloor, some stones of very imperfect con- 
sistency, were discovered, which shattered easily when 
placed under the wheel. The pure water, for which 
the stones of old Raulconda were celebrated in all 
countries, was wanting in this new source of diaman- 
tiferous wealth. A yellow or reddish grey was visible 
in the stones, although the genuine brilliancy of the 
diamond was unimpaired. However much the geolo- 
gist might be interested in these peculiarities, which 
in some particulars characterized many of the findings 
at Coloor, the mercantile world received the new 
consignments with indignation, and the king of 
Golconda therefore deemed it incumbent on him to 
close the mine. In the meantime, a stone weighing 
42 carats was found and taken to Surat, where 


Messrs. Fremclin & Francis Breton, the heads of 
the English company, showed this handsome-looking 
stone to Edward Ferdinand, a Spanish Jew. He 
seems to have approved of the gem, and was com- 
missioned to take it to Europe and seek a purchaser 
for it. At Leghorn he was offered 25,000 piastres for 
the stone by some Jews of his acquaintance. He 
refused to part with it on these terms, and took it to 
Venice, where he determined to have it cut. No 
sooner, however, was it placed on the wheel and the 
operation begun, than it burst first into nine pieces, 
and subsequently into small fragments. 

It may be explained that the stones here spoken 
of are what in the trade are known as Bort, that is, 
imperfect crystals, which, though useless for orna- 
mental purposes, have nevertheless, a certain value in 
the market. They are used either for engraving hard 
gems, or crushed to form diamond dust. This 
dust, possessing the property of extreme hard- 
ness, is mixed with oil, and employed in polishing 
diamonds. Some pieces of bort have even been 
turned into rose diamonds, and a curious speci- 
men in Mr. Streeter's collection of rough minerals 
shows a number of octahedral adamantine crystals, 
grouped round a central nucleus of dark-coloured 
bort. The mass weighs altogether 19 carats, and 
was procured from the South African diamond fields 
by Mr. Streeter's explorers. 


One of the Gems in the Russian Crown Purchased in 
England — A Stone of Rare Purity and Lustre. 

EXT to the " Orloff," " Moon of Moun- 
tains," and " Shah," the largest and 
finest diamond belonging to the Russian 
Crown, is the "Polar Star." It was 
purchased in England for the Imperial Regalia, and 
is remarkable for its rare purity and lustre. It is 
brilliant cut, and weighs 40 carats. Dieulafait makes 
the curious statement that "it belongs to the Princess 

At one time it seems to have been in the posses- 
sion of Joseph Buonaparte, who bought it of Morton 
for 52,500 francs. 

» So also Barbotfp. 107), " On cite encore chez cette puissance (la 
Russie), un magnitique diamant, connu sous le nom d' Etoile Polaire; il 
appartient a la princesse YoussoupotT." 



Forty Carats and Valued at ;^28,ooo — The Finest Gem in the 
Egyptian Treasury. 

HIS is the finest gem in the Egyptian 
Treasury. It seems to have been pur- 
chased for i^28,ooo by Ibrahim Pasha. 
According to Mr. Emanuel, it " weighs 
40 carats, is of octagonal form, and is brilliant cut, and 
is of very good quality and lively." Our inquiries 
have not led us into any interesting discoveries, histo- 
rical or otherwise, in connection with this Egyptian 
treasure. It is supposed to be still at head-quarters 
on the Nile ; but in these days of Eastern changes 
and troubles, it is questionable whether any one out- 
side a certain official circle can say what particular 
spot the " Pasha " may be illuminating. 



A Relic of the Dresden Vaults — Worn as a Button by the 
King of Saxony. 

N the Dresden Green Vaults, besides the 
"Dresden Green," there is another green 
diamond, which weighs i6o grains, or 
about 40 carats. According to Kluge 
it is brilHant cut, and set a jour in a plume.* This 
is, no doubt, the same stone which Mawe de- 
scribes " a green brilliant of exquisite beauty and 
great size, but of irregular form." He adds that in 
his time, or early in the present century, " it was 
worn by the King of Saxony, when in court dress, 
as a button to the plume of his hat." It seems to 
have belonged originally to the Elector, Augustus of 

* " Eine HutagrafFe mit einem griinen, 160 gran wiegenden, a jour 
gefassten Brilliant." Op. cit p. Z54. 


