the country known as Bundelkhand. The latter are supposed to be the oldest diamond mines of India, though the more southerly diggings which include the Golconda district, are more famous.
From a Dutchman named Van Linschoten, we learn something of the way in which mining was conducted in India late in the sixteenth century. Writing in 1596 of the mines in the kingdom of Bisnager whose capital was at Hampi in the Bellary district, he said, " The diamonds are digged from several hills near the town of Bisnager." The king farmed out rights to mine with the condition that all diamonds weighing above 25 "mangelyn" (between 34 and 35 carats) should be his. The mines were closely watched, and in the language of Van Linschoten, " if anie man bee found that hideth anie such, he looseth both life and goodes." It may be conjectured that in yet earlier times, the rulers of that and other diamond-producing countries were equally vigilant in securing the best of the mines for themselves.
In this way, large stones remained in the possession of princes, some probably passing from the kings of the producing countries to others as bribes for military assistance in times of war, or for other favors. Some were exchanged possibly for rubies, pearls and emeralds found in other kingdoms, but not many important stones were lost to the land of their nativity, except by the fortunes of war. These Hindu princes continued to add all they could to their jewels, and accumulated them until a prince more powerful invaded their strongholds and looted the treasuries. It is estimated that the loot taken by Nadir Shah when he sacked Delhi amounted to seventy million pounds sterling.