When the British plundered the Lahore treasury, after they annexed Punjab in 1849, not only did they take the famous Kohinoor to England, they also took with them the most historic gem in India. Weighing a whopping 353.5 carats, the Timur Ruby traces back to the Turco-Mongol , Timur who invaded India in 1398 CE. The Mughals traced their lineage to Timur and no wonder then that his Ruby was a prized possession. In fact, if you asked them, it was far more valuable than the Kohinoor. The largest known ruby in the world at that time, the Timur Ruby was also the most historic. Today, in the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II of England the Timur Ruby has a fascinating history. Firstly it is not technically a ruby.
While popularly called Timur Ruby and considered to be a ruby till 1851, the gemstone is actually what geologists call a ‘spinel’. Rubies and spinels look exactly the same and have the similar structure and chemical compositions. The difference is that when light enters a ruby, it splits into two, while in a spinel, it remains a single ray. Though it is just a technicality, the Timur Spinel, is still popularly referred to as the Timur Ruby.
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