One of Tavernier's Royal Customers— " The Queen of 
Borneo"— The Dutch Regaha— A Fanatical Pilgrim 
of Mecca— Fighting and Feasting. 

HEN Tavernier was in Java in 1648 
he was a frequent guest of the then 
reigning Rajah of Bantam, in the 
western part of the island. Like most 
Eastern potentates, this king was fond of collecting 
precious stones, and made several purchases from the 
French dealer. At one of these interviews he pro- 
duced a kris or dagger, which he was having em- 
bellished in the Turkish style. The handle was to be 
set all over with diamonds, for which purpose, not 
possessing enough in his treasury, he commissioned 
Tavernier to procure as many as would be required to 
complete the work. But the top of the hilt was 
already covered, and in the plaque there was one very 
large diamond cut in facets, which the expert tells us, 
as far as he could judge, "was worth at least fifteen 
or sixteen thousand crowns." The king informed 
him that he had received it as a present from the 
Queen of Borneo, and that he had sent it to be cut in 
Goa. But he himself set a much higher price on it 
than Tavernier thought it could be worth. 

This is all the authentic information we have 


regarding this stone, which probably passed into 
the possession of the Dutch, when they suppressed 
the kingdom of Bantam, and converted it into a 
" Residency." If so it may be the same stone as 
that weighing 36 carats, now in the Dutch regalia, 
and concerning which so little is known. In any 
case it was very near costing Tavernier his life. He 
had taken the dagger to Batavia for the purpose of 
procuring stones for the settings with which the 
handle, and even the sheath was already covered, but 
laid on, as he tells us, "without any order, from 
which I judged that they have no knowledge of 
design." Returning next morning to the palace, with 
his brother and a Dutch surgeon, who was attending 
one of the king's wives, they had to pass along a road 
with the river on one side, and on the other a large 
garden enclosed by palisades. Behind these pali- 
sades a fanatical native of Bantam lay concealed, 
watching his opportunity to run "amuck " amongst 
the " infidels ;" for he had just returned from the 
pilgrimage to Mecca, and was bent on showing his 
zeal for the faith in the usual Malay fashion. The 
Europeans were walking all three abreast, and when 
they reached the spot the fakir thrust out his poisoned 
weapon, intending to bury it in the body of one of 
them. But " God permitted him to be too quick, so 
hat the point passed just in front of us. The Dutch- 
man being on my left, next the river, and slightly 
ahead of my brother and myself, the spearhead 
struck his breeches, whereupon he and I immediately 
seized the wooden haft, while the fakir tugged with 
might and main to recover the pike. My brother, 

' THE BANTAM. 303 

who was on my right hand next the palisades, and 
who was young and always ready for a fray, jumped 
on it, and fetched him three sword-cuts about the 
body, of which he incontinently died. A number of 
Chinese and other idolators, who were near the scene 
came forthwith to kiss my brother's hands, and thank 
him for having despatched the infuriated fakir. 
Thence we proceeded to meet the king, who had 
already been informed of what had taken place, and 
who showed his approval by presenting my brother 
with a girdle. For although Mohammedans, these 
kings and governors are very glad when those gallows- 
birds get killed, well-knowing that they are a reck- 
less set, whom it is desirable to get rid of" The 
affair ended in feasting, dancing, and a grand display 
of fireworks, which lasted five or six days. Being 
associated with such a stirring event, the stone may 
be appropriately named the " Bantam." 



Another Gem unknown to History — Possibly to be found 
at Teheran. 

O HN M URRA Y writes : " The ' Hornby' 
diamond, brought from the East Indies 
by the Hon. William Hornby, governor 
of Bombay, in 1775, weighs 36 carats, 

and is now, I believe, the property of the Shah of 


Nothing further is known of this stone, no mention 

of which occurs in any writer subsequent to the time 

of Murray, the second edition of whose Memoir 

appeared in 1839. 



A Crown Jewel — Its Origin and Character Unrecorded- 
Conical in Shape, and valued at ;f 10,368. 

