The Great Mogul : A 780-Carat Diamond
The Great Mogul was discovered around 1550 in the Gani mines in India. It is estimated that the rough stone weighed approximately 780 carats.
This is what the French jeweller Tavernier says in his accounts. He was one of the first Europeans to be able to contemplate the imperial treasure including the Great Mogul. His investigations enabled him to write detailed reports on Persian and Indian fortunes.
At the time of Louis XIV, the diamond belonged to Emperor Aurangzeb entrusted Hortensio Borgis with the cutting. The chosen cut was a “rose cut”: a hemisphere with juxtaposed horizontal facets. Unfortunately, due to various manipulation errors, the weight of the diamond was reduced to 280 carats. This infuriated the Emperor. He sentenced the cutter to several dozen lashes and a fine that ruined him.
The diamond went to the emperor’s successor. But during the fall of Delhi in 1739, the Shah Nadir took hold of the stone. It then disappeared following his assassination.
According to some historians and gemmologists, it may have resurfaced among treasures of the ex-Shah of Iran, under the name of Riai-Noor (“sea of light” in Persian). Meanwhile, others say that the diamond has probably been newly cut, making it unrecognisable. It would bear the name of Orloff, a diamond of similar shape and a weight of 193 carats, which is set on the sceptre of the Russian tsars.
However, most historians now agree that both diamonds have completely different origins.