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Nassak Diamond from Peshwa to British to USA

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    Posted: 31 Jul 2012 at 3:41pm
The Nassak Diamond (also known as the Nassac Diamond and the Eye of the Idol) is a large, 43.38 carats (8.68 g) diamond that originated as a larger diamond in the 15th century in India. Found in the Amaragiri mine located in Mahbubnagar, Andhra Pradesh, India, and originally cut in India, the diamond adorned the statue of Shiva in the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik, in the state of Maharashtra, India from at least 1500 to 1817. The British East India Company acquired the diamond through the Third Anglo-Maratha War and sold it to British jewelers Rundell and Bridge in 1818. Rundell and Bridge recut the diamond in 1818,after which it made its way into the handle of the 1st Marquess of Westminster's dress sword.



The Nassak Diamond quickly resurfaced in the possession of Baji Rao II the last independent Indian Peshwa Prince, who handed over the diamond to an English colonel named J. Briggs. In turn, Briggs delivered the diamond to Francis Rawdon-Hastings, the 1st Marquess of Hastings who had conducted the military operations against the Peshwa. Rawdon-Hastings delivered the diamond to the East India Company as part of the spoils of the Maratha war. The East India Company then sent the Nassak Diamond to England, to be sold on the London diamond market in 1818

The Nassak Diamond was imported into the United States in 1927, and was considered one of the first 24 great diamonds of the world by 1930. American jeweler Harry Winston acquired the Nassak Diamond in 1940 in Paris, France and recut it to its present flawless 43.38 carats (8.68 g) emerald cut shape. Winston sold the diamond to a New York jewelry firm in 1942. Mrs. William B. Leeds of New York received the gem in 1944 as a sixth anniversary present and wore it in a ring.The Nassak Diamond was last sold at an auction in New York in 1970 to Edward J. Hand, a 48-year old trucking firm executive from Greenwich, Connecticut.
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