HE Crown Jewels of the Netherlands 
have been augmented from time to time 
in the past, both by conquest and by 
purchase. Borneo and other islands of 
the Eastern seas are supposed to have greatly en- 
riched the treasures of the Hague. Possibly the 
diamond which is mentioned by Murray as the 
" Holland " may be a relic of the glorious days of 
Admiral Tromp, or a tribute from the dusky subjects, 
over whom Holland still rules in the Malay Archipe- 
lago. The only record we find in relation to it is the 
statement of Murray that it is " of conical shape, 
weighs ^6 carats, and is valued at ^10,368. 


A Splendid Trinket — The Royal Turban of Baber— Eastern 
Monarchs in Full Dress. 

EAN Baptiste Tavernier says that in 
1665, he saw amongst Aurung-zeb's 
treasures, a trinket composed of twelve 
diamonds, all rose-cut, and each weigh- 
ing from 13 to 14 carats. In the midst was a heart- 
shaped rose of the finest water, with three little flaws, 
the rose weighing 35 carats. It seems that Akel 
Khan, the crown jeweller, shewed them to the famous 
French merchant. 

Portraits of Baber, a descendant in the fourth 
generation from Timour of Western Tartary, repre- 
sent his royal apparel as exceeding in splendour 
either that of his son or grandson, Humaiun and 
Akbar, or any of their successors on the Imperial 
throne of Hindoostan. All their portraits are notice- 
able as lacking a " Cydaris" or tiara, or royal turban, 
comparable to that worn by Baber, which is worth 
describing. The rose composition in the front con- 
tains twelve large diamonds in the circumference, 
and within this are ranged twelve pearls, and in the 
centre a magnificent rose-cut diamond. On the top is 
an angular diamond, of the shape of that mentioned 
by Tavernier, and surrounded by fourteen pearls ; 


these are, in their turn, surmounted by two feathers, 
at the base and ends of which are pendant pearls 
of immense size. Literally hundreds of diamonds arc 
ranged in the circumference of the cap, which mounts 
considerably higher above the head than the whole 
length of face and beard. Four similar roses are on 
the royal coat sleeves, and 20 diamonds and 98 pearls, 
in double row, constitute the necklace and 18 dia- 
monds fringed on top and bottom, with pearls form 
bracelets for the upper arm. Baber's son, Humayun, 
wore the same, 12 diamonds with 12 smaller, and 
10 smaller pearls with the fine rose centre, surmounted 
with the same pointed diamond and feather, but 
except that the turban was surrounded mid-way with 
two rows of pearls, the " cydaris " (tiara), had no other 
gems. In Akbar's cap were the same rose and sur- 
mounts, and somewhat different necklaces coming 
down to the waist. The " cydaris " State turban of 
Jehanghir was adorned with the same star and sur- 
mounts, but his necklaces combined his father's 
single and Baber's double necklace, beside which 
he had earrings with three pearls transfixed in each. 
Aurung-zeb wore on his turban the same star with 
a pearl pendant and surmounts ; like his predeces- 
sors, his dress resembled Baber's with the exception 
of the elaborate Cap of Maintenance. Possibly the 
heart-shaped diamond was either the surmount com- 
mon to all the above-mentioned Mogul emperors, or 
the central diamond of the enormous rose trinket 
worn in the front of the regal turban. That either 
might weigh 35 carats it is not difficult to conjecture. 
Aurung-zeb had no earrings. We have seen that the 


above princes modified the great ornaments, and 
that the crown jeweller would undoubtedly have the 
opportunity of shewing the French merchant on a 
business visit, the jewels in question. That these 
gems were the regalia, and not the private property 
of the emperor will be rendered probable, as Nadir 
Shah wore the same star and surmount on his very 
ugly hat, more like Charles James Fox's beaver than 
a Cap of Maintenance. 


A Mystery Cleared Up — Official History— The Crown Neck- 
lace Worn by the Princess Mary of Sachsen-Altenburg 
on her Marriage with Prince Albert of Prussia — Origin 
of the title " Little Sancy." 

