1 (888) 222-0208

The Koh-I-Noor Diamond

Share this page:
Name: Koh-I-Noor Diamond Also Known As: Mountain of Light, the Diamond of Babur Price Estimation: Over $1 billion Size: 21.6 grams Color: Finest White Cut: Oval Carat: 105.6 Originally Belonged To: The South Indian Kakatiya Dynasty

Koh-I-Noor Diamond: Basic Facts

Weighing in at an astonishing 105.6 carats, the Koh-I-Noor diamond is variously described as colorless or finest white. Believed to have been mined either in India’s Kollur Mine or one of the mines of Golkonda sometime during the 1300s, this amazing diamond was an incredible 793 carats before its first cutting. While in the hands of the Kakatiya Dynasty, the diamond weighed in at 186 carats. England’s Consort Prince Albert had it cut down to its present size in order to increase its brilliance.

These are just a few basic facts about the famous Koh-I-Noor diamond. For more on its value plus the intriguing tale of the Koh-I-Noor curse, read on.

The Koh-I-Noor Legend

Some say the legendary Koh-I-Noor diamond was a gift to earth from Surya, the sun god, and that evidence of its existence can be seen in ancient Sanskrit writings that date back to more than 5000 years ago. Some Hindus say that the diamond was stolen from the god Krishna as he lay sleeping, while others believe that it is the Syamantaka Jewel of Indian mythology. These people believe that the Koh-I-Noor diamond possesses great magical powers.

It has been said that whoever owned the Koh-I-Noor diamond ruled the world, and indeed, this diamond has passed through the hands of some famous heads of states. The first mention of the Koh-I-Noor is found in the memoirs of Mogul Empire founder and leader Barbur. He recorded the gem among the treasures of Aladdin, saying it was won during a 1304 battle in Malawah.

In 1526, the diamond resurfaced, having been obtained by the Moguls. At the time, it was supposedly at its original weight of 793 carats – the biggest diamond in the world. Unfortunately, it was poorly cut by the Emperor’s jeweler, Borgio, who was punished after reducing its size to 186 carats. 

The Koh-I-noor passed through several different owners as the result of bloody battles, and was finally obtained by Ahmed Shah, who was the King of Afghanistan. He claimed that the diamond was a symbol of his power and authority, and managed to hold onto it for years.

In 1830, after being deposed, Shah went to Lahore to beg the Indian maharaja to help him win back his throne. The maharaja wanted the Koh-I-Noor as part of the deal. Shuja Shah refused, and the maharaja hit him with his shoe, then threatened to kill him. Shah finally gave the diamond up, and the maharaja gave the aid that was requested.

A long-standing controversy has some in India claiming that the Koh-i-Noor diamond was stolen by Britain. For decades, there has been a call for the famous gem to be returned to India as partial reparation for Britain’s past colonial history there. One Indian official said that such claims should be forgotten, since the Koh-i-Noor diamond was a voluntary gift to the British crown. Stated India’s solicitor general Ranjit Kumar, “It was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away.”

The Indian government stated in April, 2016, that the solicitor general’s view does not represent its own. The Ministry of Culture states that the Koh-i-Noor diamond is a “valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history,” and that Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is determined to have it returned in an amicable manner. The case has yet to be resolved.

The Koh-I-Noor Curse

Probably because of its connection with centuries of bloody battle and death, the Koh-I-Noor is said to be cursed. The Koh-I-Noor curse is somewhat contradictory: it is said that its owner is granted the power and right to rule the world, but that he will meet with death and misfortune. At the same time, the curse of Koh-I-Noor included protection for any female who wears it.

Koh-I-Noor Diamond In the British Crown Jewels

Maharaja Ranjit Sigh died in 1839, leaving the Sikh kingdom lacking in leadership. The British raised their flag in Lahore in 1849, proclaiming the Punjab region as part of the British Empire in England. This paved the way for the colonial governor of India to have the new maharaja, 13-year-old Duleep Singh, make an impressive yet controversial gift to Britain’s Queen Victoria. He presented her with the Koh-I-Noor diamond and the Timur ruby in 1850, after which it was taken to England, where it took center stage at London’s Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. The stone was displayed in full public view. 

In 1852, Prince Albert decided that it was time to give the Koh-I-Noor an updated look. Although it was substantially reduced in size, it gained brilliance. The stone was set in a brooch, which Queen Victoria wore frequently. At the time, it was kept at Windsor Castle, rather than at the Tower of London. 

Koh-I-Noor was set in two queen consorts’ crowns after Queen Victoria’s passing. In 1937, the stone was set in the Royal British Crown, along with 2,800 other diamonds. The Koh-I-Noor currently resides in the Tower of London, where it is on public display along with other famous stones, including the Cullinan diamond, which tops the Sovereign’s Sceptre.

Koh-I-Noor Diamond Value

The Koh-I-Noor diamond value is not exactly known, and because it is such a unique stone, it is difficult to name a monetary price. Because it has always been bartered, stolen, or gifted, rather than being sole, there has never been a Koh-I-Noor diamond price. Let’s compare it with another famous diamond, the Graff Pink, which was sold in Hong Kong over 60 years ago for a price of $46 million. The Graff Pink weighs just under 25 carats, making it about a quarter of the size of the Koh-I-Noor. More than half a century ago the Koh-I-Noor diamond price might have been about $200 million USD. The Royal British Crown itself is said to be worth somewhere between $10 and $12.7 billion, and the Koh-I-Noor is one of the most incredible of the 2,800 diamonds it contains. While it’s exact value is unknown, it truly is priceless.
Sources: pinterest.com, indiadivine.org, 1791diamonds.co.uk