Koh-I-Noor, a hidden story of one of the most famous diamonds
The Koh-I-Noor, or “Mountain of Light” in Persian, is one of the world’s most famous diamonds. The diamond weighted 186 carats and has been re-cut in 1852 to its present weight of 108, 93 carats. According to Indian Legend, its origin dates back some 5.000 years to ancient India.
Formerly it was generally accepted that the Koh-I-Noor was the same gemstone which has been in the possession of the Sultan Baber (1480-1530), who was the founder of the Mughal Empire in India. The diamond was first known as the “Barber’s Diamond”, inherited by his son, Humayun and later given to Shah Jehan, the Mughal Emperor of India.
However, recent research revealed that the “Barber’s Diamond” was different from the Koh-I-Noor. The latter was probably the former “Great Mogul Diamond”, which was discovered around 1655 in the Kollur Mine in Golconda. The diamond, possessed by Mir Jumla of Golconda, was presented around 1656 to Shah Jehan. His son, Aurangzeb, Emperor of Hindustan showed probably the diamond to Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who was the famous French traveller and diamond merchant. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier made different sketches of the diamonds he could admire during his travelling trips to the East.
In 1739, the Persian King, Nadir Shah invaded India and the Mughal Empire. After sacking Delhi, he carried off even the original Peacock Throne and … the famous diamond to Isfahan (Iran). The diamond probably received than the name of Koh-I-Nur. His grandson, Shah Rukh Mirza gave it in 1747, in gratitude for military support to the ruler of Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah. The diamond was taken to Kabul until his brother gave the Koh-I-Nur to the Sikh ruler of Punjab, Ranjit Singh in 1813 and this in return of military aid.
After the Second Sikh War around 1848, Lahore, the capital of the Sikhs was annexed by the British. The East Indian Company brought the diamond to England, where it was presented to Queen Victoria as a personal gift and to celebrate the Company’s 250th anniversary. Initially the diamond has been cut by an Indian lapidary and weighted 186 carats. In 1852, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, ordered to cut the stone in London by the Amsterdam cutter Voorsanger, who reduced the diamond to 108, 93 carats. The Koh-I-Noor has been worn by Queen Victoria as a brooch and in a bracelet. Later the diamond was set in the coronation crown for Queen Alexandra in 1902 and Queen Mary in 1911. Now the Koh-I-Noor is set in the Cross Formé of the crown made for Queen Elisabeth (Queen Mother), who wore it at her coronation in 1937.
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