T the time of the marriage of Prince 
Albert of Prussia with Princess Mary 
of Sachsen-Altenburg in Berlin, the 
bride was described in the newspaper 
accounts of the wedding as wearing " the crown 
necklace, zvitJi the celebrated ' Sancy diamond!' Much 
surprise and mystification were caused by this state- 
ment, apparently made on authority ; for amongst 
the many strange peregrinations of the " celebrated 
' Sancy ' diamond," a visit to the Prussian " Schatz- 
Kammer " had not hitherto been mentioned. We are 
now in a position to clear up the mystery, thanks 
to the subjoined extract from an official communi- 
cation obligingly made to us on June /, i88i, by 
Herr Smernitz, minister of the Royal Household, 
Berlin : — 

"Amongst the numerous diamonds of the Royal 
Treasury there is one only possessing historical 
interest. This is a brilliant of splendid shaj e 
weighing 34 carats, worn as a pendant to a necklace, 
and known as the ' Little Sancy.' This diamond 
was bought by Prince Frederick Henry, of Orange, 


who died in the year 1647, ^^^ who was grand- 
father of King Frederick I., of Prussia. Through 
King Frederick it passed from the Orange bequests 
to the Prussian royal treasury." 

It thus appears that at her wedding Princess 
Mary of Sachsen-Altenburg wore, not the celebrated 
" Sancy" diamond, but the " Little Sancy," correctly 
enough described as attached to the "crown neck- 
lace." Of the very existence of this " Little Sancy," 
the public has hitherto been profoundly ignorant. 
Nor does it even now appear by what right it bears 
the name of " Sancy " at all. The explanation, how- 
ever, is not far to seek. We have already seen that 
Nicholas Harlai, Signeur de Sancy, was evidently a 
diamond collector, and that he died in the year 1627. 
After his death his collection was no doubt dis- 
persed by the family, and in this way the diamond, 
weighing 34 carats, would be thrown on the market. 
Hence its purchase by Frederick Henry of Orange, 
in 1647, is easily accounted for. A diamond of 
its weight, rare enough in those days, at least in 
Europe, would naturally be associated with its owner, 
the famous collector, M. Sancy, and as the largest, 
weighing 54 carats, was known as the " Great Sancy ;" 
the other, weighing 34 carats, probably the next in 
size, took the name of the " Little Sancy." 


The Vague History of a Brilliant Gem — An Ornament of 
Napoleon's Sword Hilt. 

ERY little is known regarding this beau- 
tiful gem, whose history begins as 
abruptly as it terminates. Like one of 
those bright meteors, which in northern 
climes suddenly flash across the starry firmament to 
be presently extinguished in darkness, it makes its 
appearance in the British metropolis about the time 
of the French Revolution, and has already vanished 
out of sight almost before the close of the eighteenth 
century. Murray, who is almost our only authority 
for its brief but brilliant career, tells us that it 
belonged originally to Mr. Eliason (the same gentle- 
man who sold the " Blue " diamond to Mr. Hope), of 
London. It was seen in his possession by a trust- 
worthy person, from whom Murray received the few 
particulars which he has recorded regarding its subse- 
quent history. From this source we learn that it was 
purchased from Eliason for i^8,ooo by Napoleon 
Buonaparte, and by him worn in the hilt of his sword 
on the occasion of his wedding with the hapless 
Josephine Beauharnais, in 1796. Murray adds that 
" it was not a diamond of the first class," although it is 
known to have really been a very perfect stone. 

It is remarkable that at that early period of his 
career, when he was still only a distinguished general 


of the Republican forces, Napoleon had already- 
amassed wealth enough to afford to spend iJ"8,ooo on 
a single gem. Still more remarkable is the fact that 
nothing more is heard of this diamond after it thus 
came into the possession of " le petit caporal." In 
the inventory of the crown jewels prepared by order 
of the emperor in iSio, there is no separate entry of 
any diamond of this size. It may possibly have been 
removed from the sword, and included in one or 
other of the numerous groups of brilliants contained 
in that collection. But in any case it must have 
been sold before NajDoleon III. came to the throne, 
for the Empress Eugenie has assured us that she 
never saw it amongst the French crown treasures. 


Days of Trouble in England — The Battle of Culloden — The 
City of London presents a Great Diamond to the 
Conqueror — The "Cumberland " restored to Hanover 
on a claim sent in to the English Court. 

HIS stone was originally purchased by 
the City of London, for ^10,000, and 
presented to Prince William, Duke of 
Cumberland, immediately on his return 
from Culloden in 1746. 

