Kohinoor (diamond)

The KohiNoor is a 108- carat (21.6 grams) diamond in its most recent cut, which was once one of the largest diamonds in the world. It was appropriated by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom .

The name of the jewel, “koj i nur” means mountain of light in Urdu and Persian .


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  • 1 Story
    • 1 Disenchantment
    • 2 The curse
  • 2 The jewel’s destiny
  • 3 See also
  • 4 Sources


It is impossible to know exactly when or where it was found, and there are many hypotheses not entirely verifiable as to their original owner.

Hinduists believe that this diamond (the largest in India) would have been the famous Syamantaka jewel , which was given to Yambavan by the god-king Krishna , the father of one of his 13,108 wives.

Possibly the diamond was mined at the time of the Delhi Sultanate at the Kollur mine, [1] on the banks of the Krishna (‘black river’) river, in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh , some 80 km northwest of the city of Guntur , 1800 km south of New Delhi .

The first historical mention is from Emperor Babur (1483-1530) of the Mughal dynasty . He mentions that he owns a famous diamond

which was owned by the Kakatiya kings. The Khilji dynasty of Delhi ended in the year 1320, and Ghiyas ud din Tughluq Shah I ascended the throne of Delhi. Tughluq sent his commander Ulugh Khan in 1323 to defeat King Kakatiya Prataparudra.

The first documentary reference that historians consider most valid dates from 1304, when it was in the hands of the Rajah of Malwa in India. Two centuries later, diamond and India were conquered by Emperor Babur , a sultan who founded the Mongol dynasty in the region. During the Mongol dynasty, the Koinur was passed from hand to hand, including Sha Jahán , the builder of the Taj Mahal , who displayed it on his famous peacock-shaped throne.

In 1739, when Sha Nadir conquered Agra and Delhi , he took the complete throne with the diamond to his palace in Persia . It is said that it was the Sha Nadir who baptized him with his current name, exclaiming upon seeing him: “Koinur!” (‘mountain of light’). The gem remained with the Sha Nadir until 1747 when he was assassinated, sparking fierce diamond disputes among his successors.

The next winner was Sha Ahmed Abdali from Afghanistan . But in 1813 his successor Shuja was deposed in Kabul , although he managed to escape with the Kohinoor. Perhaps in exchange for protection, he gave it to the Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore .

The Koinur diamond changed ownership countless times throughout history, although it was never sold but inherited or appropriated by force. The last change of hand was on April 6, 1850, when he left on a ship from the East India Company from Bombay to London where he was delivered to Queen Victoria . A year earlier, the British flag had been raised at the Lahore Citadel in a ceremony celebrating the Punjab region’s incorporation into the British Empire. One of the terms of the Lahore Treaty, which formalized the occupation, stated that “the gem called Kohinoor will be granted by theMaharajah from Lahore to the Queen of England ”.


Despite the Koinur’s fame and long history, the queen was surprised when she saw that the world’s largest diamond was rudimentaryly cut and lacked the brilliance that was to be expected. The rest of the royal family agreed on the findings, so a famous Amsterdam jeweler was called in to finish the job.

Of its original 186 carats (37.21 grams), it was reduced to 106 carats, 42 percent less. The carving cost £ 8,000  at the time, and the Koinur became oval in shape. The restless fate of the ancient stone determined that it would end up first in a diadem, and later in the center of the successive crowns of queens Alexandra and Mary, until in 1936 it was embedded in the center of a Maltese cross together with 2000 diamonds, which decorates the crown of Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (b. 1926).

The curse

This precious jewel hides behind its beauty a curse which is reflected in a Hindu proverb from the beginning of the 20th century, which reads as follows:

Whoever owns this diamond will own the world but will also know its misfortunes. Only a god or a woman can use it with impunity.

This diamond has been highly coveted by very powerful men who believed that having this gem in their possession would reign in the world.

There is a legend that tells that in 1738, after the invasion of New Delhi in India, the Shah of Persia , Nadir , planned to appropriate the diamond. Nadir knew that the Indian Emperor Mohamed was hiding the diamond in his turban and proposed to him to exchange his turbans (an ancient Eastern custom as a symbol of brotherhood and that a denial of exchange was considered an offense). When Nadir unwrapped the turban and found the stone, he took it to Persia where it remained until 1813. It was too easy for him to make such a magnificent jewel.

The Indians recovered the diamond. But in 1849, when the British invaded the state of Punjab (present Pakistan), the diamond was in Lajore (current capital of Pakistan), and fell into the hands of the East India Co . of the British Empire, as partial compensation for the Sikh wars . In 1850 it became an offering to Queen Victoria as it commemorated the company’s 250th anniversary. To this day, the KohiNoor is still in the possession of the British. Since the 14th century , this diamond carries with it a chain of murder and betrayal. Sha Nadir was killed (after getting the diamond) 8 years later.

The destination of the jewel

Today, the Kohinoor is the brightest jewel in the British crown, and can be seen by any world traveler, noble or commoner, in a dim room of the Tower of London , inside an armored display case. Until almost a century ago, it was the largest diamond in the world, the most famous jewel, and indeed very beautiful. But seeing her one can’t help but look at Queen Victoria’s disappointed expression when she first saw her.


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