The city of Agra is known as the home city of the famous Taj Mahal, and it’s a great place to start the famous Agra Diamond story from. Some background for those who don’t know: The city of Agra used as the capital city of the Mogols until 1658, then the Mogol governor moved the capital city to Delhi.
The story of Agra diamond started in 1526, when Babur, the 1st Mogol governor conquers Agra and want to be the exclusive governor of India. Babur, (Tigris in English), wore a turban with a pink diamond on it, which is probably going to his own after he conquered Agra. Babur sent his son to the battle on Agra that ended with a win of the Raja that ruled Agra. During the battle, the Mogols kidnapped some of the family members of the Raja. The Mogols had mercy and let the family members of the Raja go, and as a gift, they gave Babur some jewels and gems. The Agra Diamond probably was one of those the diamonds were given to Babur. The diamond probably was owned by him until the Persian Shah took it from him in 1739, but the diamond took from the Shah on his way back to his home. At the end, the diamond stayed in India.
We assume that the famous Agra Diamond went to England with Lord Dungal who told the diamond took from Delhi’s ownership during the revolution of 1857. The Irish soldiers who owned the gem looked for a way to smuggle the diamond to England without to be caught. At the end, they caused a horse to swallow the diamond, and when they arrived the dock the horse killed by a gunshot. After the horse killed, they took the diamond from its stomach. Some people doubt the reliability of those stories, especially because there are evidence that Charles, the Duke of Brunswick, already owned the diamond in 1884. By the way, if the name of this duke sounds familiar for you, it’s maybe because there is a diamond named after him – Bronswick Blue Diamond. Maybe the story about the horse never happened, but there are enough reasons to believe that the horse story told about another diamond.
According to the records that the duke wrote, he paid 348,600 French Franc for the diamond. It’s probably bought from Blog & Martin, two diamond dealers who were very famous on this period. In the records of the Duke, he mentions that this is the diamond that Babur owned in 1526. At the end, the diamond went to the ownership of Edwin Streeter who bought it in 1891 from a famous French merchant called “The Runner.” This diamond had some inclusions and it sent to the re-cut process in 1889, where it was cut to 31.41 carats.
In 1905, Agra Diamond was put up to auction in Christie’s, in London, and sold to a person called Maze Mayer for 5,100 gold coins. In 1909 the diamond again showed in an auction, this time in Paris. The highest bid on the diamond wasn’t even close to the price the auction managers wanted, but the diamond still offered for sale. The diamond sold to Louis Vinehans and inherited in his family until in 1990 it was again put up for auction. This old diamond was even buried for some time during World War I. The diamond sold for £4,070,000 to a company from Hong Kong and again was cut, this time to a pillow form. Today the diamond weighs 28.15 carats.