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Tuesday, 8 July 2014
one of the most scintillating creations is Diamonds. They are truly a symbol of
breath taking beauty, rarity, durability and of never ending love.
sparkling beauties have traveled a long way in the history. When a diamond is
set into an ornament it is believed to be at least billions of years old.
Diamonds endure enormous pressure when they are being formed under the
structural layers of the Earth under precise conditions. If we look at the
chemical composition of diamonds they exist in the simplest forms of carbon but
they make the world’s biggest treasures.
this post we explore the journey of the world’s greatest diamond
Weight: 105.6 carats (21.6 grams
Cut: Oval brilliant
Current location: Tower of London
literally means the “mountain of light” in Persian. The first account of this
beauty is believed to be in the early Sanskrit script which goes back to almost
5000 years. It is speculated that it was mentioned as the syamantaka in
the texts. Hindus believe that this diamond was obtained by lord Krishna from
Jambvanth whose daughter he had married.
was discovered in the Golconda mines of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh,
India. The next reference dates back to 1304 where it was in the ownership of
Mahlak Deo, the Raja of Malwa. Mahlak Deo then lost it the Kakatiya dynasty and
then it further went on to the Lodhi dynasty.
to the memoirs of Mughal Emperor Babur, Babur Nama in 1526 when he invaded the
fort of Agra he acquired the diamond which then weighed around 186 carats. It
was presumably presented to him as peshkash or tribute by
Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi. Thereafter the gem was known as Babur’s Diamond.
exists an alternative theory regarding how the Kohinoor came to the Mughal
dynasty. It is believed that Mir Jumla a reputed diamond merchant from Persia,
who was employed by the ruler of Golconda, got into an alliance with the
ruler’s mother. To prevent a scandal he was sent to the mines where his fortune
took a turn and he acquired the prized diamond. Around 1656 he then presented
it to the then Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who got it set in his famous Peacock
Diamond for two centuries went into the hands of many rulers and subsequently
was inherited by Mohammed Shah, the corrupt Mughal Emperor. At this time the
strength of the great Mughal Dynasty was decreasing and in the skies of Persia
a new star was rising, Nadir Shah. By 1739 he had conquered Delhi and made
Mohammed Shah his prisoner and seized the crown jewels. But to his dismay he
could not find the diamond anywhere. On one fine day a lady informed him that
Mohammed Shah wore the magnificent diamond in the pleats of his turban. So
Nadir Shah invited him for a royal feat and in the course of his meals he
proposed an exchange of their turbans in the spirit of brotherhood. Seeing the
gem Shah exclaimed ‘Koh-I-Noor’ and that is how the famous diamond acquired its
1747 Nadir Shah was murdered in his sleep and then the diamond was inherited by
his grandson Shah Rukh Mirza. He then awarded it to Ahmad Abdali, his loyal
supporter. Abdali then went on to become the ruler of Afghanistan. After
several years his brother Shah Shuja escaped to Lahore due to war for his
brother’s throne. He took refuge with the Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh who
was known as the ‘Lion of Punjab’. Ranjit Singh in 1813 managed to take away
the diamond from him as a payment for the protection he was providing Shah
Shuja and his family.
ARMLET OF RANJIT SINGH
Ranjit Singh’s reign weak rulers reigned over Punjab. In 1843 Duleep Singh
became the new Maharaja, who was still a minor. In 1849 the British annexed
Punjab and included it in their empire. He then signed the Treaty of Lahore
which was brought to him by Lord Dalhousie, the British Governor General. The
treaty had a clause which stated that the Koh-I-Noor must be handed over to the
queen of England. In 1850, the East India Company presented Queen Victoria with
the celebrated diamond.
when the diamond was presented to the queen she and her reigning monarch,
Prince Albert was disappointed with the lack of brilliance of Koh-I-Noor. They
ordered the diamond to be re-cut. This difficult task was given
Voorzanger- the foremost cutter of the reputed Dutch firm Coster.
Unfortunately the re-cutting did not increase the brilliance greatly. However,
Queen wore the diamond for 5 years. In 1902 it was set in the Imperial Crown
for her daughter in law Queen Alexandra and again in Queen Mary’s crown in
QUEEN MARY'S CROWN
is said to be unlucky for male Emperors and in England has been worn only by
Queens. Its current weight is now estimated to be 105.602 carats.
of Koh-I-Noor is a controversial issue due to its unclear history. India after
attaining independence tried to claim the diamond, but in vain.
claims to be the owner of the celebrated Diamond and it is kept open for public
display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London as a symbol of British
journey is a reflection of its awe-inspiring beauty. It has seen the peaks and
valleys; betrayal, romance, loyalty & royalty. Although Koh-I-Noor accounts
to half of the entire World’s daily expenses and the fact that it was used by
some of the World’s most imposing historical figures makes it priceless.
*The Author is a Colored Stone Graduate from Gemological Institute of America, Mumbai and a Diamond Graduate from Solitaire Diamond Institute, Bangalore. She also holds a Diploma in Jewelry Designing & Manufacturing from Jewelry Product Development Centre, Jaipur. She also blogs at 'The Jewel Affair'