Spotlight on: The Agra Diamond
To sell diamonds Boca Raton means learning legends that follow famous diamonds through the centuries (well, we’ll settle for the stone’s provenance, or at least a GIA certificate. And even without an appraisal we can provide one).
The world’s fifth largest pink diamond has quite a legend behind it. Dating all the way back to 15th century India, the diamond was the property of the Rajah of Gwailor and family. The rajah was tragically slain during the battle with the Moghuls over the city of Agra. Babur, the emperor of Maghul spared the lives of the rest of the rajah’s family. They in turn gave him all the family jewels in gratitude. Legend has it that Babur wore the diamond on his turban.
Apparently, the brilliant pink diamond remained in the Mogul family for a couple of generations. Akbar, the third emperor(1556-1605) is said to have worn it in his headdress. In 1658, the ruler Aurangzeb decided to stow the stone away in his treasury. It is thought that the Agra diamond was among the loot ransacked by Persia’s Nadir Shah when he invaded Deli in 1739. But if so, then it must have been recaptured on his journey back home.
The highly coveted diamond somehow ended up back in India. Eventually, the diamond found its way to England. How it got there became a part of the stone’s mysterious and unproven history. In 1896, the fifth Marquess of Donegall sold the story of the diamond’s escape to London’s famous jeweler and author Edwin Streeter. According to Lord Donegall’s story, he was serving during the Indian Mutiny in 1857 when the legendary diamond was taken from Deli’s ruler.
Lord Donegall served in the same regimen as the officer who took the stone. It was decided that they would somehow smuggle the stone to England. They devised a plan in which the diamond would be fed to a horse. The story goes that the horse took ill and had to be shot. The smugglers removed the diamond from the horse’s belly and took it on in to England.
The “hole in the story” however, has to do with the year mentioned. The great horse heist supposedly happened in 1857. Charles, the Duke of Brunswick bought the big diamond from Blogg and Martin in 1844. Bram Hertz, a Paris diamond dealer bought the stone from the duke and re-cut it from its 41 carats down to 31.41 carats in order to eliminate some inclusions. Hertz then traded the diamond to Edwin Streeter for a pearl necklace worth 14,000 pounds and another 1,000 pounds in cash. Throughout the years, the famous diamond was sold and resold many times. The SIBA corporation of Hong Kong were the last purchasers at the price of $4.07 million at Christie’s auction house. Re-cut once more, it now totals 28.15 carats.