The Hastings Diamond, gift from the Nizam of Hyderabad, Deccan.India to King George III

Warren Hastings Gov. Gen. Ft. William, India

Above image: Warren Hastings (6 December 1732 -22 August 1818), an English statesman, was the first Governor of the Presidency of Fort William (Bengal), the head of the Supreme Council of Bengal, and thereby the first de facto Governor-General of India from 1774 to 1785. He was replaced by General Charles Cornwallis, the Earl Cornwallis; In 1787, he was accused of corruption and impeached in the House of Commons for crimes and misdemeanors during his time in India, especially for the alleged judicial killing of Maharajah Nandakumar but after a long trial, he was acquitted in 1795. He was made a 'Privy Counselor' in 1814. The house sat for a total of 148 days over a period of seven years during the investigation. The House of Lords finally made its decision on 24 April 1795, acquitting him on all charges.(  ...........................................................

World famous diamonds never fail to have  their own  fascinating history which may be replete with all kinds of  exciting events embodying romance, tragedy and weired adventures.  As these  expensive diamonds are symbolic of man's arrogance  and opulence, people normally take keen  interest in the weird stories related to the stones. None of them acquired a peculiar sensationalism as the Hastings diamond did. Its association with  Gov.Gen. Warren Hastings and his trial of financial irregularities had a ripple effect in the newspapers. It was a fodder for the caricaturists who had spun various funny caricatures involving the ruler of England and Hastings. No doubt, these cartoons kept a large section of English people agog.  For the first time, people  and the media realized the power of caricature and their impact on the public who wanted a break from the routine, dry newspaper reports. Since the royalty was involved in this case, it generated additional interest. The lampooning of the English ruler and the consequent laughter  burst at the seams. The English public had a jolly good time out of this unexpected development in the royal palace.
Above image: George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until  the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801; after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820.  He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover...................................... (
Have you ever heard of Hastings Diamond? Does the name sound weird? We have heard about many famous diamonds looted from India and the curses they carry and the purported tragedies they left behind in the course of their journey from one family to another. To many of you like me the Hastings diamond may sound strange. You may feel compelled to conclude that it was worn by  none other than Warren Hastings himself  who took charge of East India Company after the exit of Robert Clive, the man who was responsible for annexing Bengal in the 18th century Bengal in the 17th century. Warren Hastings was a good administrator  and liked India very much.

The Hastings Diamond is not as famous as those of sparkling diamonds such as Kohinoor, Orlov, Nassak, Arcot, etc. It  is a large. brilliant  Golconda diamond, weighing 101 carats. Named after the British Governor General of India, Warren Hastings (1732-1818), it was given to King George III  on 14 June 1786, as a gift of
Mir Nizam Ali Khan
Mir Nizam Ali Khan, the ruler of Hyderabad, Deccan. Hastings was the Gov.Gen. from 1773 to 1784.

 At that time when this impressive diamond was given to the king, Hastings was on trial facing charges of corruption and financial irregularities in the ESI operations in India. The impeachment of Hastings was in the advanced stage  at the trial in London.  With a view to getting out of this tangled  trial proceedings, Hastings was anxious to secure the favour of  king George III; This made him agree  to act as  a courier of this valuable diamond from the Indian ruler. He did nothing to deny  the general idea that the diamond was his personal gift to the King, rather than the Nizam’s.

Acquittal came about after a pretty long deliberations, arguments, counter arguments by the House of Lords  and the committee. The proceedings against Hastings assumed sensationalism in the English media when the charges of his indictment were read, the twenty counts took Edmund Burke two full days to read it.  Though wiggled out of the financial irregularities, the story of  the presentation of the diamond to the king became public. This unexpected publicity bonanza that was a special bonus to the scoop-hungry British media, put Hastings in a bind. It was construed in the press that the gift of diamond   by Hastings  was meant to get a favorable verdict. Put it simply, this diamond and other lesser diamonds were the  purchase price of Hastings' acquittal.  It  interesting to note that one observer of the trial, a man called Horace Wimpole, commented that “Innocence does not pave his way with diamonds. The favorable verdict ricocheted in the press, resulting in a plethora of  caricatures, showing the King as “The Great Stone Eater”, and ridiculing the King for his greed. The English king got a bad rap for no fault of his. So was Warren Hastings whose preoccupation with his trial failed to reveal the name of the person who gifted the stone. One caricature showing Hastings wheeling the king to market in a burrow saying '' What a man buys, he may sell again''. In another, the king was shown as kneeling with his mouth wide open, Hastings throwing diamonds into it!! Hastings messed with the king's name so badly that the ruler became the subject of the most scathing political satire of his time in cartoons and songs. The lampooning of the royal head kept the British  readership very busy - a fun to get respite from stressed life.
Hastings Diamond and king George III
Above image: George III was a popular subject of public ridicule. Here, the monarch is depicted sitting in latrine when Hearing is throwing diamond stones into his mouth.........................................

A couple of years earlier, England lost the American colonies and as the British monarch had been turned into a bozo in the matter of diamond handed over by Hastings, now he had to swallow  yet another public embarrassment.'

Streeter in his book The Great Diamonds of the World quotes Thomas Wright from his Caricature History of the Georges this ballad that was written in “honor” of the occasion:

''I'll sing you a song of a diamond so fine,
That eon in the Crown of our Monarch will shine;
Of its size and its value the whole country rings,
By Hastings bestowed on the best of all kings.
Derry down…...........

From India this jewel was lately brought o’er,
Though sunk in the sea, it was found on the shore,
And just in the nick to St. James’s it got,
Conveyed in a bag by the brave Major Scott,
Derry down''   ….................................

''Madam Schwellenberg peep’d thro’ the door at a chink,
And tipped on the diamond a sly German wink,
As much as to say, “Can we ever be cruel
To him who has sent us so glorious a jewel?”
Derry down…............................

Now God save the queen! While the people I teach,
How the king may grow rich, while the Commons impeach,
Then let nabobs go plunder and rob as they will,
And throw in their diamonds as grist to his mill.
Derry down…''

As of today, the whereabouts of this diamond is not known. Some jewellery historians speculate that the round brilliant cut diamond Tiara in the Westminster  is the Hastings Diamond. But, it weighs less than  30 carats, it is likely that Tiara is not the right candidate,