Diamond-Surplus Weblog

September 11, 2008

Famous Diamond #2: Agra

Filed under: Educational Facts — diamondsurplus @ 4:27 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Picking up from the first post of famous diamonds, here is the next in line….Agra

If I were to describe this gem in one word, it would be “captivating”.

Introducing the Agra!


Agra is the site of the Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The diamond has a long history, with many of the earlier accounts disputed.

It has been suggested that in 1526 the Agra diamond was taken into the possession of Babur, the first Mogul Emperor, after he defeated the Rajah of Gwalior in battle.  It is recorded that Babur wore the Agra diamond in his turban.

In 1739, the Agra may have been amongst loot captured by Nadir Shah when the Persian sacked Delhi, however the gem eventually returned to India.

The diamond was reputedly smuggled to England by young military officers in around 1857, in the year of the Indian Mutiny.  However the Agra was apparently already in the possession of the Duke of Brunswick, who had paid the huge price of 348,600 francs for the stone.

Later in the 19th century, the Agra was reduced to just under 32 carats, to eliminate some black inclusions.  Even at this stage it was questioned whether the Agra was indeed the same stone that some thought it was.

More formal records indicate that Edwin Streeter purchased the Agra from Bram Hertz, with Hertz giving Streeter over £15,000 in jewels and cash in return.

Despite a lengthy lawsuit relating to the Agra, the stone remained in Streeter’s stock until 1904 when the Parisian jewellers La Cloche Freres, put the item up for sale at Christie’s in 1905.

Shortly after 1909 the gemstone was acquired by Louis Winans, son of a wealthy American railroad engineer.  Louis Winans settled in Brighton and used a local jeweller to help him create a stunning collection of coloured diamonds.

In 1990, the Agra and two other diamonds from the collection were auctioned at Christie’s.  The vendor had inherited them in 1927, and during the Second World War had buried them in the garden for safe keeping.

The Agra was certified as a fancy light pink natural coloured VSI2, and sold for £4,070,000, making it at that time, the most expensive pink diamond in the world.

Since then, the Agra has again been recut, to 28.15 carats.

What a history! Wouldn’t it be interesting if one could travel through time and watch how all these events took place? 🙂

Source: De Beers


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