Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where is the Syamantaka Mani Today? (Part 4)


Tavernier's Line Drawing, circa 1676
Photo Credit: Museum Diamonds

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

In my own quest to solve this mystery, I read still other theories that suggest that the Great Mogul diamond, whose whereabouts are unknown at this time, was the stone that actually caused Krishna so much trouble. One corroborating theory states that the Koh-i-Noor was at some point cut from the larger Syamantaka mani.

This theory may have some merit, as there are reports that the Great Mogul once weighed 780 carats and that both the Koh-i-Noor and Orlov diamonds were cut from this larger diamond at one time. (The Orlov diamond is now on exhibit at the Kremiln Diamond Fund.) Unfortunately, these reports are unverifiable, as it seems the only person to ever record seeing this large diamond was Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the French tradesman.

He noted in 1672 that the then 275.65-carat diamond appeared "as of an egg cut in two." The stone is never again mentioned in recorded history, though in one account I read that Alexander Fersman, noted Russian gem expert, believes the Orlov to have been the other half of the Great Mogul diamond that Tavernier drew in his notes. In still another account, though, it is said that Fersman believes the Orlov is the Great Mogul.

These accounts leave open the possibility that the Koh-i-Nur and the Orlov were at one time melded together as the one great stone, The Great Mogul, and perhaps that this great stone was the Syamantaka mani.

Of all the theories I’ve read, I believe that this account is the most credible...that the Syamantaka parented both the Koh-i-Nur and the Orlov diamonds, which would explain why the Great Mogul has otherwise been lost in time.

As I said in the beginning, scholars and historians may never come to a solid conclusion on the matter, but it is highly possible that the Syamantaka mani may in fact reside today (at least in part) in the Tower of London and the Kremlin (as the Koh-i-Noor and Orlov diamonds). Of course, it may actually reside in the Smithsonian Institute (as the Hope Diamond). Or it may be in the hands of an unknown Indian relative.

What do you think?

Is the Syamantaka safe in the Tower of London (Koh-i-Nur),

in the Kremlin and the Tower (Orlov and Koh-i-Nur), 

in the Smithsonian (Hope Diamond)?

Or is it lost in history as the Great Mogul or an unknown ruby or sapphire?

If you’re ready to decide, leave me a comment below with your choice.
If you’re still undecided, follow me this way to read the arguments in favor of the Hope Diamond.
Or follow me this way to read the arguments in favor of the Koh-i-Nur diamond.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. IndiaDivine. "Syamantaka or Shyamantaka??" Last modified September 10, 2005. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/hinduism-forum/265626-syamantaka-shyamantaka.html.
2. ________, Michael. "The Hope Diamond Design Change." The Natural Sapphire Company. Last Modified September 15, 2009. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Blog/the-hope-diamond-design-change.
3. Wikipedia. "Syamantaka." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syamantaka.
4. India Child Name. "Meaning of Syamantak." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiachildnames.com/name.aspx?name=Syamantak.
5. International Colored Gemstone Association. "Ruby." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:ruby&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14.
6. Gem  Select. "World's Biggest Gems." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemselect.com/other-info/biggest-gems.php.
7. Wikipedia. "List of Diamonds." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diamonds.
8. Wikipedia. "Diamond Fund." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlin_diamond_fund.
9. Museum Diamonds. "Great Mogul." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.museumdiamonds.com/~scottsuc/index.php/great-mogul.html.
10. 24hGold. "The Orloff." Published May 29, 2009. Accessed August 22, 2012. http://www.24hgold.com/english/contributor.aspx?article=2071889582G10020&contributor=Famous+diamonds

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


Monday, August 20, 2012

Where is the Syamantaka Mani Today? (Part 3)

The Koh-i-Noor Diamond on View at the Great Exhibition
Photo Credit: Number One London

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

On an expedition to India in order to find “those markets on the border and travel and east with the diamond men, picking up stories and characters,” author Kevin Rushby heard remarkable accounts of the Koh-i-Noor, which today resides in the Tower of London.

