Akbar Shāh diamond

The Akbar Shāh, also known as the "Lustre of the Peacock Throne", is a diamond dating back to the Mughal dynasty of India. It is an irregular, pear-shaped diamond with a light green hue, weighing 73.60 carat.

The Akbar Shāh diamond was once the property of the Mughal emperor Akbar, hence its name. It was engraved on two faces with inscriptions in Arabic, by order of his grandson Shāh Jahān. The English translation of them is 'Shāh Akbar, the Shāh of the World, 1028', and 'To the Lord of two worlds, 1039". The dates are given according to the Hijrī years, and correspond to 1618 and 1629 of the Christian era.

It is believed by some historians that this celebrated gem was set as one of the eyes of the peacock in the fabulous Peacock Throne. However, other scholars suggest the possibility of it being the dazzling diamonds encircled by emeralds and rubies, suspended opposite the throne.

In any case, the diamond disappeared. If it had been set in the Peacock Throne it would have disappeared when the Persian Emperor Nādir Shāh carried the throne off as booty in 1739. The throne was lost on its way back to Iran in a battle with Kurds, who broke it up for the value of the metal and stones.

In any case the stone eventually reappeared in Turkey, where it had been given the new name 'Shepherd's Stone'. It was then purchased in 1866 in Istanbul by London merchant George Blogg, who commissioned Levi Moses Auerhaan to re-cut it into drop-form. Unfortunately the historic inscriptions were destroyed in the process. The stone, which had originally weighed 120 Arabic carats (about 119 metric carats 23 g), had been reduced to 73.60 metric carats (14.34 g). In the following year the diamond was purchased by Malhār Rāo, the Gaekwad of Baroda, India, for what was said to have been 350,000 rupees (about £26,000).

The information available on the historic Akbar Shah/Jahangir Shah diamond, comes mainly from Edwin Streeter's book "The Great Diamonds of the World, Their History and Romance" published in 1882, in which the diamond is said to have possessed a weight of 120 Arabic carats or 116 English carats. It is also said to have adorned one of the eyes of the peacock in the renowned peacock throne of Shah Jahaan. Besides this nothing is said about the color, clarity or the shape/cut of the diamond. However, the fact that the diamond is a rare inscribed diamond belonging to the classic period of the Mughal empire, we can make some plausible inferences, by comparing with other inscribed diamonds of this period, such as the Shah diamond and the Taj Mahal/Nur Jahan diamond.

The Shah diamond with three inscriptions by three different rulers of different periods and kingdoms, is a table-cut, light yellow diamond with good clarity and transparency. The Taj Mahal/Nur Jahan diamond is a heart-shaped, table-cut, white or colorless diamond. Accordingly it is seen that only white/colorless diamonds or light-colored diamonds, with good clarity are usually selected for inscribing, and the cut chosen for the diamond, before inscribing, is usually the simple cut, known as the table-cut or lasque, that has few large facets, providing the required surface for the inscription. Hence, the Akbar Shah/Jahangir Shah diamond was undoubtedly a table-cut diamond, with two of its large facets inscribed in Arabic characters. The color of the diamond must have been white or colorless, the usual color of diamonds selected for engraving. Even Edwin Streeter has failed to mention the color of the diamond, in his account of the diamond in Chapter XXV of his book. The clarity of the diamond must also have been exceptional, going by the clarity of other inscribed diamonds. https://youtu.be/5Vr3QT3AZwk