The story of the Great Mogul is one of a stone that disappeared from records over 250-years-ago, when its last known owner, the Persian ruler, Nadir Shah, was assassinated.
We, therefore, have only replicas and the descriptions and drawings of past witnesses to go by, when picturing what this mysterious diamond must have looked like. While, by one account, the stone was “generally deemed unparalleled in size and beauty,” another (by the famous, 17 century jeweller and traveller, John Baptiste Tavernier) is less rapturous, comparing its form to simply that of “an egg cut through the middle.”
India’s largest diamond
The Great Mogul first surfaced in around 1650 from the Kollur Mine in the Golconda region of South India. It is believed to have weighed 787 carats, making it the largest diamond ever found in the country. The stone was considerably reduced in size, however, by a Venetian lapidary named Ortensio Borgio, who was entrusted with the task of removing its inclusions and unwanted flaws.
The costs of poor craftsmanship
Rather than dividing the stone into several finer specimens, Borgio ground it down to produce one, significantly diminished, 280 carat high-crowned rose-cut diamond (a style very popular during the period). Upon presenting the fruits of his labour to the stone’s then owner – the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan – Borgio met with extreme anger and outrage. Jahan was horrified by the poor results of Borgio’s work and fined him 10,000 rupees (all the money he had) – just short of a death sentence.
The spoils of war
The stone then remained in India until 1739 when the country was invaded, and Delhi ransacked, by the Persian ruler, Nadir Shah. Shah carried the stone back with him to his home in Isfahan as part of the spoils.
The stone disappeared when Shah was assassinated in 1747, and its whereabouts remain unknown to this day. Speculation has linked the Great Mogul to other famous diamonds, including the Orlov or Koh-i-Noor, however none of these theories can be proven. Perhaps the stone is, instead, lying in a private collection somewhere; or even simply lost, waiting to be re-discovered.
Protect your own
Though your own diamonds may not be as valuable as the Great Mogul, all diamonds are extremely precious; and their loss or theft, enough to cause great heartbreak. Though it would be impossible to provide complete protection against such eventualities, Assetsure’s specialist Jewellery Insurance policies can at least cover the stone’s financial worth, offering you greater peace of mind.