86 NATURAL HISTORY OF PRECIOUS STONES, &c.
premiership had never been but for the fortune based upon the "lucky hit" of his great-grandfather.
Orloff Diamond now set in the top of the imperial sceptre of 'Russia,
is said by report to have originally formed one of the eyes of the
great Idol at Sheringham. A French deserter having literally become
enamoured " de ses beaux yeux," by a pretended conversion and a great
show of devotion got himself made one of the priests to the temple,
and, watching his opportunity, extracted his patron's eye from the
socket, and made off with it to Madras.* It is to be supposed that the
god whilst waiting for fortune to send him a fellow-diamond to complete
his optics had made shift with one of glass in the meanwhile, as only one diamond
figures in the story. Its weight is 193 carats, and its pattern a rose
extremely high-crowned, in fact much resembling the shape of the "
Mogul " in Tavernier's drawing. That it is an Indian-cut stone, Prof.
Maskelyne, who lately examined it with care, assures me there can be no
doubt ; all the facets exhibit the blunt edges and rounded surfaces
that mark the style. Its water
This bit of romance is given by Dutens, writing at the time. More
credit, however, seems due to the account which Pallas (Voyage II.)
says he had received from the son of the last vendor, an Armenian named
Shafrass. This man had purchased it from an Afghan General, formerly in
the service of Nadir Shah. Its original place haed ben amongst the
stones decorating that conqueror's throne ; and upon the plundering of
his treasury, after his assassination, this enormous Diamond had
fallen to the share of the Afghan. In outline it so much resembles
Tavernier's " Mogul," that if we admit the possibility of some error in
his calculation of the weight of the latter, the Orloff may claim to be
that long-lost phoenix. Certain it is that Nadir Shah brought it back
amongst the spoils of Delhi, along with the Koh-i-noor.