The ultimate guide to the world's greatest treasures.
Even the greatest treasures in the world could not protect monarchs from a destiny filled with plunder, murder and greed.
Crowns and scepters, headdresses forged out of gold and encrusted with precious jewels- these and other royal regalia have dazzled and awed men and women for centuries. The Koh-i-nor diamond, one of the world's largest, was believed to carry mystical powers. In the 19th century, the diamond was owned by an Indian ruler who was so wealthy he used the stone to decorate his horse. But soon after the ruler passed the diamond to his heir, a 5-year-old boy, the stone was lost. Today it rests in the Tower of London, embedded in the Queen Mother's State Crown.
In 1532, the Spanish conquistador Pizarro plundered Peru's legendary Inca kingdom for gold. But much of the riches never made it on board Pizarro's galleons-the Incas had hidden great caches of gold in caves throughout their kingdom. China's last empress, Tzu Hsi, coveted jade-her people believed that the gemstone contained special properties that would confer immortality upon its owner. Upon her death, Tzu Hsi was entombed with a hoard of jade. But soon after her death her royal burial, looters dynamited her tomb, obliterating her body and her beloved jade. Travel to China, Peru and India and find out how the vast wealth of great rulers has invited disaster, deceit and desecration.