The Strange Fate of India's Peacock Throne

Shah Jahan on the Peacock Throne, which was later stolen and carried to Persia

The Peacock Throne was a wonder to behold - a gilded platform, canopied in silk, and encrusted in precious jewels. It was built in the 17th century for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, pictured above, who also commissioned the Taj Mahal.

Among the hundreds of rubies, emeralds, pearls, and other jewels embedded in the Peacock Throne was the famed 186-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, which was later taken by the British.

Shah Jahan, his son Aurangzeb, and later Mughal rulers of India sat on the glorious seat until 1739, when Nader Shah of Persia sacked Delhi and stole the Peacock Throne.

In 1747, Nader Shah's body guards assassinated him, and Persia descended into chaos. The Peacock Throne ended up being chopped to pieces for its gold and jewels. Although the original was lost to history, some antiquities experts believe that the legs of the 1836 Qajar Throne, which was also called the Peacock Throne, might have been taken from the Mughal original. The 20th century Pahlavi dynasty in Iran also called their ceremonial seat "the Peacock Throne," continuing this pillaged tradition.

Mughal miniature of Shah Jahan seated on the Peacock Throne via Wikipedia.