He began his quest in Africa, where his friend Cedric warned him that diamonds don’t give up their secrets. Even after he lost his trail in Africa, Rushby did not give up the hunt for the tale of a diamond. He found himself in India, talking to a man who seems, from my brief preview, to have been an astrologer of sorts.

This mystic told Rushby, “The first diamond was the Syamantaka which the Sun god, Surya, gave to Sattrajit as reward for worshiping him. When this magical gem disappeared, the people accused our god Krishna of stealing it and he fought terrible battles to return it to man.”

He also met Mr. Shantilal Bhatt, who responded to his inquiry by remarking, “Then you should know of the Syamantaka of the Sun god? …It is the first diamond in Indian legend, the greatest stone in our history….in Dwarka lived a man called Sattrajit who worshipped Surya, the sun, and one day, while he was walking on the shore, Surya appeared before him and rewarded his devotion with a jewel—the Syamantaka. This jewel brought great prosperity to the city and kept away all evil things like famine and wild animals and robbers.”

Though I have not had a chance (yet) to read Rushby’s full account, from what I can surmise these men not only believed firmly that the Syamantaka mani and the Koh-i-Nur are one in the same, but Rushby’s quest to discover the diamond led him to the same conclusion. Of course, they could be wrong…

If you’re ready to make a choice, click here to leave me a comment with your decision.
If not, follow me this way to read about the Syamantaka’s link to the Hope Diamond.
Or follow me this way to learn about the Syamantaka's link to the Great Mogul Diamond.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. IndiaDivine. "Syamantaka or Shyamantaka??" Last modified September 10, 2005. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/hinduism-forum/265626-syamantaka-shyamantaka.html.
2. ________, Michael. "The Hope Diamond Design Change." The Natural Sapphire Company. Last Modified September 15, 2009. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Blog/the-hope-diamond-design-change.
3. Wikipedia. "Syamantaka." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syamantaka.
4. India Child Name. "Meaning of Syamantak." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiachildnames.com/name.aspx?name=Syamantak.
5. International Colored Gemstone Association. "Ruby." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:ruby&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14.
6. Gem  Select. "World's Biggest Gems." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemselect.com/other-info/biggest-gems.php.
7. Wikipedia. "List of Diamonds." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diamonds.
8. Wikipedia. "Diamond Fund." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlin_diamond_fund.
9. Rushby, Kevin. Chasing the Mountain of Light. New York: Palgrave, 1999.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where is the Syamantaka Mani Today? (Part 2)

The Hope Diamond
Photo Credit: Science Views

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Though most historians believe the Syamantaka mani is a diamond, there is compelling evidence that the sun god’s gift may have been a ruby. There is even some speculation that it was a blue sapphire, though this arises primarily from what is labeled as a spelling error, where some have mistakenly called the jewel Shyamantaka, which means ‘sapphire’ in Sanskrit.

There is some weight to the theory that the jewel might be a ruby, since the sun god was most often represented by rubies and not diamonds. In addition, there is some credibility to the theory that the Hope Diamond may be Satrajit’s treasure. Since the Hope Diamond is blue in appearance and radiates red light after exposure to ultraviolet light, to the inexperienced eye of Dwarka citizens, the diamond might have been mistaken for a blue sapphire. Some speculate that the Hope diamond weighed 112 carats when it was first found, which means it was certainly large enough to have been the Syamantaka mani.

Even though a strong case might be made that Surya’s gift was a ruby and not a diamond, the chromium required for the red color of rubies often prevents them from growing much larger than 3 carats, which would likely not have radiated enough light to obscure Satrajit’s face.

Of course, there are some staggering rubies said to hail from India, including the Rajaratna Ruby (2,475 carats), the 125West Ruby (18,696 carats), and the controversial Chaiyo Ruby (109,000 carats). These weights are nearly impossible to believe, though there is corroboration in the record.

Though it is definitely possible that one of these large Indian rubies could be the Syamantaka mani, none of the accounts I’ve read to date have made any such claim.

Do you think the Hope Diamond is the Syamantaka mani? Do you think it’s one of these large rubies?

