The story of the Agra Diamond begins in 1526 when Babur the first Mogul emperor (1483-1530) took possession of Agra after defeating the Rajah of Gwailor in battle. Babur was the son of Omar Sheik, King of Ferghana (now Turkestan), his real name was Zahir al-Din Muhammed, but he was given the name Babur, meaning 'the tiger.' He was both a brilliant soldier and scholar, determined to become absolute ruler in India. After his success on the battlefield, Babur sent his son and successor, Humayun, to occupy Agra, a feat he duly accomplished in the process capturing members of the family of the slain Raja. Their lives were spared. It is said that as an expression of their gratitude they presented their captors with jewels and precious stones. Since it is recorded that Babur wore the Agra Diamond in his turban, the stone was probably one of those jewels.
It is likely that the Agra remained in the ownership of following Mogul emperors because Akbar (1556-1605), the 3rd emperor, was said to have worn the diamond in his headdress and Aurangzeb (1658-1707) had the stone safely lodged in his treasury. Later the Agra may have been among the loot captured by the Persian, Nadir Shah, when he sacked Delhi in 1739. If that were so, then it must have been among the jewels recaptured when Nadir Shah encountered difficulties during the homeward journey because the diamond returned to India.
The story of how the pink diamond thought to have been the Agra, left India was sold to Edwin Streeter, the famous London jeweler and author, by the fifth Marquess of Donegall in 1896. Lord Donegall stated that in 1857, the year of the Indian Mutiny, while he was serving in India, the diamond was taken from the ruler of Delhi. At the time he was secretary, and belonged to the same regiment as the young officer who had gained possession of the stone.
The officers decided to smuggle the diamond home to England rather than give it up, and share the proceeds, but the question arose as to how to get it there. Nobody seemed to be able to suggest a way that would prove successful until the evening before the departure of the regiment. During the course of the dinner the youngest subaltern suddenly jumped to his feet and said "I have it. We will conceal the diamond in a horse ball and make the horse swallow it." The plan met with general approval. A ball was secured, the inside scooped out, the diamond inserted and the end stopped up. Finally the animal was made to swallow it. When the regiment reached the port of embarkment, the horse was taken ill and had to be shot. The diamond was then removed from its stomach and taken to England.
There seems to be no reason to dispute the truth of these events, what would be the purpose of creating them? However there is reason to cast doubt upon the date it is said the events took place. It is known that by 1844 the Agra was already in the possession of Charles, Duke of Brunswick, one of the great jewel collectors of the 1800's, the man for whom the Brunswick Blue Diamond is named. The Duke of Brunswick paid 348,600 French francs (equal to about £13,670), a high price, for the Agra Diamond on November 22nd, 1844, to Blogg, a name which appears in the 1860 catalogue of the Duke's jewel collection. The person was most definitely George Blogg, a partner in Blogg & Martin, a well-known firm of diamond merchants in London at that time. In addition the Duke bought three other diamonds from Blogg that same day and had previously bought four more from the same source on November 8th. A note in the catalogue specifically drew specifically mentioned the diamond having been taken by Babur in Agra in 1526 and to its rank as being equal to 14th in importance among the world's great diamonds... more