Also known as: "Admiral" Akbar Shah
Size: 119.00 carats originally. Later re-cut down to 73.60 carats. Still pretty big.
Where Did They Find It:
We don’t know, but it first makes its appearance as the property of the Mughal emperor of India, Akbar.
There’s some dispute to this history, but here’s the most likely version. The diamond was set as one of the eyes of the peacock in the fabulous and famous Peacock Throne of Shah Akbar. Unfortunately, the Peacock Throne was carried off to Persia when the Persian Emperor Nadir conquered the area in the mid 1700’s. However, on its way back the Akbar caravan fell into a Kurdish trap. The Kurds, ever the pragmatists, had no use for a fancy Peacock Throne, so they broke it up for parts and sold off the gold and the gems.
The diamond re-emerged in Turkey and was later purchased in 1866 in Istanbul by a London diamond merchant. The new owner had it re-cut to a drop-form shape, and this is where it lost so much carat weight: plummeting from 119 carats to a mere 73. But who's counting?
A year later, despite this tour of the Middle East, the diamond finally returned to India where the ruler of Baroda, India purchased it. He was known as Malhar Rao, the Gaekwad, and we’re ever so glad he didn’t rename it after himself. In 1926, a descendant of the Gaekwad, let’s call him the new Gaekwad, had Jacques Cartier reset the stone in platinum, and it’s continued as a family heirloom. The last historical record we have indicates the stone was still in the family as of March 31, 1988. But they might well have sold it since then.
Where is it now?
We don’t know. Possibly still with the Rao family in India.
Why the name?
Akbar Shah, ruler of India, was the first historical owner. So, not a bad name.
The diamond originally had an Arabic inscription on it, which translated into English read in part: “Shah Akbar, the Shah of the World.” Well, Shahs aren’t generally known for their modestly.