The preceding year had been characterised by 
serious disaffection towards the throne and ministry. 
Anson had arrived from his circumnavigation of the 
globe. The broad-bottomed Ministry consisted of 
the Pelhams, aided by Lords Harrington, Gower, and 
Lyttelton. Lord Orford had come up from Houghton 
to advise the king, returned to Norfolk, and died. This 
year was one of danger to England. A Ministry dis- 
tracted by internal jealousies and dissensions ; the 
old Tories raising up the smouldering spirit of 
Jacobitism ; France, Spain, and Italy, in its famil)- 
compact, joined by Holland ; Scotland in open re- 
bellion ; Prince Charles Edward landing ; the clans 
in arms ; Sir John Cope vanquished and routed, and 
" Preston Pans " rousing the enthusiasm of English 
chivalry to its zenith ; the times were exciting in the 
extreme. At this juncture, the Duke of Cumberland, 



a strong Whig, upon whose support he verily believed 
the stability of the throne, in the line of Hanover, 
depended, proceeded to the North, and vigorously 
prosecuted the work entrusted to him of driving 
Charles Edward out of the realm, and striking a death 
blow to rebellion in Scotland. No short campaign was 
ever more passionately popular than this, which ended 
in the battle of CuUoden. The " Duke's Head " was 
the tavern sign on every English country tavern, 
and the common garden flower known as the Sweet 
William was appropriated to him. 

'' The pride of France is lily white, 
The rose in June is Jacobite ; 
The prickly thistle of the Scot 
Is Northern knighthood's badge and lot; 
But since the Duke's victorious blows, 
The ///}', thistle^ and the rose, 
All droop and fade and die away — 
Sweet William only rules the day. 
No plant with brighter lustre grows. 
Except the laurel on his brows." 

Alas, the hero of Culloden soon fell from his 
popularity. His habits had became gross, and his 
self-indulgence, acting on his weakened constitution, 
made him ungainly ; whilst the enmity and jealously 
of his elder brother, who envied his popularity and 
feared for his succession, succeeded in blackening his 
character. Within a few months (1747), the Allied 
Army under the Duke of Cumberland was entirely 
defeated at the battle of Lauffeld, and, whilst this 
raised the spirit of France, it was fatal to the repu- 
tation of our warrior-prince. The attempt to sow 
dissension between the two royal brothers, greatly 
scandalized the middle classes, but in 175 i the end 
of the jealously, which, the mother, Queen Caroline, 


had so injudiciously encouraged, terminated in the 
death of the Prince of Wales. 

What really became of the " Cumberland " is 
not known for certain (though it is understood to 
have been restored to Hanover by Queen Victoria, 
in 1866), as the uncle of George III. was very un- 
happy in all his domestic and social relationships. 
After the death of his brother, he sadly belied his 
mother's hopes and prophecies. It was during the 
height of his popularity that the citizens feasted 
and feted him, and the " precious stone " was pre- 
sented to him as the fittest exponent of a city's 
" gloss of fashion and its mould of form." 



An Unauthorized Title— The Rough Diamond mentioned by 


E have given this vague title to a stone of 
which our knowledge is no less vague. 
All that seems to be known regarding 
it is conveyed in the subjoined brief 

notice occurring at p. 46 of Mawe's often quoted 

book : — 

" An individual lately received a rough diamond 

from Brazil, above 90 carats, which, when formed 

into a brilliant, weighed nearly 32 carats ; it cost ^200 

in workmanship." 



A White Stone among the Dresden Green— Set in a Piece of 

ESIDES its numerous coloured dia- 
monds, the Dresden collection com- 
prises at least one white brilliant of 
pure water over 30 carats in weight. 
It is the most conspicuous gem in an ornament com- 
posed exclusively of stones of the finest water. Its 
weight is given by Kluge at 123 grains, or 3o| carats. 



One of Four Famous Yellow Gems. 

N the Dresden Green Vaults there are 
altogether four " Yellow " brilliants of 
great beauty. Of these Kluge says the 
largest weighs 117^ grains, or as nearly 

as possible 30 carats. Hence its claim to a place in 

our list. 


The following is a complefe list of the Great Diamonds 
described in this work, together tviih their 7veights in 
carats, in the rough and after being cut. 