If you're ready to decide, click here and leave me a comment with your choice.
If you’re undecided, follow me this way if you think it's the Koh-i-Noor Diamond.
Or follow me this way if you think it might be the Great Mogul.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. IndiaDivine. "Syamantaka or Shyamantaka??" Last modified September 10, 2005. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/hinduism-forum/265626-syamantaka-shyamantaka.html.
2. ________, Michael. "The Hope Diamond Design Change." The Natural Sapphire Company. Last Modified September 15, 2009. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Blog/the-hope-diamond-design-change.
3. Wikipedia. "Syamantaka." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syamantaka.
4. India Child Name. "Meaning of Syamantak." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiachildnames.com/name.aspx?name=Syamantak.
5. International Colored Gemstone Association. "Ruby." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:ruby&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14.
6. Gem  Select. "World's Biggest Gems." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemselect.com/other-info/biggest-gems.php.
7. Wikipedia. "List of Diamonds." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diamonds.
8. Wikipedia. "Diamond Fund." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlin_diamond_fund.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where is the Syamantaka Mani Today? (Part 1)

Diamonds at a Market in Surat
Photo Credit: CNN Go

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

This is a question that may not have an indisputable answer. Although unanswered questions and unsolved mysteries stick in my craw, I am learning to find joy in pondering the varied speculations surrounding such mysteries. The Syamantaka mani presents just such speculation and curiosity.

You’ve no doubt read my account of the exciting legend of the Syamantaka mani, gift from the sun god, Surya, to his faithful servant Satrajit. (If you haven’t, click the link to start at the beginning.)

If you’re anything like me, then by now you’re probably wondering where this stone ended up after leaving Kirshna’s hand millennia ago. I’ve read several different accounts that speak of the current whereabouts of the great stone and though I can offer you nothing more than educated theories, I hope you will enjoy them nonetheless.

Clearly, any stone claiming the famed title of Syamantaka mani must prove to hail from the great land of India, and, at least at one time, I would expect it to have been a large stone.

The legend asserts that the rays emanating from the stone were red in color and brilliant enough to obscure Satrajit’s face as he entered Dwarka. Though this account is surely embellished, it may lend some credibility to claims that the stone might possibly have been a corundum (a red ruby or even a blue sapphire) or a red-fluorescing diamond.

Being as there are very few large diamonds or rubies hailing from India, this narrows the pool of possible matches down quite a bit. In fact, there are only three jewels (all diamonds) which historians postulate might be the legendary Syamantaka: the Hope Diamond, the Koh-i-Nur, or the Great Mogul.


Follow me this way to read the argument that it is the Hope Diamond.
Follow me this way to read the argument that it is the Koh-i-Noor Diamond.
Follow me this way to read the argument that it might be the Great Mogul Diamond in some form. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. IndiaDivine. "Syamantaka or Shyamantaka??" Last modified September 10, 2005. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/hinduism-forum/265626-syamantaka-shyamantaka.html.
2. ________, Michael. "The Hope Diamond Design Change." The Natural Sapphire Company. Last Modified September 15, 2009. Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Blog/the-hope-diamond-design-change.
3. Wikipedia. "Syamantaka." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syamantaka.
4. India Child Name. "Meaning of Syamantak." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.indiachildnames.com/name.aspx?name=Syamantak.
5. International Colored Gemstone Association. "Ruby." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemstone.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85:ruby&catid=1:gem-by-gem&Itemid=14.
6. Gem  Select. "World's Biggest Gems." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://www.gemselect.com/other-info/biggest-gems.php.
7. Wikipedia. "List of Diamonds." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diamonds.
8. Wikipedia. "Diamond Fund." Accessed August 15, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kremlin_diamond_fund.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Monday, August 13, 2012

While I'm Away

Gorgeous Jewelry While You Wait...
Photo Credit: Fashion Meets Food

Dear Faithful Readers,

I appreciate you stopping by today. I am in the process of moving from California to Washington State. With my internet down and my hands busy packing, cleaning, and driving, I am forced to pause in publishing for a spell.

I will return to my regular publishing schedule (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) in about a week.

While I'm away, I encourage you to get caught up (swept away, captivated, enthralled) in some of my favorite Jewelry History posts.

