Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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470                         APPENDIX II.

of the diamonds. One, which he gave in the sequel to the Mogul
Emperor, was unparalleled in its kind. It is still the admiration of all

Tavernier tells us that the Great Mogul's diamond was obtained by
the Amir Jumla, from the Contour (Kolliir) mine (I'ravels, English
Trans, by V. Ball, vol. ii., p. 74). Dr. V. Ball, now Director of the
Science aud Art Museum, Dublin, but formerly of the Geological
Survey of India, when in that country traced out by means of the routes
given to it by Tavernier, who visited it personally, the position of this
mine, which, known by its modern name Kolhir, is situated on the
Kistna river in N. latitude 16° 42' 30", E. longitude 80° 5', and on an
old route from Masulipatam to Golconda (Haidarabad). This identi¬
fication has since been further proved by the discovery of the remains
of the old mining settlement at Kolliir.

The exact date of the discovery of the gem is not known, but about
1656 or 1657 it was presented, while still uncut, to Shah Jahan by Mir
Jumla. It then weighed 756 English carats. Dr. Ball has shown
that the carats used in his descriptions of stones by Tavernier were the
Florentine, the lightest of all carats.    Vide p. 17, footnote ^.

Tavernier was invited by Aurangzeb to see all his jewels, and among
them the great diamond, which he was allowed to examine, make a
drawing of, and weigh. He found it to weigh 268^^7 English carats.
The loss in weight is thus explained by Tavernier (vol. i. p. 396) :—' If
this stone had been in Europe it would have been treated in a different
manner, for some good pieces would have been taken from it, and it
would have weighed more than it does, instead of which it has been
all ground down. It was the Siezir Hortensio Borgio, a Venetian,
who cut it, for which he was badly rewarded, for when it was cut he
was reproached with having spoilt the stone, which ought to have re¬
tained a greater weight; and instead of paying him for his work, the
King fined him ten thousand rupees, and would have taken more if he
had possessed it. If the Sieur llowr'FMSio Ais.A understood his trade
well, he would have been able to take a large piece from this stone
without doing injury to the King, and without having had so much
trouble grinding it; but he was not a very accomplished diamond
cutter.' By thisjatter phrase. Dr. Ball, in opposition to a view held
by Mr. King and others, is of opinion that Tavernier meant, not that
Hortensio might have defrauded the Mogul by taking off a large piece,
but that he might with advantage have cleaved the stone instead of
grinding it; the pieces so cleaved would then have been the property
of the Mogul, not the perquisite of Hortensio. This, after a careful
examination of the original text, appears to me also to be the correct

In 1739 the diamond w^as plundered from  Aurangzeb's descendant.
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