Braganza or Abaite ... 

1, 680 i 





Great Mogul 


Stewart ... ... ... ' 


Star of the South i 



Du Toit I 


Great Table 


Regent of Portugal ... 


The Jagersfontein ... 


Orlofif or Koh-i-Tar ... 




((r) 168 

1(2) 106 

Darya-i-Nur ... 


Ahmedabad ... 




Turkey I. 




Austrian Yellow- 


Pitt or Regent 



Mountain of Splendour 



Abbas Mirza 


Du Toit II 


Moon of Mountains ... 


Patrocinho ... 


English Dresden 










^ J% 

Tavernier Blue 


African Yellow 


Star of Diamonds ... 


Rio das Velhas 




Bazu ... 




Hastings «- 


Star of Beaufort 



/(0 89^ 

^ ^ X^*^^\J\m^^*- »•• ««■ •■■ 

( (2) 78S/8 









80 to 90 



Star of Sarawak 


Russian Table 


Mascarenha I. 


French Blue ... 



Sea of Glory ... 






Great Sancy ... 


Tavernier A, B, C 


51T6 32^ 

La Reine des Beiges 






Three Tables 


Dresden Green 

4^'A -; 









Hope Blue 





Polar Star 


Pasha of Egypt 
Green Brilliant 










Little Sancy ... 
Cumberland ... 




Dresden White 


Dresden Yellow 


HowLFTT & Son, OU Style Printers, 10, Frith Street, Sobo Square, London, 




Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society ; Author of " Precious Stones 

and Gems ;" Gold Medallist of the Royal Order of Frederic ; 

Holder of a Special Gold Medal from H.M. the King of the Belgians. 


Richly Illustrated. Cloth, 15/- Third Edition, with additional 
information, and a new chapter on Pearls. An exhaustive and 
practical work for the merchant, connoisseur, or the private buyer. 
Treats upon every description of Precious Stones ; giving their 
hiitory, habitat, value, and uses for ornament ; together with much 
information regarding their matrix or rough state. 


Social and Political ; with complete Tables of Comparative Statistics. 
Translated, edited, and collated to 1880. With Original Notes and 
Information by Edwin W. Streeter, F.R.G.S. 

GOLD. Legal Regulations for the Standard of 

Gold in different countries of the world. Coloured Tables, and 
Facsimiles of London and Birmingham Hall Marks. Cloth, 2/- 


Their history and romance. Collected from official, private and 
other sources during many years of correspondence and enquiry, 
The MS. of the "Koh-i-Nur" graciously read and approved by 
Her Majesty the Queen. The accounts of the " Pitt " and the 
"Eugenie" revised by Her Majesty the Empress Eugenie. 
Edited and annotated by Joseph Hatton and A. H. Keane. 

George Bell & Sons, York St., Covent Garden. 

Demy %vo.^ rtchly illustrated, cloth, 15/-. 


By EDWIN W. STREETER, f.r.g.s. 

Now Ready. Third Edition, with Additional Information. 

London :— GEORGE BELL & SONS, York St., Covent Garden 

An exhaustive and practical work for the merchant, the connoisseur, or 
the private buyer. Treats upon every description of Preciouf Stone: giving 
their history, habitat, value, and uses for ornament; together with much 
information regarding their matrix or rough state. 

THE STANDARD.—'' Mr. Streeter gives an accurate 
and complete description of every kind of Precious 
Stone and Gem, and makes his book still more 
attractive and complete by a series of coloured 

THE DAIL V TELEGRAPH—'' Considers the know- 
ledge and experience of Mr. Streeter usefully dis- 
played for the information of all." 

THE DAILY NEWS.~"¥evi romances, indeed, can be 
more entertaining, though the primary object of the 
volume is strictly of a practical kind." 

THE MORNING POST.—" Mr. Streeter prefaces his 
handsome volume with a warning to his readers 
that it is not intended as a scientific treatise, but a 
practical work on the nature, properties, and value 
of precious stones.'' 

THE DAILY CHRONICLE.— ''Ur. Streeter brings 
his wide experience to bear upon the subject of 
Precious Stones. It is the combination of practical 
ideas with an artistic appreciation of the choicest 
gems that renders the work interesting." 

Opinio7is of the Press. 

may be taken for the future as the text book of 
lapidarian lore." 

THE FALL MALL C^^^Z^JT^.— "Contains a large 
amount of information lucidly stated. Of special 
significance to the admirer of jewels. At once 
instructive and entertaining." 

THE ST. JAMESS GAZETTE.— Th&xe are several 
chapters in Mr. Streeter's book on South African, 
Australian, Brazilian, and Indian diamonds ; and as 
many more on coloured, the geological as well as 
the geographical regions in which they are found 
being clearly stated." 

THE SATURDAY REVIEW.— ''The valuable part 
of Mr. Streeter's book is that which relates to the 
diamond-producing countries." 

THE GRAPHIC.—'-' As a manual of gems ; their market 

price and characteristics Mr. Streeter's 

book claims a specialty among the crowd of books 
about Precious Stones." 

antiquary not less than the naturalist will find a 
vast amount of curious anecdote in this pleasant 
volume, which has been compiled with much 
diligent research." 

THE OBSER VER. —" Mr. Streeter is to be congratulated 
upon having made his history and characteristics 
of gems exceedingly interesting, but upon having 
provided a manual of the greatest practical use." 

THE QUEEN— "The plan of this new book is so com- 
prehensive that it includes very full details on many 
topics. The notes on coloured diamonds are very 

THE ART JOURNAL.—" One may read the book for 
pleasure, and certainly for knowledge." 

opinions of the Press. 

THE WORLD.—"' Precious Stones and Gems " is written 
for the scientific collector of jewels and contains 
many valuable hints." 

THE TABLET. — " Mr. Streeter has met with great and 
well-deserved success in his work. It is the outcome 
of thirty-five years' experience, and it is evident that 
the author has spared no cost or pains." 

JSfE WS. — " A fascinating book, which, from end to 
end, affords unremitting pleasure." 

THE COURT 76>£/i?iV^Z.— "The plan of the work is 
to give under the heading of each jewel its pecu- 
liarities and characteristics." 

THE EXAMINER.— ''Mr. Streeter has handled his 
subject with a fulness of knowledge which makes 
his book interesting to all. 

PUBLIC OPINION.— " A book upon a special subject 
by an acknowledged master." 

THE WHITEHALL RE VIE W—" Supplies a want 
which has long been felt. Of singular originality." 

THE BULLIONIST— ''!'-, an authority of deserved 
weight and competence." 

THE CITY /'i?^^6".—" Details the history and distin- 
guishing characteristics of all precious stones with 
which people are familiar." 

THE LEEDS J/iii?CW?K—" The work contains in a 
very attractive form, nearly all that is known on 
the subject." 

THE ^C6>JlSyJ/.^iV.—" Characterises 'Precious Stones 
and Gems' as an attempt to popularise information 
on the subject of which it treats." 

the author does not claim to have written a scientific 
treatise, he has in reality done so." 

Opinions of the Presf. 

THE NEWS OF THE ^rO/?LZ).—" Considers it one of 
the most lucid and comprehensive expositions of the 

THE SUNDAY TIMES— '' Advises the reader, curious in 
such matters, to turn to a volume full of instruction 
and entertainment." 

difficult to enumerate the mass of information." 

THE GLASGOW HERALD— ''Hsls never met with a 
book so satisfying on its particular topic." 

THE NEW YORK TIMES — " Mr. Streeter has just 
published a clever book on ' Precious Stones and 
Gems.' " 

THE SUNDERLAND HERALD.—'' This work is well 
calculated to create increased interest in the subject." 

THE LIVERPOOL DALE Y POST.—'' It is the work 
of a recognized authority." 

subject loses nothing in his hands. He brings to his 
work both professional knowledge and literary ability." 

YORK HERALD. — " A handsome volume . . . 
Useful alike in the library and drawing-room . . 
Full of practical hints, research, and historical and 
descriptive tales." 



By G. FR. KOLB. 

Social and Political, with Complete Tables of 
Comparative Statistics. 

Translated, edited, and collated to 1880. With Original Notes and 
Intormation by EDWIN W. STREETER, f.r.g.s. 