Surya's Gift
The story of the great Indian gemstone, the Syamantaka mani, begins here.

Charles Lewis Tiffany
Meet the man behind the man of Tiffany Glass.

Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee Fashion
Queen Elizabeth's beautiful ensemble for the Royal Procession through London.

See you soon,
Angela Magnotti Andrews

Friday, August 10, 2012

Koh-i-Nur Diamond (Part 3): A Sad Ending

Queen Mother's Crown
Koh-i-Noor, front center Maltese cross
Photo Credit: Bizcovering
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Having suffered a serious stroke during a visit to Paris, Duleep Singh wrote a repentant letter to the queen in hopes of being allowed to return to England. Though she convinced Parliament to grant his request, he was too ill to travel. He spent his final days in Paris, bitter and partially paralyzed.

He did secure a final meeting with the queen two years before he died. Upon her agreement to meet him at her hotel on the Riviera while she was on holiday, Duleep spent his entire time with her bitterly regaling all of his misfortune and woe. The queen was said to have been at least glad for the opportunity to forgive him, but she was clearly distressed by the meeting.

Especially in light of her affection for Duleep, as well as the events surrounding his death, the Koh-i-Noor diamond remained a source of both pride and guilt for Queen Victoria throughout her life. She chose to wear it for her son’s wedding in an unprecedented break from her self-induced mourning in 1879; however, she was known to avoid any sense of flaunting the jewel. She felt a deep sense of chagrin at conquering the Indian territories, and I’m sure her affection for Duleep played a role in her restraint in wearing the gem.

Although there have been campaigns lodged by the Sikhs for the return of the “Mountain of Light” to its country of origin, the Koh-i-Noor diamond remains a part of the British Crown Jewels and is kept in the Tower of London.

Start from the Beginning
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Rappaport, Helen. Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
2. All About Gemstones. "Diamond Mines of the World: India's Diamonds of Golconda." Accessed August 6, 2012. http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/diamond_mines_golconda.html.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Koh-i-Nur Diamond (Part 2): Duleep Singh

Duleep Singh, Queen Victoria's Sketch
Photo Credit: London Evening Standard

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Queen Victoria’s guilty conscience and propensity to take in the misfortunate led her to take this young king under her wing after she converted him to her brand of Christianity in 1854. She was smitten by his charm and infallible manners, and she looked after him under what can only be called a Christian duty to prevent him from reverting back to his old barbarian ways.

Duleep Singh enjoyed an allowance paid by the state, accompanied Victoria and Albert on many family trips, and played with the royal children frequently. He and Prince Albert, who dabbled in photography, spent many hours together developing pictures in the castle dark room. Always one for sentimentality, Queen Victoria had a portrait of him commissioned, and he returned the favor by wearing a miniature of the queen around his neck.

Despite her ministrations and affections, Duleep did indeed return to his former “barbarian” ways. He suffered a severe bout of mental illness in the 1880s, replete with delusions of reclaiming his seat of power in India. His delusions led him to Russia where he allied himself with some nefarious characters in an attempt to start an Anglo-Russian war. Of course, Victoria was absolutely furious and considered his actions a serious betrayal of her trust and affection for him.

To Be Continued...
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Rappaport, Helen. Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
2. All About Gemstones. "Diamond Mines of the World: India's Diamonds of Golconda." Accessed August 6, 2012. http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/diamond_mines_golconda.html.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Monday, August 6, 2012

Koh-i-Nur (Koh-i-Noor) Diamond (Part 1): An Exchange is Made

Koh-i-Noor Armlet
Photo Credit: India Tribune
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Said to have once hung on the neck of the sun god himself, the large and mediocre Koh-i-Noor diamond was given as a gift to Queen Victoria in 1876 as a symbol of her sovereignty over India. Allegedly found in the Indian diamond mines of Golconda, the diamond has an obscure and largely undocumented history.

Having spent an unknown number of centuries in the hands of the Mughals, possibly even housed secretly in the great peacock throne, the diamond was seized in 1739 by Nadir Shah of Persia. It remained in Afghanistan, passing through the hands of several Persian rulers, until Shah Shuja was defeated by Mahmud.

