Famous Diamonds

The Koh-I-Nur Diamond

The Koh-I-Nur diamond means "Mountain of Light". Its history dates back to 1304 and has the longest history of all the famous diamonds. Currently, the weight of the diamond is 105.602 carats. This diamond also is said to be cursed.

Koh-I-Nur belonged to various rulers. It orignated in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India, just like its double Darya-I-Nur. The diamond's history first starts out with the property of Kakatiya kings and the Khilji dynasty in Delhi with the stone being set as a Goddess's eye in a temple. When this dynasty ended, the stone was taken as a part of a bounty. From this time, the stone was in the hands of various rulers.

It was captured by the Rajahs of Malwa in the sixteenth century by the Mogul, Sultan Babur and remained in the possession of later Mogal emperors. The stone was believed to be set in the famous Peacock Throne made for Shah Jehan, who was famous for building the Taj Mahal. His son, Aurangazeb, apparently imprisoned his father and mounted the stone near a window that allowed Jehan to look at the stone and see the reflection of the Taj Mahal.

The Koh-I-Nur stayed in possession of Aurangazeb until the invasion of Nadir Shah. There the diamond was taken, along with the Peacock Throne to Persia in 1739. At this time, Nadir Shah named the diamond "Koh-I-Nur". When Nadir Shah was assassinated the diamond fell into the hands of another ruler who took the stone to Afghanistan and later offered to Ranjit Singh of the Punjab in exchange for miltary help (which was never delivered). The Koh I Nur Diamond Crown After fighting broke out between the Sikhs and the British, the East india Company claimed the diamond as a partial indemnity. Singh's young successor was presented the Koh-I-Nur to later present it to Queen Victoria in 1850. When the stone came from India, it weight approximately 186 carats. In 1852, Prince Albert took the liberty of recutting the stone to its current 105.602 carats. It was first worn by the Queen in a brooch.

After Queen Victoria passed, the stone was set into a State Crown, which was worn by Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary. In 1937, Queen Elizabeth wore the crown during her coronation. Since then the stone has been kept in the Tower of London with other Crown Jewels.

Not only does the Koh-I-Nur have a long history, but there are legends and curses surrounding the stone. It was believed to carry a curse but only to men who wear the diamond. The curse does not work when it is worn by women. It comes from a Hindu text that states "He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know its misfortunes. Only God or a woman can wear it with impunity." Legends states that men who wear the stone have either had misfortunes or lost their throne. And history shows that all men who have worn the stone have had tragedy fall on them. Legend also states that if the monarch is a male, the stone is passed to his spouse.

Currently, India claims the stone was taken illegally and should be given back. However, the British stated it would make no sense to give the stone back because if they were to give back that stone then the British Museum would be empty. View More