REMARKABLE DIAMONDS AND GEMS
the Koh-i-nur itself. This stone was carefully examined by Professor
Nevil Maskelyne, an English astronomer, who became convinced that it
was an Indian cut stone. It is about the size of a pigeon egg.
is said, according to tradition, to have formed one of the eyes of an
idol of a Brahman temple at Seringham, India. After the assassination
of Shah Nadir, who had adorned his throne with it, it was stolen by a
French grenadier who had taken service there. A ship captain bought the
stone for 2,000 pounds sterling and sold it to a Jew, who let an
Armenian merchant named Shafrass have it. The latter sold it to Empress
Catharine Second of Russia and the negotiator Lazaref was raised to
the rank of nobility.
Koh-i-nur, the "Mountain of Light", is preeminently the "Great Diamond
of history and romance." According to an Indian legend it was found
long before the Christian era. The Koh-i-nur had been stolen from
sovereign by sovereign for nearly a thousand years. It first belonged
to the god Krishna. From him, a poor helpless god, it was stolen by a
wild Delhi chief, who wore it in his cap; from him by Ala-eddin; from
him, in 1526, by Baber of the Moguls.
this diamond had been famous from the beginning, Baber gave it no
particular name, and it did not take its present name till it passed
into the hands of Nadir Shah. The first authentic records carried the