The Koh-i-Noor diamond (also Koh-i-Noor or Koh-i-Noor) is one of the largest and most famous cut diamonds in the world. It was probably found in South India (from the Golconda mine) between 1100 and 1300. The name of the stone is Persian meaning ‘mountain of light’ and refers to its astonishing size – originally 186 carats (today 105.6).
Story of Koh-i-Noor Diamond
Over its long history, this diamond has changed hands several times, almost always in the possession of male rulers. Like many great gems, the Kohinoor has earned a reputation for secrets, curses, and misfortunes, not only that, it is said that only a female owner can escape the aura of her bad omen. The stone is claimed by both India and Pakistan, but for the time being the Kohinoor is irresistible to its current owners, the British royal family.
Discovery and Early Ownership
The early history of the Kohinoor is not as clear as the stone interiors. Diamonds may also be mentioned in Sanskrit texts from Mesopotamia dating back to the 4th millennium BC, but scholars do not agree on this.
One of the problems with the history of the Kohinoor is that it is tempted to recognize it as any large diamond described in ancient texts relating to events in the Indian subcontinent. The more traditional view is that the diamond was most commonly found in the Golconda mines of the Deccan between 1100 and 1300, although its first appearance in written records relates to Babur (1483–1530), the founder and descendant of the Mughal Empire.
Mongol emperor Genghis Khan (AD 1162/67-1227). The diamond is mentioned in the Memoirs of the Mughal Emperor, which he wrote in 1526, and was probably obtained as spoils of war, a fate that would endure many times over its long history and association with rulers. . , Babur described the stone as “half of the daily expenditure of the whole world”.
An alternative view is that Babur was talking about another diamond and it was actually his son and successor who received it as a gift from the Raja of Gwalior (a kingdom in central India) after his victory at the First Battle of Panipat. as received. as received. Kohinoor was received.
In 1526, whatever is true of these versions of events, the result is the same, the Mughal royal family was now in possession of this diamond, and they mesmerized the visitors of their court by setting them on their Peacock Throne. A third approach, again with the same result, it was not until the middle of the 17th century that the Mughal emperors acquired this precious stone after its discovery in the Kollur mines of the Krishna River.
Nadir Shah and the ‘Mountain of Light’ (Kohinoor)
We find a solid foundation in the eighteenth century to trace the history of this precious stone. When the Persian ruler Nadir Shah (1698–1747) invaded and captured Delhi in 1739, he managed to achieve it despite the Mughal emperor trying to hide in his turban.
When he first saw the stone, Nader Shar described it as the Kohinoor or ‘mountain of light’, and the name has stuck ever since. When Nadir Shah died in 1747, his chief was General Ahmed Shah (1722-1772 AD).
Durrani eventually lost his grip on power, and Shah Shuja (1785–1842) had to flee to India in 1813 when he presented the diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839), the ruler of Punjab. Maharaja Duleep Singh (1838–1893) inherited it when he was only five years old, but was to be the last ruler of Punjab and the Sikh Empire, as the British Empire’s tents were spread across northern India.
The British-backed East India Company was the next owner of the diamond after it took over the Punjab region in 1849 CE. The peace treaty ending the Anglo-Sikh Wars (1845–49) specified that the stone was to be given to Queen Victoria (1837–1901 AD).
Heera was then shipped from Mumbai (then Bombay) on HMS Medea to Portsmouth, England. The stone arrived safely and was presented to the Queen in July 1850 at a special ceremony in London. The Kohinoor was the central stone of a trio of diamonds set in gold and enamel armlets or weapons. on the upper arm. According to legend, the stone was accompanied by a note reminding them of their curse:
He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God or woman can wear it with impunity.
The curse story may have originated with a sensationalist news story in the Delhi Gazette which was then taken up by the Illustrated London News. The press in England was eager to add hype for the soon-to-open and already much-anticipated Great Exhibition in London in 1851 where it was already rumored the diamond would be displayed to the public.
The queen was said to have been impressed with the size of the stone, remarking that it was “indeed a proud trophy” (Dixon-Smith, 50). She was, however, a little dissatisfied with the lack of sparkle of its ‘rose’ cut when the fashion in Europe at the time was for multi-faceted gems and there was a distinct preference for sparkle over sheer size. Nevertheless, the stone was a star attraction at the Great Exhibition, even if the satirical magazine Punch described the dullish stone as a “Mountain of Darkness” (Tarshis, 142).
The queen had also worn it at the opening ceremony of the exhibition. Then, after consultation with the queen, her husband Prince Albert (l. 1819-1861), and the noted optics expert Sir David Brewster, the stone was reworked in 1852 under the direction of the royal jewelers Robert Garrard of London. The Duke of Wellington was given the honor of making the first cut, and he then stepped aside for two Dutch diamond experts to work their magic: Voorsanger and Fedder.
The reworking, which took some 450 hours to complete, gave the stone more facets as an oval-cut brilliant and dramatically reduced the weight from 186 to 105.6 carats. The stone measures 3.6 x 3.2 x 1.3 centimetres. Although now significantly smaller, the recutting did remove several flaws and made the stone much more suitable for wearing as a brooch, which the queen preferred.
A famous painting of Victoria by Franz Xaver Winterhalter was commissioned in 1856, and it shows her wearing a brooch that had once belonged to Queen Adelaide (l. 1792-1849) now set with the Koh-i-Noor. This new setting was a work once again carried out by Garrard’s jewelers. On other occasions, Victoria wore the stone as part of either a bracelet or circlet for the head.
The British Crown Jewels
Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the Koh-i-Noor diamond has appeared in several crowns but because of its reputation as a bringer of bad luck for male wearers, it has only ever been set in the crowns of queen consorts. It was worn in the crown of Queen Alexandra (l. 1844-1925) for her coronation in 1902 and was reset in a new crown for the coronation of Queen Mary (l. 1867-1953) in 1911. Today, the diamond sparkles in the center of the band of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (l. 1900-2002), the late mother of the present queen, Elizabeth II (r. 1952-). The Queen Mother wore this crown at her coronation in 1937.
The diamond is set in a detachable mount made of platinum, the same material the rest of the crown is made from. The crown is set with another 2,800 diamonds, including the 17-carat diamond given to Queen Victoria by the Sultan of Turkey in gratitude for help during the Crimean War (1853-56). Although this square-cut stone is impressive in its own right, it is dwarfed by the massive Koh-i-Noor set directly above it. The Queen Mother wore this crown at the State Opening of Parliament each year and at the coronation of her daughter Elizabeth II in 1953. The crown and the Koh-i-Noor can be seen today alongside other items of the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House inside the Waterloo Barracks of the Tower of London.
International Calls for a Return
There have been repeated calls from the Indian government for the return of the Koh-i-Noor to its homeland. The first such request came in 1947 as the stone became a symbol of the country’s independence from British rule, which had been achieved in the same year.
Another player entered the debate in 1976 when the prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, called for the return of the stone to his country. Iran and Afghanistan have also laid claim to the gemstone. The calls for the Koh-i-Noor’s return to the subcontinent have by no means died down, and in 2015, a group of Indian investors even launched a legal process to have the diamond returned. As of today, though, the British royal family remains reluctant to part with this most famous and desirable of diamonds.