History of Mahjal Diamond
It is believed that during one of the frequent visits of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh to Paris, the Mahjal Diamond was purchased by him. This visit marked the end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th century. Most of the diamonds mined in South Africa found their way to the European capital cities, during this period. This belief is based on the assumption that the Maharaja probably received his education in France and could speak French. His palace was furnished with imported French furniture and fittings. He even employed French servants in his palace and was devoted Francophile. Jagatjit Singh was the owner of a large number of turban clips, one of which was made of 3,000 diamonds and pearls. He wore these clips in the plaits of his turbans. The Mahjal was one of the many stunning gems that garlanded this colourful person. There is no uncertainty relating to the Mahjal and it was the perfect companion for the maharaja's beloved golden topaz, reputed to be one of the biggest in the world.
In 1983, Christie's Geneva sold the Mahjal diamond to an anonymous buyer for a record price of 1.32 million Swiss francs. This buyer modified the shape of Mahjal. More specifically, he got the diamond slightly re-cut and re-named it Algeiba Star. The name Algeiba is derived from the Arabic word ‘Al-Jubbah’, meaning the ‘forehead’. The Algeiba Star also known as Gamma Leonis is one of the finest double stars of the night sky. It is situated in the ‘Sickle of Leo’, which is the part of the constellation Leo that represents the lion's mane. It is important to note that the present whereabouts of this diamond is unknown.
Characteristics of Mahjal Diamond
In general, any diamond is made of carbon, has a crystal structure and is extremely pure. Tiny proportions of other elements, interspersed within the carbon are generally called impurities in the diamond, but these are so small in size that they are undetectable even under a very powerful microscope. More specifically, the Mahjal Diamond is golden yellow, magnificent and rare. Originally, the Mahjal diamond weighted 139.38-carat, but later when the diamond was slightly re-cut, it weighted 133.3 carats.
Diamonds are scientifically categorized into 4 Types-1a, 1b, 2a and 2b. It has been estimated that 98 % of all natural diamonds are Type 1a. Less than 0.1% of diamonds belong to Type 1b category and the Mahjal diamond is one of them. In this diamond the nitrogen atoms are evenly spread out throughout the carbon lattice. These diamonds absorb green light as well as blue light, and have a darker colour than type 1a diamonds. Depending on the precise concentration and spread of the nitrogen atoms, these diamonds can appear deep yellow ("canary"), orange, brown or greenish. Therefore, the intense yellow colour of the Mahjal diamond is caused by the nitrogen atoms scattered in the crystal. When the nitrogen atoms absorb visible light in the blue region of the spectrum, it causes the complementary colour yellow to appear. It is also important to note, that if the nitrogen atoms were distributed as groups of atoms, the colour imparted will be pale to medium yellow, as in case of Type 1a diamonds. The Algeiba Star is ranked 12th in the list of famous yellow diamonds that weigh more than 100 carats.
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