The Koh-i-Noor Diamond

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6ct.

Koh-i-Noor means “Mountain of Light” from Persian, and it was said that it originated from the Kollur mines in Guntur district in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India,

It used to belong to various fractions of Hindu, Mughal, Persian, Afghan, Sikh and the colonist British who fought bitterly over it at various points in history and seized it as a spoil of war time and time again. 

The possibility of a curse pertaining to ownership of the diamond dates back to a Hindu text relating to the first authenticated appearance of the diamond in 1306: “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”

The origin of the diamond is unclear, although several rumors existed.

Hindu legends dated the Koh-i-Noor diamond back to 5000 years when the ancient maharajahs who owned it successively believed that the ‘giant gem’, was endowed with great magical powers.  Its original Hindu name was Semantik Mani but it was renamed in 1739 by the Persian emperor Nadir Shah as the Koh-i-Noor or Mountain of Light.

Nadir Shah was murdered and the Koh-i-Noor diamond was passed on from one Muslim ruler to another until in 1813, it was wrested out of Muslim hands into the possession of the Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh, also known as the Lion of Punjab.  After Ranjit Singh’s death, the Punjab was annexed by the British East India Company which later presented it to Queen Victoria.

Three queens of England have worn it and no British King had ever worn it before.

Today the Koh-i-Noor diamond sits peacefully in the crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in the Jewel House in the Tower of London where it is viewed by millions of people.

Photo Credit: time.com, indiatoday.in, smithsonianmag.com, reuters.com

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