Another famous diamond: the Koh-i-Noor, also called ‘Mountain of light’ is a royal diamond with a rich history. After it was found in India, it got in the possession of different rules from all over the world: Hindu, Persion, Turkic, British,…
Once, the diamond was known as the largest in the world, but in the recent cut it has a weight of 105 carat. The last ones who seized the stone were the emperors of the East India Company at the end of the 19th century, who brought it to the British monarchy, were it still is a part of the British Crown Jewels.
Almost all famous diamonds have that particular, magical veil of unclear history, so does the Koh-i-Noor. Some sources claim it is found more than 5 millennia ago in India. It might also have been mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings under the name ‘Syamantaka’. According to the Hindu’s the diamond played a special role in the legends of the god Krishna.
Moreover, some believe the Koh-i-Noor is cursed: all men who ever possessed it lost their possessions or their trown. A Hindu text refers to this as follows: ‘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 impunity’.
The mystery of the name
When Nadir Shah of Persia, the conqueror of India won against the Mogul emperors in 1739, he suggested that he and the emperor of the Moguls, Mohammed Shah should exchange turbans, as a symbol of eternal friendship. According the legend a harem member of Mohammed Shah told Nadir Shah that the Koh-i-Noor was hidden in his turband. The latter couldn’t refuse because that would mean an insult and gave his turband to the Persian Shah. When he opened it he said: ‘Koh-i-Noor’, which means ‘Mountain of light’ and took it to Persia.
The British Crown Jewels
Queen Victoria was the first British queen who wore the diamond, which was mounted in a brooch that was kept at the Windsor Castle and not with the rest of the crown jewels at the Tower of London. After her death, the Koh-i-Noor was incorporated in the crown of Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII.
Queen Elizabeth II is still wearing the diamond in her crown. Many Indians demanded her the diamond back but she refused.