The Koh-i-Noor diamond - the name that takes us back to a long history of pre-partitioned colonized India. There has always been an unquenchable thirst to unravel various secrets about this diamond which travelled all the way from an Indian diamond mine during the time of colonised India to the throne of the British Empress, Queen Victoria.
Here are some intriguing facts about this amazing Koh-i-Noor diamond that will surely add to your knowledge bank.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond was found in a Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh. This mine was located in the Golconda region. It was during the reign of the Kakatiya dynasty that ruled most of Deccan India during the 12th to 14th Centuries.
The Kakatiya dynasty could not retain its hold on the Koh-i-Noor diamond for long because Alauddin Khilji of the Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate looted it. This happened when Alauddin Khilji invaded Southern India in the 14th Century and overpowered the Kakatiya rulers.
Even though the Koh-i-Noor diamond was mined from India, it was named so by the Persian general Nadir Shah in 1739.
In the Persian language, Koh-i-Noor means the mountain of light.
Koh-i-Noor diamond was the most prominent and expensive gem in the Peacock Throne, the bejewelled throne of the Mughal emperors who ruled India during the reign of Shah Jahan.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond first left the Indian borders when Nadir Shah stripped it from the Peacock Throne and took it to Iran along with other treasures of the Mughal Dynasty.
Nadir Shah gifted the Koh-i-Noor diamond to Ahmad Shah Abdali, his loyal Afghan general. Abdali wore it in his bracelet and left for Khandahar with it after some time when Nadir Shah was murdered.
The Maharaja of Punjab, Ranjit Singh brought the Koh-i-Noor diamond back to India from Ahmad Shah Abdali.
Ranjit Singh made a will on his deathbed indicating that the Koh-i-Noor diamond must be handed over to the Jagannath Temple of Puri after his death.
In 1849, India’s pride Koh-I-Noor finally left the country’s periphery forever. It happened when the defeated Sikh ruler of Punjab, Duleep Singh, the son of Ranjit Singh, was ordered by the-then governor general of India, Lord Dalhousie to hand the diamond
it over to Queen Victoria.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond initially weighed 793 carats when it was mined. But it was subjected to various sessions of cuttings and shapings. As a result, it became 105 carats.
The Koh-I Noor diamond was first cut by Levie Benjamin Voorzanger in 1852 and put in the crown of Queen Victoria. During this time, the diamond weighed 108.93 carats.
After the death of Queen Victoria, the diamond was cut again and set in the crown of Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward VII. The diamond was cut further as it was set in the crowns of Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.
The Koh-I Noor is on display at present at the Tower of London in the UK.
In 2016, the Government of India reported to the Supreme Court that legally it cannot demand the UK to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond. The reason for this is, the diamond was not stolen. Instead, it was given to the British government as a gift by Maharaja Duleep Singh.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond is believed to be cursed. It is believed that any male ruler who owns it either loses his kingdom or his life.
The ‘priceless’ Koh-I-Noor’s value isn’t exactly known, but it is estimated to be worth €140 to €400 million.
Compiled and Written by
Ms. Apara Bhattacharya
Kolkatta Bureau Chief
Ms. Shail Raghuvanshi