10 things to know about the Koh-i-Noor and why India wants it back

DailyBiteJul 29, 2015 | 16:31

10 things to know about the Koh-i-Noor and why India wants it back

What's not to love about a stunning piece of twinkling glass that is better known as one of the world's biggest and most expensive diamonds? Ten historic facts that trace the journey of the incredible Kohinoor diamond as it travelled from one ruler to another, before finally finding its current place of rest, among the Crown Jewels in London.

1. The diamond was supposedly mined in India in the Golconda region of Andhra Pradesh during the rule of the then Kakatiya dynasty. When first mined, it was said to be an incredible 793 carats.


2. The Persian ruler Nadir Shah who invaded the Mughals in 1739, got hold of the Kohinoor from its then owner Mohammed Shah, a Mughal ruler. It was he who is supposed to have given it its name, the Kohinoor, or mountain of light.

3. It travelled back to Iran with him but he was assassinated soon after. His son Ahmad Shah Abdali had the Kohinoor in his possession but there was a lot of infighting within his family and one of his grandsons, Shah Shuja, escaped to Punjab and asked the then king Ranjit Singh to help him.

4. The Kohinoor was reluctantly handed over to Ranjit Singh by Shah Shuja in 1800 for his help and remained with him till his death next three decades.

5. After the second Anglo-Sikh war in 1849, the British, under Lord Dalhousie, confiscated all the property of this Sikh empire, including the Kohinoor. The diamond then made its journey to Britain in 1850, where it has remained since.

6. It was handed over to Queen Victoria in 1850, who was in awe of it but felt it lacked the lustre it was supposed to have. She decided to have it re-cut and re-shaped in 1852, bringing its size down to 108 carats.


7. Since the early 1900s, the magnificent jewel has found place of pride in all crowns worn by the women rulers of Britain, including the late Queen Mother, who wore it at the coronation of George VI in 1937 and her daughter's coronation in 1953.

8. From its early days, there has been a curse associated with the diamond and a text from then states that male owners of the diamond stand to be cursed. It goes on to add that, "Only God or a woman can wear it with impunity."

9. The diamond has been in Britain for over 150 years, in possession of British monarchy, and can be viewed as part of the prestigious Crown Jewels collection housed in the Tower of London.

10. Over this time, both India and Pakistan have brought up the issue of the Kohinoor's return to its rightful owner (each country believes it belongs to them) but Britain is not interested in handing the Kohinoor over and has no plans of returning the diamond it feels it acquired through war.

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Last updated: April 18, 2016 | 12:39
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