Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hampi Diamond trading history

HOW DID HAMPI LOOSE IT DIAMOND TRADING CHARM? Many of us wonder if Hampi was the diamond trading capital how did it loose out on its primacy. My research took me to culling out information from various sources.

The diamond district in ancient times was located in the basin of Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers known as Raichur ( doab area ) The ancient rocky surface dating back to 3600 millions old was rich in precious stones such as gold and diamond. As early as 500 B.C, diamonds were discovered in deccan plateau.

Another interesting lesser known fact is that Indian diamonds were considered to best in the world from the ancient times. Kings were the main patronisers, who gave lease for diamond mining in Vijaynagar empire. Mining rights were given to nobles, under the condition that all diamonds above 34 carats will be surrendered to the king immediately as royalty. The monarch used to deploy spies and stooges in the mines to report discovery un-officially.

Van Linschoten, a Dutchman comments on Bisnagar ( Vijaynagar mis spelt) system of diamond lease, “ If anie man bee found that hideth anie such, he looses both life and goodes “ Forgotton Empire quote In this manner royalty ensured they had the possession of all the precious stone discovered, lesser carat diamonds were sold in the open market of Vijaynagar. The royalty used the diamonds for jewellery, rewarding loyal subjects, purchasing horses and weapons. Some of the finest diamonds were gifted to courtesans for their services rendered They adorned it as rings and necklaces depending on their patrons. It also ended the misery of courtesans, who committed suicide when they became old and unwanted. No wonder diamonds are classified as women’s best friend.

The Vijaynagar empire bought exclusive rights for trading in horses from the Portuguese after paying them a huge royalty. In turn for the finest horses and guns they gave them liberal trading terms on spices, sandalwood and precious stones. This helped the Vijaynagar ruler Krishnadevaraya to conquer most of the spice growing belt and trading harbours inorder to hold monopoly over all the produce exported from India.

Kohinoor diamond is fabled for its curse, was discovered in Golconda mines. It originally weighed more than 300 carats. It was later refined and cut to its present size of 240 carats. The british queen came to possess the prized jewel from East India company, who had in turn seized it from Maharaja of Patiala. Earlier Nadir used the turban trick exchange to take possession of Kohinoor “ meaning mountain of light”. Kohinoor has bought bad luck to all the men who possessed it in a gradual manner. Fable has it that only women can possess this diamond, without much adulation and grandeur. It should be worn occasionally, the british monarchy was aware of these facts. Only Queen Victoria & Elizabeth have lived long enough to escape its curse. The discovery of Brazilian diamonds changed the scenario in 1726. These diamonds were of slightly inferior variety, Portuguese traders bought it to GOA and started trading them in European markets as Indian diamonds. The discovery of Kimberly diamonds changed the equation in 1866. DE BEER’s cartelized diamond trading to reign in prices.

Battle of Talikota in 1565 totally destroyed the diamond trading centre of  Hampi, all the wealth accumulated was quickly disbursed to different parts of the country by the Vijaynagar emperor, rest of the wealth was plundered by the Bahamani sultans.  Unfortunately India lost the glory of trading diamonds and precious stones to foreign countries particularly Belgium and South Africa.

The EAST INDIA COMPANY, started systematically taking possession of all the treasures by paying some royalty to the earstwhile kings. In fact when Robert Clive was recalled from India as Governor General he remarked in his impeachment trial “ There was so much to take from India, I regret that I have taken so miniscule “ DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, without the treasures Hampi still manages to attract, tourists from all over the globe for its grandeur. Maybe someday someone may still manage to discover the hidden treasures of HAMPI on the rocks. More and more tourists try to re-live the era of Vijaynagar empire by witnessing Hampi Utsav.

ACK : Picture from Cultured diamond & wedding diamonds


BE THE GEEK said...

very informative post, umeshji. I didnt know Kohinoor diamond was cursed. thank you for the imformation.

magiceye said...

that was very interesting

Richa said...

Great information and story. Atleast, India is still the capital for polishing and cutting the diamonds in Surat!

SUB said...

very informative...liked it...

magiceye said...

very interesting

chidananda M R said...

hello sir, i want hunt hidden treasure in Hampi and Madugiri betta. i want financial support. i collecting info from history, i collected already lot of info about treasure. my life aim is hunt that hampi treasure.

i need supporters in all the way. i will come to bangalore. i am from tumkur. chidananda M R.

anyone please support me.

cal me 9980543775 / 9141288253

chidananda M R said...

hello sir, i want hunt hidden treasure in Hampi and Madugiri betta. i want financial support. i collecting info from history, i collected already lot of info about treasure. my life aim is hunt that hampi treasure.

i need supporters in all the way. i am from tumkur, near bangalore. chidananda M R.

anyone please support me.

cal me 9980543775 / 9141288253

Deguide said...

Chidananda, i believe your aim to hunt treasures maybe be short lived, since foreigners are now in the process of cleaning up Hampi, in the bargain they might discover some hidden treasures if any. Why do you require financial support beats me, when you are hunting for treasure, it has to be physical effort, catch a passenger train to Hampi it will not cost more than Rs 50 to Hampi. Stay in Ashram

amalesh debbarma said...

Ok I have read your propuse and me too intrested in treasure hunting so pls cal me my no 8796664110

praveen jewels said...

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