From prison, Shah Shuja sent his family, along with the stone, to Punjab for sanctuary. Shah Shuja’s wife, Queen Wafa Begum, secured her husband’s release from prison by gifting the large jewel to Ranjit Singh, who hired a jeweler to facet and set into an armlet. He had hoped that the new cuts would release the radiance he believed existed within the stone. However, the diamond remained hopelessly devoid of brilliance. Greatly disappointed, Ranjit Singh beheaded the jeweler responsible for faceting and setting it.

After his death in 1843, Ranjit Singh left a vacuum of power in India. This of course resulted in fighting among his successors, one of whom was nine-year-old Duleep Singh. It also opened the door for the British to finally gain a foothold in the sought-after Indian territory

After a six-year attempt to dominate the region, the British defeated the Sikhs and Afghans, abdicated the Sikh treasury under the 1849 Treaty of Lahore, and carried the diamond and Duleep Singh back to England in victory.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Rappaport, Helen. Queen Victoria: A Biographical Companion. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
2. All About Gemstones. "Diamond Mines of the World: India's Diamonds of Golconda." Accessed August 6, 2012. http://www.allaboutgemstones.com/diamond_mines_golconda.html.

*Clip-art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Friday, August 3, 2012

Timeline of the Koh-i-Nur (Koh-i-Noor) Diamond (Part 3): Historical Record from 1850 to Present Day

HMS Medea
Photo Credit CQOut
compiled by Angela Magnotti Andrews



1850 AD         
Having set sail from Bombay on the HMS Medea on April 6, the Koh-i-Nur diamond was delivered to Sir J. W. Logg, Deputy Chairman of the East India Company, who presented the diamond to Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, in the presence of Sir John Hobhouse, at Buckingham Palace on July 3.

1851 AD         
The Koh-i-Nur, along with the Daryanoor and Timur’s Ruby, went on display at the Great Exhibition in London. In October, at the end of the Exhibition, the Koh-i-Nur was returned to Queen Victoria.

1852 AD         
Disappointed in the gems lackluster appearance, Prince Albert hired the experts at Coster Diamonds in Amsterdam to cut the diamond into a brilliant, reducing it by up to 43% of its original size. Mounted in a brooch for the Queen, who wore it often, the diamond was kept in Windsor Castle.

1902 AD         
The diamond was set into the jeweled cross at the front of Queen Alexandra’s coronation crown. The crown is pictured in Her Majesty’s coronation photographs.

Queen Alexandra's Coronation
Photo Credit: Chest of Books
1911 AD         
The Koh-i-Nur diamond was set, along with the Cullinan I & II, in the crown of Queen Mary for her coronation as Queen Consort to George V. Her crown was manufactured by Garrard & Company and contained over 2,200 diamonds.

1937 AD         
The Koh-i-Nur diamond was chosen as the crowning jewel for Queen Elizabeth’s crown (now called Queen Mother’s Crown). She wore the crown (and the diamond) on her coronation day as Consort to George VI. Patterned after the crown of Queen Mary, this beautiful platinum crown studded with diamonds currently resides in the Tower of London. This was the last time the Koh-i-Nur diamond was worn in public.

