REMARKABLE DIAMONDS AND GEMS
Borgio of Venice, was not skilled enough to carry out such a task. From
793 carats the blockhead cut it down to 186. For this he was punished
with the loss of his entire fortune.
Shah stole it when his turn came. His descendants were tricked into
losing it to Achmed Shah, whose son was forced to give it up to Runjeet
Singh. Through the people of that potentate it reached British troops.
Their Queen, to whom they had loyally presented it in June 1850, had it
displayed in the Great Exhibition of 1851.
was not satisfied with the brilliance of the stone and had it cut
again—this time by the great Costar of Amsterdam. He reduced it to 106
and his men came over from Amsterdam for the purpose, and installed the
equipment at the Queen's jeweler's shop. A steam engine was erected to
do the work. It was the Duke of Wellington himself who set the
machinery in motion, and made the first cut. All England was a
breathless spectator of the thrilling scene. A single slip of the
cutter's hand might have done a mischief not to be measured save by
hundreds of thousands of pounds. A moment's inattention might have cost
a million. Happily the operators' nerves were steady, and their
thoughts concentrated on their work, so that no accident occurred. The
Koh-i-nur is now a perfect brilliant, with duly proportioned table,
facets, and culet.
Shah got the stone from the Mogul dynasty by cunning means in 1739. The
unhappy Mohammed Shah, to whom Nadir Shah restored the throne of India