Infamous largest Timur Ruby of Indian origin !! - in the British Crown

.Queen Victoria.

Timur ruby, looted from Punjab maharajah.

Above image: The fiery red color and ravishing beauty of rubies have got the attention of jewelers world  over for centuries. In history some specific  attractive stones  have created niche for themselves in the world of jewelry.  The Timur ruby has a rich history behind it. Asian in origin, it remained in the subcontinent for long, before it it fell into the hands of dishonest east India company officials when they seized the province of Punjab when the regal heir was a minor. In 1849, the Timur Ruby (together with the famous Koh-i-Nur diamond) was annexed by the British Empire and came into the possession of the British Monarch.  Queen Victoria, not content with possessing almost all famous gemstones and diamonds in her collection took a fancy for this huge stone along with Koh-i-Noor presented to her by the EIC............................

 The Timur  ruby, part of the British Crown  Jewels  is an un-faceted, 352.5 carat polished red Sp inel gemstone set in a necklace of Oriental inspiration in 1853  by  the Royal  jeweler Garrard. The necklace was then lengthened  in 1911. However, the most valuable necklace had never been worn by  any British Royal member.  Until 1851 it was regarded as the largest known ruby in the world and only later it was found out it was not ruby, but was only a Spinel gem stone. Jahangir Shah, the Mogul Emperor of India, got  this famous ruby as a gift from Shah Abbas,  his buddy in 1612. 

The Timur Ruby of Indian origin in the British

 Jahangir Shah, as it was his wont to have his name inscribed on gemstones,  diamonds, etc.,  got his name inscribed on the ruby. The early inscription on it, It is believed, was removed before it was gifted to Jahangir Shah. Later it was in possession of successive  Mogul rulers and Shah Jahan, during his reign 1628 and 1658, had this enormous stone mounted on his  famous peacock throne. After Aurangazeb (1658-1707), his successors kept the ruby  safely,  but during the period of Muhammad Shah (1719 -1748), the great  conqueror of Iran, Nadir Shah, motivated by his ambition to capture  the enormous wealth of the Mogul empire, invaded India, and plundered the Mogul capitals of Delhi and Agra in February, 1739. His plundering spree that lasted a few months yielded fabulous treasures (worth roughly one billion dollars) including, peacock throne and a variety of expensive gems and diamonds including the Nur-ul-Ain, the Darya-i-Noor, Kohinoor diamond, Timur Ruby, etc. 

Timur Ruby had spent 60 years locked away in obscurity, and it was finally recognized by the inscriptions carved on the gem. The longest of the six inscriptions is  written in Persian:  "This is the Ruby from the twenty-five thousand genuine jewels of the King of Kings the Sultan Sahib Qiran,(also known as Timur) which in the year 1740 A.D. from the collection of jewels of Hindustan, reached this place (Isfahan)."  Timur, a direct descendant of Mongol emperor Genghis Khan, until his death in 1405 A.D had annexed more lands than anyone in history. He acquired the gemstone during his 1398 raid on Delhi in India, hence its name the Timur Ruby.

After the assassination of Nadir Shah in 1747, the administration of the slain king's kingdom was in disarray, Ahmed Khan Abdali, commander of Nadir Shaw's huge army captured Shah's vast jewelry collections,  including Timur ruby and Kohinoor diamond, etc and settled in Afghanistan. After his death, Timur ruby and Kohinoor diamond fell in the hands of Shah brothers. One of them Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk 1810 after killing his brother escaped to Lahore, Punjab where he was given asylum by Raja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. Later, driven by greed, Raja Ranjit singh himself became the owner of Kohinoor diamond and also Timur ruby after forcefully capturing them from Shah Shuja.

The Timur Ruby of Indian origin

After the death of Ranjit Sigh, the administration was in a chaotic state as a result of succession problems among the sons of the ruler. Finally Dulip Singh, a minor then and the last of Ranjit Singh’s sons, was installed as king, with his mother Jindan Kaur as regent to take care of the administration for the minor legal heir.  At that time, using the 'Doctrine of lapse' as a ruse, British forces declared war on Punjab and finally captured it,  including Raja's personal jeweler collections.  The Lahore treaty (9th March,1846) was concluded, for the British by the Governor-General Sir Henry Hardinge and two officers of the East India Company and for the Sikhs, by the seven-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh Bahadur and seven members of the Lahore Durbar acting on his behalf. The Governor-General of India received the Kohinoor,Timur Ruby, etc from Dr. John Login, in charge of the Toshakhana (Royal Treasury), Royal Fort, Lahore, under a proper receipt dated December 7,1849, in the presence of the members of the Board of Administration.

Timur Ruby.

Thus the British Crown became the permanent owner of the most famous (actually infamous) precious stones including large Timur Ruby which is actually a Spinel via the ‘The British East India Company,' a trading company established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600. This company, during their  misrule in India under the blessings of the British Crown, literally not only swindled India's rich Maharajas and Nawobs but also drove the Indian people to face abject poverty, dejection and  emancipation. The Timur Ruby and other precious stones left the shores of India for good from Bombay on the 6th of April, 1850 and formally handed over to  Queen Victoria in a ceremony held on July 3,1850, at Buckingham Palace by Sir J. W. Logg, Deputy Chairman of the East India Company, in the presence of Sir John Hobhouse. The Timur Ruby is now in  the private  collection of  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Timur Ruby was officially cataloged as a “short necklace of four very large Spinel rubies.”

Yet another infamous gemstone - the Timur Ruby (Spinel), was added to the Queen’s jewelry inventory, the other being the  Koh-I-Noor diamond.

Encyclopedia Britannica 2006.

Hughes, R.W - The Rubies and Spinels of Afghanistan.A brief history 2004.