1997 AD         
Queen Elizabeth II made a visit on the 50th anniversary of India’s Independence. At this time, Indians in India and Britain made demands for the return of the diamond to India. This request has been denied to date.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Wikipedia. "Golkonda." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golkonda#Diamonds.
2. Mughal History. "First Battle of Panipat from Baburnama." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.mughalhistory.com/panipatbattle1.htm.
3. Wikipedia. "Kollur Mine." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kollur_Mine.
4. Tripod. "Kohinoor Heera." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://mridul1991.tripod.com/kohinoor.html.
5. Wikipedia. "King Porus." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Porus.
6. Wikipedia. "Chandragupta Maurya." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandragupta_Maurya.
7. Wikipedia. "Maurya Empire." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauryan_empire.
8. Wikipedia. "Bindusara." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindusara.
9. Wikipedia. "Vikramaditya." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikramaditya.
10. Wikipedia. "Samprati." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samprati.
11. Chaurasia, R. S. History of Medieval India From 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 2002.
12. Sikh Institute. Maharaja Duleep Singh: The King in Exile. Appendix: Koh-I-Noor Diamond--Its History. Accessed July 23, 2012. http://sikhinstitute.org/duleepsingh/appendix.pdf.
13. Kaur, Harpreet. "Koh-i-noor, a Mountain of Light." Dance with Shadows. Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.dancewithshadows.com/society/kohinoor-diamond-india.asp.
14. Tripod. "The Koh-I-Noor." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/koh-i-noordiamond.html.
15. Tweedie, Neil. "The Koh-i-Noor: diamond robbery?" The Telegraph Online. July 29, 2010. Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/7917372/The-Koh-i-Noor-diamond-robbery.html.
16. Royal Exhibitions. "Crowns." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://royalexhibitions.co.uk/crown-jewels-2/royal-regalia/.
17. Kent, J. J. "The Crown Jewels of England: The Koh-i-noor." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.jjkent.com/articles/crown-jewels-england-kohinoor.htm.
18. Wikipedia. "Koh-i-Noor." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koh-i-Noor#The_Crown_Jewels.
19. Forevermark. "A Notorious Diamond." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.forevermark.com/en/The-Crown-Jewels/Diamond-Highlights/A-Notorious-Diamond/.
20. Rushby, Kevin. “Chasing the Mountain of Light: Across India on the Trail of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond.” Great Britain: Constable and Company Limited, 1999.
21. Harlow, George E., editor. “The Nature of Diamonds.” CambridgeUKCambridge University Press, 1998.
22. Wikipedia. "Alexandra of Denmark." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandra_of_Denmark.
23. Wikipedia. "Crown of Queen Alexandra." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_of_Queen_Alexandra.
24. Wikipedia. "Crown of Queen Mary." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_of_Queen_Mary.
25. ReoCities. "The Memoirs of Babur." Accessed July 23, 2012. http://www.reocities.com/SoHo/Studios/8611/babur.html.


*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Timeline of the Koh-i-Nur (Koh-i-Noor) Diamond (Part 2): Historical Record from 1526 to 1850


Zakhritidin Muhammad Babur
Photo Credit: OrexCA

compiled by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Though the Koh-i-Nur diamond’s history remains somewhat murky even through this transition from the Delhi Sultanate to the Mughal reign, after Babur took possession of the stone, it’s history is more solid. Here is that record.

1526 AD        
Babur records this statement concerning the stone in his memoirs: “Apparently it weighs eight miskats. Humayun offered it to me as a ‘Peshkash’ when I arrived at Agra (May 10, 1526) and I just gave it back to him as a present.” There is no record of how the Rajas of Gwalior acquired the stone from the Khilji dynasty.

1540 AD         
Humayun was defeated at the battle of the Ganges on May 17. He escaped to Persia with the diamond and found refuge with Shah Tehmasp of Iran. It is said that Humayun gave the Koh-i-Nur diamond to the Shah of Iran as a gift.

1547 AD         
Shah Tehmasp was the protectorate of several Shia Muslim Sultinates who were harassed by the Sunni Muslim Emperor of Delhi. As a peace offering, Shah Tehmasp sent an ambassador to present gifts to Burham Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar (Deccan). Among these gifts was the Koh-i-Nur diamond.

Humayan (left) and Shah Tehmasp (right)
Photo Credit: Columbia Edu
 1611 AD         
It passed into the hands of Sultan Abdulla Qutab Shah, emperor of the Qutb Shah dynasty of Golkunda in the Deccan.

1656 AD        
Ex-Prime Minister of Sultan Abdulla Qutab Shah, Mir Jumla, presented the diamond to Emperor Shah Jahan of Deccan in a private display of loyalty. It is here that William Jessop, agent of the East India Company, got his first look at the jewel.

1658 AD         
Emperor Shah Jahan dies, leaving the throne to his son, Aurangzeb. The gemstone became his rightful possession at this time.