THE STANDARD.^'' . . . This book might be 
described, from one point of view, as a panorama of 
the internal condition of all the peoples of the 
civilized world, and from another, as a compendious 
and discreet decoction of the most important Blue 
Books of all the countries and all the languages 
which boast a literature of the kind .... We 
have before us some 950 closely printed pages, with 
all the fulness and fidelity that facts and figures can 
secure .... No more thorough, comprehen- 
sive, or serviceable book of the kind has ever issued 
from the press." 

THE ATHEN^UM.—'' .... Deservedly holds 
a high place amongst works of its class. ... It 
is a veritable treasury of statistical knowledge, and 
its historical retrospects and explanatory notes endow 
it with a permanent value." 

would fail us were we to try and make out a list of 
the different departments of life and action on wliich 
these statistics cast a new and bright light .... 
There are mines of information and guidance lying 
in the imposing volume before us." 

THE BAIL V NE IVS.—'' ... For this great work 
on Universal Statistics, statesmen, and public writers, 
and indeed every student of political affairs, have 
good reason to be grateful . . . . " 

Opijtions of the Press. 

THE ST. JAMES'S GAZETTE.—'' Its pages replete 
to overflowing of facts excellently arranged, 
possesses the most essential qualities of a book of 
reference in an eminent degree ; it is abundant and 
it is clear." 

THE B ULLrONIST.—''i:hQ work has been admirably 
rendered .... As a work of reference it will 
form a valuable addition to any library." 

THE STATIST. — "The work is carefully done, and will 
be found both interesting and useful to many." 

THE ECONOMIST—'' .... By far the most 
comprehensive volume we are acquainted with, as a 
general statistical description of the condition, both 
social and material, of every important nation of the 

THE CITY PRESS.— " A valuable work of reference. 

. . . Scarcely a subject of any importance can 

be mentioned, which will not be fouiid to have been 

treated at full length in this astonishing compilation." 

THE FINANCIAL OPINION.—" No more thorough, 
comprehensive, or serviceable book has ever been 

IHE ECHO. — " An immense variety of subjects have 
been passed under review with the most praiseworthy 
and painstaking industry, and most commendable 
attention to the simplest details of a great and 
exhaustive work .... The book is a chart to 
guide statesmen on their way. ..." 


mass of undigested figures, but a book teeming with 
wide and valuable information. There is much 
in every chapter specially interesting to military and 
naval men.'' 

THE BRIGHTON G^^Z^rri?.— "Reflects great credit 
on all concerned in its production. It is the best 
work on Sociology which has yet issued from the 



Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society ; Gold Medallist of the 

Royal Order of Frederick ; Holder of a Gold Medal from 

H.M. the King of the Belgians. 

Legal Regulations for the Standard of Gold in different countries of the world. 
Coloured map, plates, and tables, cloth, 2/-. 

®|ji»tious of tlje ^vq&^, 

THE STANDARD.—^'Thh book contains all the argu- 
ments which can be urged against what is called Govern- 
ment interference in determining the standard of gold." 

THE MORNING ADVERTISER.— ''In this volume 
Mr. Streeter has given, in a concise form, valuable 
information about Hall Marks." 

THE COURT yOURNAL.—" The general public cannot 
be supposed to understand the mysteries of carats 
and hall marks. Mr. Streeter's proposal that all 
articles containing less than 12 carat gold, or one 
half gold and one half common metal, should be 
sold as metal, is decidedly just. Mr. Streeter goes 
still further and insists that 18 carat gold is the 
proper quality." 

THE PALL MALL GAZETTE.—'' Mx.'S>\.xee\.exaxg\ie^ 
in favour of a warranty of the precious metals when 
used as articles of commerce." 

THE BULLIONIST—T\(\% work has the double claim 
and attention due to the circumstance that it con- 
tains a valuable record of facts, and a clear argument 
infavour of a standard of purity for the precious metals." 

THE QUEEN.—" It is useful to remember that the 
fashion of a bracelet, say of 9 or 12 carat gold, costs 
as much as the fashion of one of 18, and buyers 
are gainers by the purchase of a better article." 

THE MORNING POST—" Treats of the legal regula- 
tions of the precious metals in different countries of 
the world. 

PUBLIC OPINION. — "An important treatise, though more 
especially suitable for the statesman and jeweller." 




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