History of Kohinoor Diamond
Kohinoor is one of the oldest and most famous diamonds in the world. The
history of the Kohinoor goes back in history to more than 5000 years ago. The
current name of the diamond, Koh-i-noor is in Persian and means “Mountain of
Light”. Below you will find a timeline of this priceless diamond.
is believed that the diamond was first mentioned more than 5000 years ago in a
Sanskrit script, where it was called the Syamantaka.
is worth mentioning that there is only speculation that the Syamantaka and the
Kohinoor are the same diamond. After this first written mention, for over 4,000
years the diamond is not mentioned.
until 1304 the diamond was in the possession of the Rajas of Malwa, but back
then, the diamond was still not named Kohinoor. In 1304, it belonged to the
Emperor of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji.
1339, the diamond was taken back to the city of Samarkand, where it stayed for
almost 300 years. In 1306 in a Hindi writing, a curse is placed on the men who
will wear the diamond: “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will
also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with
1526 the Mogul ruler Babur mentions the diamond in his writings, Baburmama.
diamond was gifted to him by the Sultan Ibrahim Lodi.
was the one who described the diamond’s value equal to half-day production
costs of the world.
of the descendants of Babur, Aurangzeb , protected the diamond diligently and
passed it on to his heirs.
the grandson of Aurangzeb, however, was not a fear-inspiring and great ruler
like his grandfather.
Persian general Nadir Shah went to India in 1739. He wanted to conquer the
throne, which had been weakened during the reign of Sultan Mahamad. The Sultan
lost the decisive battle and had to surrender to Nadir.
was him the one that gave the diamond its current name, Koh-i-noor meaning
“Mountain of light”.
Nadir Shah did not live for long, because in 1747 he was assassinated and the
diamond got to one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani.
descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Koh-i-noor back to
India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire). In
exchange Ranjit Singh helped Shah Shuja get back the throne of Afghanistan.
East India Company
1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by the British forces, the properties of
the Sikh Empire were confiscated.
Koh-i-noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in
properties of the Sikh Empire were taken as war compensations. Even one line of
the Treaty of Lahore was dedicated to the fate of the Koh-i-Noor.
diamond was shipped to Britain on a ship where cholera broke out and supposedly
the keeper of the diamond lost it for some days and it was returned to him by
diamond was handed to Queen Victoria in July 1850.
diamond in Queen-s Victoria brooch
Nadir Shah heard of the diamond, he decided he wants it in his possession.
the diamond was handed to Queen Victoria, it was exhibited at the Crystal
Palace a year later. But the “Mountain of Light” was not shiny as the other cut
gemstones of that era and there was a general disappointment regarding it.
1852 the Queen decided to reshape the diamond and it was taken to a Dutch
jeweler, Mr Cantor who cut it to 108.93 carats.
Victoria wore the diamond occasionally afterwards. She left in her will that
the Koh-i-noor should only be worn by a female queen.
the head of state was a man, his wife would have to carry the diamond. After
Queen Victoria’s death, the Kohinoor became part of the Crown Jewels.