1665 AD         
The travelling tradesman, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, visited Emperor Aurangzeb and wrote about the great diamond he saw among the jewels of the empire. The Mughals retained the Koh-i-Nur until their defeat by the Persian ruler, Nadir Shah.
Tavernier's Sketch of Koh-i-Nur
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
 1730s AD        
It is reported that Muhammad Shah Rangila, the last Mughal emperor, used to wear the Koh-i-Nur wrapped in his turban.

1739 AD         
Nadir Shah occupied the fort of Delhi after defeating Muhammad Shah Rangila in the battle of Karnal. Though he grudgingly handed over the treasury of the Mughals to Nadir Shah, he covertly kept the Koh-i-Nur in his turban, hoping to keep it for himself.

1739 AD         
Nadir Shah, knowing of the Mughal emperor’s custom of carrying the diamond in his turban, arranged a feast during which he called for the brotherly custom of exchanging turbans. Not wishing to cause an upset, Muhammed had not choice but to make the exchange. Nadir promptly unwrapped the turban and is purported to have exclaimed “Koh-i-Nur” (which means ‘Mountain of light’) upon seeing the diamond for the first time. Nadir Shah took the diamond back to Persia with him.

1747 AD         
Persian army soldiers, Muhammad Quli Khan and Salih Khan, assassinated Nadir Shah, at which time Shah’s Afghan General, Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani), removed the emperor’s royal seal and claimed possession of the royal treasury, including the Koh-i-Nur diamond.

1772 AD        
Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani) died and left the jewel to his son, Timur Shah.

1793 AD         
Timur Shah died and passed the jewel on to his son, Zaman Shah, King of Afghanistan. This began a vicious turf war between the brothers. Zaman Shah defeated all his brothers, except Mahmud. He ceded governorship of Herat to Mahmud, dividing the power base between Kabul and Herat.

In the air between Kabul and Herat
Photo Credit: Dawood Khan
 1803 AD         
Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk defeated Mahmud and took the throne of Afghanistan. Though it does not appear to be recorded, it becomes clear that the diamond passed to Shah Shuja at this juncture.

1810 AD         
Mahmud defeated Shah Shuja at Kandhar.

1811 AD         
Mahmud defeated Shah Shuja again, this time at Akora. Shuja was imprisoned under the watchful guard of the Governor of Kashmir, Ata Muhammad Khan. Prior to his defeat, Shah Shuja sent his family for protection to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Punjab. It is recorded that Shah Shuja’s wife, Queen Wafa Begum, carried the gemstone with her to Punjab.

1813 AD         
Queen Wafa Begum petitioned the Sikh ruler to negotiate for the release of her husband from Kashmir. Their petitions were successful, and Shah Shuja rejoined his wife in Lahore. As a thank offering, Shah Shuja gave the jewel to Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
1839 to 1849 AD         
Upon the death of Ranjit Singh, the diamond passed to each of his heirs in short succession. The Sikh rule was fraught with bitter envy among the brothers Singh, and none of the Maharajas held onto their thrones for long. The shortest reign was one month and sixteen days (Maharani Chand Kaur, widow of Kharak Singh), and the longest reign was five years, six months, and fourteen days (Duleep Singh, the boy who was king).

1849 AD         
The Treaty of Lahore was signed on March 29. At eleven years old, Maharaja Duleep Singh signed over his crown and his treasure to the East India Company, acting on behalf of the British Crown, including the Koh-i-Nur diamond, the Daryanoor diamond, and Timur’s Ruby.

1849 AD         
On April 6, Dr. John Login was charged with guardianship of Duleep Singh and with the task of removing the jewels from State Toshakhana (the royal treasury). He handed the diamond over to Sir Henry Lawrence, whose younger brother John was given the gemstone in a small box which he placed in his coat pocket. It is said that John laid his coat aside one day and forgot completely about the diamond. It was brought up six weeks later, when the Queen asked for its delivery, at a board meeting by Henry. John said, “Send for it at once,” and Henry replied, “Why? You’ve got it.” John’s memory sparked and though he gave no sign of outward fear, he was horrified that he had so carelessly forgotten about his charge. He immediately went to his servant, who had secreted the small box, unaware of its valuable treasure, in a safe place in the house.

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*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy