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Koh-i-Noor Armlet (Replica)

Koh-i-Noor Armlet (Replica)


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The colorless Kohinoor diamond has been the subject of discussion and prized possession for several dynasties for many centuries. It has been fittingly called ‘the King of Diamonds and the Diamond of Kings’. It was never bought or sold. Over centuries, dating back to thousands of years, its possession has been linked with the Royalty. It was the cause of the rise and fall of many kingdoms and also resulted in the murder of kings and maneuverings at royal courts.

What was the weight of the Kohinoor diamond? To quote from Maharaja Duleep Singh – The King in Exile, “The weight of this fabulous gem the ‘Koh-i-Noor’ in the Indian cutting was 186-1/16 of the old carats (191.10 metric carats), but after it had been re-cut in London in 1852 A.D. the weight was reduced to 108-1/3 metric carats. After re- cut, the Koh-i-Noor now weighed 108.93 carats, having lost 43 percent of its original weight.”

Few historians trace the antiquity of the Kohinoor diamond to the pre-Mahabharata times. The History of Koh-I-Noor by NB Sen describes how this gemstone was known as Samantick-Mani (Syamantaka mani) citing reference of it from the Vishnu Purana and Bhagwat Parana. NB Sen provides a detailed account how, right from the time of its first owner, it was possessed by rulers of many different dynasties.

Extract from ‘History of Koh-I-Noor’ by NB Sen, 1953.

According to these references by NB Sen, the Kohinoor as Syamantaka mani was first possessed by Satrajit, gifted to him by Suryadev. To quote from Blue Vanquisher by Manoshi Sinha, “King Satrajit ruled Satrapur, a small neighboring kingdom of Dwarka. To please the Sun God, he did severe penance. The Sun God blessed him by bestowing him with the Syamantaka jewel, which emanated radiance as lustrous as the sun. King Satrajit often wore it as an adornment around his neck.”

The Syamantaka mani then fell in the hands of Jamvavat, then Krishna, Karna, Arjuna, Yudhisthira. One may question how Karna possessed the jewel followed by Arjuna. Krishna owned the mani from Jamvavat, but he did not consider it right to own it. Hence he returned it back to Surya Dev. The Sun God did not keep it and in turn bestowed it on Karna he was his godfather. During the Mahabharata war, Karna was adorned with numerous jewels and the Syamantaka mani adorned his crown. After Karna was slain by Arjuna in this battle, his armour, crown and weapons fell in the possession of the latter. Thus Arjuna became the owner of the Syamantaka mani. According to another source, the diamond was in the possession of Bhuri Sharava, king of Kashmir before it fell in the hands of the Pandavas. After the Mahabharata war was over and Yudhisthira crowned king, Arjuna gifted the king the mani.

From Yudhisthira, the Syamantaka mani was then in the possession of Parikshit, Arjun’s grandson and then Janmajeya. In later years, it was in the possession of Porus who defeated Alexander. Not much information is available about the kings who possessed the Kohinoor diamond before and after Porus. Ashoka’s grandson Raja Samprati owned it and later by Raja Vikramaditya. Over time the Paramara rulers of the Malwa region possessed it followed by the Kakatiyas of Warangal.

According to another version of the origin of Kohinoor diamond, it originated in the mines of Golconda of the Kakatiya kingdom which finds mention in Secrets of the World’s Undiscovered Treasures by Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe. But the same book also mentions Kohinoor as the Syamantaka jewel citing Sanskrit records and dating the jewel back to 5000-6000 years. According to few more sources, the Kohinoor diamond was adorned as the left eye of Bhadrakali in a temple in Warangal, the Kakatiya kingdom before it fell in the hands of the Khiljis.

This diamond was also once stored in a vault in the Golconda Fort. This fort with a township within was first built by the Kakatiyas around the 12th century, also rebuilt and strengthened by Rani Rudrama Devi, a Kakatiya queen in 13th century. During ancient and medieval times, Golconda was the market city of the diamond trade! The Kohinoor diamond was never sold.

There have been mixed opinions on the origin of the Syamantaka mani as Kohinoor and its origin in one of the mines of Andhra Pradesh. According to an account by Prof. A.V. Narasimha Murthy, former Head, Department of Ancient History & Archaeology, University of Mysore, Raja Prataparudra and then Rani Rudramadevi of the Kakatiya dynasty owned the Kohinoor diamond. God-fearing, they got the jewel studded in the Moorti of their family deity Goddess Bhadrakali in a temple. According to the same account, Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty, invaded the Kakatiya kingdom, plundered the city and the temple and looted the Kohinoor diamond. To quote Prof. Murthy from his write-up published in Starofmysore: “Kohinoor was one of the largest diamonds in the world then and its weight was 793 carats…..discovered in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. The Kakatiya kings with their capital at Warangal (Orugallu) ruled over most parts of Andhra during 1083 to 1323 AD. King Prataparudra and queen Rudramadevi had this diamond. But as they were God-fearing, they adorned Kohinoor on their family Goddess Bhadrakali. Ghayatuddin Tughlaq (1320 AD) invaded the Kakatiya Kingdom and plundered the temple and took away the Kohinoor along with gold and silver.”

K Satyanarayana in A Study of the History and Culture of Andhras describes about Kohinoor being found in Kolluru, part of the Kakatiya kingdom. V. Madhavan, Professor of Geology in Kakatiya University and who has studied diamond mining for nearly six decades said, as quoted in an article by The Hindu that “the Kohinoor was mined by the Kakatiyas when Rani Rudrama Devi headed the kingdom, its headquarters in present day Warangal”. Though the origin and discovery of the Kohinoor is still a mystery, Professor Madhavan is of the opinion that the Kohinoor was mined by the Kakatiyas when Rani Rudrama Devi headed the kingdom.

The Kakatiya kingdom was attacked several times. It was first attacked by Malik Kafur in 1310 under the orders of Alauddin Khilji. Prataparudra II was then the Kakatiya ruler, who defended his territory for four long months till Kafur could enter the gates. The kingdom was attacked again by Ulugh Khan (later christened to Muhammad Bin Tughlaq) under the orders of Ghiasuddin Tughlaq, his father and the Delhi Sultan.

There is another version about the ownership of the Kohinoor in the hands of Alauddin Khilji that finds description in the Baburnamah, Babur’s biography though it directly doesn’t find mention of Kohinoor. If the diamond mentioned is Kohinoor, it may be plausible that it was Malik Kafur not Muhammad Bin Tughlaq who looted the Kohinoor and gave to Alauddin Khilji. The Baburnamah mentions a probability of Alauddin Khilji gaining the diamond from a Hindu ruler of Malwa, but this claim is without any credibility. Or it may be true, going by the account of NB Sen that the Malwa ruler held it in possession after which it fell in the hands of the Kakatiyas followed by Alauddin Khilji. The Baburnamah describes the diamond thus: “…not let them go. They made him a voluntary offering of a mass of jewels and valuables amongst which was the famous diamond which Alau’u’d-dm must have brought. Its reputation is that every appraiser has estimated its value at two and a half days’ food for the whole world. Apparently it weighs 8 miskels.” One miskel is equal to 4.25 grams. Here is an extract from the Baburnamah:

There is another version of the origin of the Kohinoor diamond by Satwinder Kaur, Assistant Professor in History, Swift Technical Campus, Punjab. Besides citing its origin to the Mahabharata era, she also delves thus in a journal article titled – ‘Koh-I-Noor Mountain of Light’ published in International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), “Another source claims that the diamond was discovered in a river bed in 3200 B.C Historical evidence suggests that the Kohinoor originated in the Golconda kingdom, in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, one of the world’s earliest diamond producing regions. This region was the first and only known source for diamonds until 1730 when diamonds were discovered in Brazil. The term ‘Golconda’ diamond has come to define diamonds of the finest white colour, clarity and transparency. They are very rare and highly sought after.”

If we go by the accounts that Malik Kafur plundered Warangal and took the Kohinoor from the Kakatiyas and gave to Alauddin Khilji in 1310, it later fell in the hands of successive Islamic rulers of Delhi. After Khilji, the Kohinoor fell in the hands of Babur. All the Mughal rulers boasted of this prized possession. Shah Jahan adorned it on his peacock throne to get in it a reflection of the Taj Mahal. Persian invader Nadir Shah treacherously took the Kohinoor diamond from Muhammad Shah, the grandson of Aurangzeb. From Nadir Shah, it fell in the hands of Ahmad Shah Abdali in Afghanistan. Shah Shuja Durrani, Abdali’s descendant, possessed the diamond. He was ousted from the throne of Afghanistan by Mahmud Shah and sent to exile and was imprisoned in Attock of Punjab province and later Kashmir. Shah Shuja was forced to give the Kohinoor diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813 or 1814.

That’s how, after several centuries in the hands of Islamic invaders and rulers, the Kohinoor diamond, which had become a symbol of the might and stability of an empire/dynasty, finally fell in the hands of Ranjit Singh. It adorned the Maharaja’s crown and then studded in his armlet. Ranjit Singh made a Will that after his death, the Kohinoor diamond be donated to Jaggannath Temple of Puri.

According to the book History of Koh-i-noor by NB Sen, first published in 1953, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, before his death in 1839 wished that the Kohinoor diamond be sent to Jagannath Temple Puri. It was a suggestion made by the Royal priest who foresaw that the diamond might have caused the king to fall ill and that the gemstone should be adorned in a temple. But the king’s Sardars refused. Had the diamond been sent then, it would not have fallen into British hands. To quote NB Sen from this book: “Just before his death, Maharaja Ranjit Singh directed that the Koh-i-Noor be sent down to the Temple of Jagannath at Puri. But his Sirdars refused on the grounds that not such another diamond in the world existed and that the whole wealth of India could not purchase it. Had the needful been done at that time, the history of the Koh-i-Noor in later years would have been quite different.” Here is an extract from NB Sen’s book:

The Sikhs have a connection with Jaggannath Puri. One of the five warriors – the Panj Pyare initiated by Guru Govind Singh for defending Dharma and the motherland from Islamic invaders, was from Jggannath Puri. He was Himmat Rai, a water carrier from Jheeaur clan. He was initiated as Bhai Himmat Singh to the Panj Pyare. He, an ordinary man, thus became a Kshatriya, to save the motherland. He attained martyrdom at the Battle of Chamkaur at age 44. Here is an extract from the book Guru Gobind Singh and Creation of Khalsa by Prof. Madanjit Kaur on the initiation of one of the Panj Pyare from Jagannath Puri:

According to another version from the same book by NB Sen, Maharaja Ranjit Singh fell very ill. He then wished that the Kohinoor diamond be sent to Jagannath temple Puri. But one of the Sardars Missar Beli Ram refused.

More sources say one of the sardars of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was on his way to Jaggannath temple in Puri with the Kohinoor diamond and more jewels upon the orders of the Emperor. The Maharaja was then ailing and bedridden. Halfway news about the death of the Maharaja reached the Sardar’s ears. He did not continue his journey to Puri and returned to the Sikh kingdom, kept the jewels and delivered the Kohinoor diamond to the successor of the Maharaja. But all of these accounts are based on one truth whether or not Maharaja Ranjit Singh made a Will – that he wanted the Kohinoor diamond to be donated to Jaggannath temple Puri.

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, there was continuous chaos for rulership leading to murders of whoever ascended the throne. The Kohinoor was already in the custody of Missar Beli Bam, who was in charge of the Tosha Khana and then under Dhian Singh, the Prime Minister. Dhian Singh also got murdered and the Kohinoor remained in custody of his brother Gulab Singh who in turn presented it to Maharaja Sher Singh at the time of his coronation. Thereafter, it remained in the possession of infant Maharaja Daleep Singh. The king was young and there was in-fighting amongst the nobility of the royal court. After the Second Anglo-Sikh war wherein the British won, Punjab was annexed into the British empire and the Kohinoor was ceded to Queen Victoria. It was the year 1849.

With a history of bad luck associated with male rulers who wore the Kohinoor, upon arrival in the UK, it was worn only by female members. Queen Victoria wore the diamond in a brooch and a circlet. After Victoria’s death, it adorned the crown of Queen Alexandra and then the crown of Queen Mary. Finally, it adorned the crown of Queen Elizabeth. At present, the Kohinoor diamond is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.

So, who is the rightful owner of the Kohinoor diamond? Obviously India! But the origin is still a mystery. If it is the Syamantaka mani, as claimed by many historians and scholars, it would date back to thousands of years. If it is discovered in the mines of Andhra Pradesh, the then Kakatiya kingdom, then it is at least 1700 years old. But the mystery of its antiquity still remains.


Mysterious Origins

The diamond has conflicting origins. Some say it was discovered in the bed of the Lower Godavari River 5,000 years ago. Others claim the Koh-i-Noor was mined in the Kollur Mine, in what is presently the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it became the eye of the Devi, or goddess, in a Hindu temple.

Another story claims it was found in the Amravati hills, a district headquarters of Maharashtra, worn by Raja Karna, who fought in the Mahabharara war with the diamond tied as a talisman around his arm. In the latter account, Karna died in battle, the Pandavas gained possession of the stone, and Arjun, who killed Karna, passed it to his brother, who passed it to Raja Parikshata while preparing for exile.

Bejeweled Nader Shah on horseback in the aftermath of his decisive victory at the Battle of Karnal. ( Public Domain )

Then it is said to have fallen into the hands of the giant Porus, who battled Alexander the Great—the Macedonian King—fourteen miles southwest of the battlefield in 327 BC. Dynasties which obtained the diamond after that were the: Maurya, Harsha, Raja Lalit Datta, Khilji, Tughlaq, Mughal, Durrani, Abdali, Sikh, and British houses, in that order.

Additional accounts of the diamond talk of the Koh-i-Noor being carried to Raja Vikramaditya, as well as it adorning the third eye of Shiva in a temple in Telangana, ripped out by Price Allaudin Khilji’s forces. Lady Login recorded it being in the possession of the Rajas of Malwa, but historians agree that the first reliable recording of the jewel was in the Memoirs of Babar . In the account, the Hindu ruler of Gwalior presented the diamond to Humayan, Babar’s son, who presented it his father, who then returned it to his son as a blessing. Babur, the conqueror, who established the Mughal Empire, renamed the Koh-i-Noor the “Diamond of Babur.” Before that, it had been acquired by the Khilji dynasty, likely from army raids.

A spoil of Indian and Persian rulers and wars, many conquered and gained possession of the Koh-i-Noor, and it frequently was passing hands.

Later on, the Koh-i-Noor was rumored to be mounted on the Peacock throne by Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal), and was later owned by Aurangzeb (his son) who incarcerated his father.

Painting depicting the Peacock Throne in the Diwan-i-Khas of the Red Fort of Delhi. ( Public Domain )

In another story, the diamond was found at the Kolar Mine on the Krishna river, and was presented to the Mughal Emperor, Shah Jehan in 1656 by Mir Jumula. The diamond given could not have actually been the Koh-i-Noor though, as gem merchant and traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier examined it personally in Shah Jehan’s treasury in 1644.

Glass replica of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond in its original form. (From the Reich der Kristalle museum in Munich.) ( Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 )


Where is the koh I noor today?

Is Koh I Noor cursed and is that Koh I Noor weakness?

It is believed my historians that the koh I noor has seen a lot of blood and battle. It was believed that the one who is possession of koh I noor is the ultimate power of the world. Thus, that was reason for the forced capture of the diamond by the British. But, along the history it has been seen that whomsoever possessed the diamond the king or the ruler didn’t end well. So it is said that koh I noor was to be adorned only by the Gods or by females. So the diamond was seen to be an asset of many British queens. This is the koh I noor weakness.

It is now displayed along side the different British crown jewels within the Tower of London. The crystal replicas of the diamond set in the oldest crowns and also the original bracelet given to Queen Victoria can be seen at the Tower’s Jewel House.

So folks it was quite a ride through history, it was as intriguing and full of thrills. We must be proud of our history and our past.


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Koh-i-Noor

The Koh-i-Noor was a massive diamond that has a long and mostly mysterious hystory. There are a few versions of its past, some being that it was sifted out of sand, some that it is cursed and revered by many Indian deities. It was worn by many rulers all throughout India and Asia. It is most controversial because it now adorns the crown jewels in England despite the Indian, Pakistani, I ranian, and Afghanistanian governments having claimed its ownership. The story is that it was taken during the annexation of India by Britian. Queen Victoria was given the diamond when the Treaty of Lahore was signed, "The gem called the Koh-i-Noor, which was taken from Shah Sooja-ool-moolk by Maharajah Ranjeet Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England ( sic )"

It was worn as a brooch by Queen Victoria and was even put on display at the Great Exhibition in London, but people weren't impressed by the diamonds appearance. Prince Albert had it recut which shaved down quite a bit of its size. It currently resides on the crown that is worn during corronations.


Explaining India's confusion: Geeta Pandey, BBC News, Delhi

India's culture ministry appears to have misread the popular mood - the solicitor general's comments sparked a full-scale political row, forcing the government to backpedal.

The main opposition Congress party said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government must make all efforts to bring the diamond back since "it's connected to our emotions".

Mr Modi's allies in Punjab state, the Shiromani Akali Dal, joined the criticism, describing the government stand as "wrong". One party MP said the Punjab government would even be willing to join the court case seeking its return.

Rattled by the criticism, the prime minister's office intervened, and the culture ministry issued a clarification.

The Koh-i-Noor is undoubtedly an emotional issue in India where many believe that in 1849, the 10-year-old ruler of Punjab was forced to give it to the British and that it should be returned to India, its rightful owner.

The case is being heard by the Supreme Court in Delhi after an Indian NGO filed a petition asking the court to direct the Indian government to bring back the diamond.

The court is still considering the issue, and said it did not want to dismiss the petition as it could "stand in the way" of future attempts to bring back items that once belonged to India.

Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, said in 2009 that it should be returned as "atonement for the colonial past".

However, Britain has consistently refused to part with the gem - most recently, Prime Minister David Cameron said in 2013 he did not think returning it was "sensible".

The Indian media, however, is divided over the issue with some papers urging the government to do whatever is necessary to secure the return of the diamond, while others question whether it should be such a high priority.

The Asian Age hails the government's "U-turn" over the issue, adding that its earlier stance indicated that it had "lost sight of the fact that the return of the Koh-i-noor is linked in people's minds to national pride".

But the Economic Times asks if "an inanimate hunk of colourless carbon reposing in a crown in the Tower of London" is really worth so much effort, or if the government should be focusing its attention on more pressing issues.

The diamond was last worn by the late Queen Mother and was displayed on her crown when her coffin lay in state after her death in 2002.


3. Ownership through the Years

For years, the lure of the Koh-i-Noor drew many rulers and invaders to try to extract it both by legitimate and illicit means. Since its discovery, the diamond was the proud possession of the native rulers of the southern states of India until, in 1310, a raid on Warangal by Malik Kafur, a general of the Delhi Sultanate’s ruler, Alauddin Khilji, is believed to have transferred the possession of the Koh-i-Noor into new hands. The stone was then passed on to successive rulers of the Delhi Sultanate until Babur, the founder of the Great Mughal Empire in India acquired it during his invasions of India.

The Koh-i-Noor now became the proud possession of the Mughal Dynasty and Shah Jahan, the great Mughal Emperor, credited with the construction of the Taj Mahal, installed the diamond in his famous Peacock Throne. It was during the rule of his son, Aurangzeb that the diamond was cut down from 793 carats to 186 carats by mistake. In 1739, the diamond again shifted hands from the Mughals to Nader Shah, the Shah of Persia, whose army looted vast volumes of wealth from the royal treasury of the Mughals including the Koh-i-Noor and the Peacock Throne. In 1747 after Nader Shah was assassinated, the future Emir of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, became the owner of the diamond. The Koh-i-Noor returned back to India in 1813 when the fleeing Shah Shujah Durrani, a descendant of Ahmad Shah, gifted the diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab in return of a favor he had granted him. The Maharaja before his death mentioned in his will that the diamond was to be given to the Jagannath temple in Puri in Orissa but after his death, his wish was never granted.

On March 29, 1849, the Treaty of Lahore was signed between British India and the Kingdom of Punjab after the Sikhs lost their war against the colonial British. The Koh-i-Noor then became the possession of the British. A lot of controversy surrounds the transfer procedure of the Koh-i-Noor at this point of time with strong criticisms against this transfer from both the Indian society and even contemporaries in Britain. Finally, on July 3, 1850, after a long journey in the sea aboard a ship HMS Medea, the Koh-i-Noor was handed over to the Queen of England, its last proud possessor to date.


Koh-i-Noor: Empire, Diamonds, and the Performance of British Material Culture

1 Balfour , Ian , Famous Diamonds ( London , 2000 ), 172 Google Scholar .

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4 “The Front Row of the Shilling Gallery,” Punch, 5 July 1851, 11.

5 Brown , Bill , “Thing Theory,” in Things , ed. Brown , Bill ( Chicago , 2004 ), 1 – 16 Google Scholar , and A Sense of Things: The Object Matter of American Literature (Chicago, 2003) Batchelor , Jennie and Kaplan , Cora , eds., Women and Material Culture, 1660–1830 ( New York , 2007 ), 1 – 8 Google Scholar .

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8 Balfour, Famous Diamonds, 167 Metcalf , Barbara and Metcalf , Thomas , A Concise History of India ( Cambridge , 2002 ), 93 – 97 Google Scholar .

9 See India Office Records (IOR), 1600–1947, IOR/L/PS/11/296/5115, Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections (APAC), British Library (BL). This file was produced by the East India Company as a result of its own inquest into how the Koh-i-Noor was appropriated by the crown in the late 1850s. It contains copies of earlier memorandums sent out to the company's Court of Directors by the governor-general, correspondence he had with underlings, as well as the research about the stone that was conducted on his behalf.

10 For the Deccan booty settlement of 1828, see IOR, IOR/L/AG/17/2/4, APAC, BL.

11 “Document 2: Governor General's Despatch to Secret Committee, No. 20 of 7th April, 1849,” in The History of the Koh-i-Noor, Darya-i-Noor and Taimur's Ruby, comp. Bhai Nahar Singh and Kirpala Singha (New Delhi, 1985), 4–25.

12 Inquiry into the confiscation of the Koh-i-Noor, 26 August 1854, IOR, IOR/L/PS/11/296/5115, APAC, BL.

13 Alexander , Michael and Anand , Sushila , Queen Victoria's Maharajah: Duleep Singh, 1838–1893 ( London , 2001 ), 46 – 49 Google Scholar . Singh's and Victoria's relationship was profoundly complex and went through many stages of estrangement and reconciliation as the maharajah struggled to come to terms with himself and his role in imperial Britain and India. Unfortunately, an in-depth analysis of their relationship and its context falls outside the scope of this article. For more on the Winterhalter portrait, see Axel , Brian Keith , The Nation's Tortured Body: Violence, Representation, and the Formation of a Sikh “Diaspora” ( Durham, NC , 2001 ), 49 – 58 Google Scholar .

14 Macaulay , Thomas Babington , “Minute on Education in India,” in Politics and Empire in Victorian Britain: A Reader , ed. Burton , Antoinette ( New York , 2001 ), 20 .Google Scholar

15 “The Claims of an Indian Prince,” The Times, 31 August 1882, 7.

16 Alexander and Anand, Queen Victoria's Maharajah, 94, 136, 145, 178, 278–79.

17 “Document 42 (Private Letters): Government House, 26 August 1854,” in History of the Koh-i-Noor, 78.

18 “Document 1: Private Letters, Camp Ferozepore, 30 March 1849,” in ibid., 3.

19 “Document 8: Chapter VI: Lady Login's Recollections (1820–1904), Court Life and Camp Life,” in ibid., 31.

20 “Document 6: The Life of the Marquis of Dalhousie, [by] Lee-Warner, Vol. I,” in ibid., 158.

22 Mersmann , Arndt , “‘ Diamonds Are Forever’—Appropriations of the Koh-i-Noor: An Object Biography ,” Journal for the Study of British Cultures 8 , no. 2 ( 2001 ): 175 –91Google Scholar .

23 Arab Roots of Gemology: Ahmad ibn Yusuf Al Tifaschi's “Best Thoughts on the Best of Stones,” trans. (with commentary by) Samar Najm Abul Huda (London, 1998), 270.

24 David Brewster, “The Diamond—Its History, Properties, and Origin,” North British Review 18 (November 1852): 186–234.

25 Lord Dalhousie, governor-general of India, to Queen Victoria, Simla, 15 May 1850, in The Letters of Queen Victoria, 3 vols., ed. A. C. Benson et al. (London, 1907), 2:286–87.

26 When many other gemstones from the Lahore treasury were shown to the queen by members of the East India Company in 1851, she recorded in her diary how impressed she was with Taimur's Ruby: “[It] is the largest in the world, therefore even more remarkable than the Koh-i-noor! I am very happy that the British Crown will possess these jewels, for I shall certainly make them Crown Jewels” (Queen Victoria, quoted in Charles R. Fay, Palace of Industry, 1851: A Study of the Great Exhibition and Its Fruits [Cambridge, 1951], 71).

27 A. M. B. , , The Story of Garrards: Goldsmiths and Jewellers to Six Sovereigns in Three Centuries, 1721–1911 ( London , 1912 ), 94 – 99 Google Scholar George Fox, “An Account of the Firm of Rundell, Bridge and Company, the Crown Jewellers and Goldsmiths on Ludgate Hill” (unpublished manuscript), 1843–46, pressmark 276.E.3, General Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum Archives, National Art Library, 8.

28 “East India House,” The Times, 28 September 1854, 5.

29 Nevil Story-Maskelyne, “On the Koh-i-Noor Diamond” (unpublished manuscript), DF5001/415, Story-Maskelyne Papers, Natural History Museum Archives (NHMA), 15.

30 “Document 44: Theophilus Metcalfe, Lt. Governor of NW Provs, Delhi, to Sir Henry Elliot, Secretary to the Government of India, 7th January 1850,” in History of the Koh-i-Noor, 80–81.

32 Metcalf , Thomas , Ideologies of the Raj ( Cambridge , 1995 ), 80 – 92 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

33 “Report on the Past of the Koh-i-Noor,” IOR, IOR/L/PS/11/209/5115, APAC, BL.

34 “Document 46: Major MacGregor, Deputy Commissioner, Lahore, to B. Melvill, Secretary to the Board of Administration for the Affairs of the Punjab, 20 April 1850,” in History of the Koh-i-Noor, 84–90 “The Koh-i-Noor,” Era (London), 20 October 1839, 41.

35 “Document 46,” in History of the Koh-i-Noor, 84–90 “Runjeet Singh,” The Times, 12 November 1838, 3 Story-Maskelyne, “On the Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” 7, 21–39.

36 Tavernier , Jean-Baptiste , app. 1 in Travels in India , trans. V. Ball ( London , 1889 ), 397 Google Scholar .

37 Story-Maskelyne, “On the Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” 39–97 Balfour, Famous Diamonds, 152–67.

38 “The Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” Illustrated London News, 26 May 1849, 332. And see “The Koh-i-Noor,” Illustrated London News, 23 December 1848, 397.

39 “The Koh-i-Noor,” Illustrated London News, 23 December 1848, 397 “The Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” Illustrated London News, 26 May 1849, 332. For The Times's coverage, see “India and China,” 4 May 1850 “Her Majesty's Steam Sloop,” 1 July 1850, 4 “Grand Banquet to Lieutenant-General Sir William Gomm, K.C.B.,” 12 August 1850, 5 “The Opening of the Great Exhibition,” 2 May 1851, 5 “The Great Exhibition,” 3 May 1851, 5 “The Cutting of the Koh-i-Noor,” 19 July 1852, 8 “The Great Indian Diamond,” 27 July 1852, 7 and “The Re-cutting of the Koh-i-Noor,” 28 August 1852, 5. See also “The Koh-i-Noor, a Real ‘Mountain of Light!’” Punch, 19 April 1851, 165 and Wilkie Collins, preface to The Moonstone (1868 London, 2001), xxiii.

40 “Document 6,” in History of the Koh-i-Noor, 28.

41 “The Koh-i-Noor,” Illustrated London News, 23 December 1848, 397. The Illustrated London News was particularly involved in covering the Anglo-Sikh war and published one of the first pictures of the Koh-i-Noor available to metropolitan audiences for this picture, an engraving, see “The Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” 26 May 1849, 332. See also the Illustrated London News, “The War in the Punjab,” 27 January 1849, 52, 56–57 “India—Capture of Moultan,” and “The War in India,” 24 February 1849, 117–18 “The War in the Punjaub,” 10 March 1849, 145–46 “The War in India,” 7 April 1849, 161–66, 230 and “The Victories in the Punjaub,” 28 April 1849, 265–66.

42 “Precious Stones and Antique Gems,” The Times, 14 October 1865, 6 and see King , Charles W. , The Natural History, Ancient and Modern, of Precious Stones and Gems, and of the Precious Metals ( London , 1865 )Google Scholar and Ball , Valentine , The Diamonds, Coal and Gold of India ( London , 1881 ), 11 – 15 Google Scholar .

43 Collins, The Moonstone, xxiii Mersmann, “Diamonds Are Forever,” 186.

44 Free , Melissa , “ Dirty Linen: Legacies of Empire in Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone ,” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 48 , no. 4 (Winter 2006 ): 340 –71CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

45 Sen , Nar Bir , The Glorious History of Koh-i-Noor ( New Delhi , 1970 ), 114 Google Scholar and see Balfour, Famous Diamonds, 168–69.

46 Inquiry into the confiscation of the Koh-i-Noor, 26 August 1854, IOR, IOR/L/PS/11/296/5115, APAC, BL.

47 Tallis , John , Tallis's History and Description of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition of the World's Industry in 1851 , 3 vols. ( London , 1852 ), 2 : 240 Google Scholar “The Great Exhibition,” Daily News (London), 2 May 1851, 5 “Great Exhibition,” Observer (London), 18 May 1851, 4.

48 “Document 8,” in History of the Koh-i-Noor, 30–38.

49 Fay, Palace of Industry, 81.

50 “The Opening of the Great Exhibition,” 4–5.

51 “The Great Exhibition,” Examiner (London), 3 May 1851, 280.

52 “The Opening of the Great Exhibition,” 5.

53 Richards , Thomas , The Commodity Culture of Victorian England: Advertising and Spectacle, 1851–1914 ( Stanford, CA , 1990 ), 51 – 57 Google Scholar .

54 Bourdieu , Pierre , The Logic of Practice , trans. Richard Nice ( Stanford, CA , 1990 ), 112 –27Google Scholar .

55 “Lord Ellenborough Is a Napier Togatus,” The Times, 27 May 1851, 5.

56 Mersmann, “Diamonds Are Forever,” 180–83.

57 “Her Majesty's Intention,” The Times, 17 April 1851, 5 “False Alarms,” Examiner, 3 May 1851, 275 Yvonne French, The Great Exhibition: 1851 (London, 1950), 229 “Her Majesty—as She Appeared on the First of May, Surrounded by ‘Horrible Conspirators and Assassins,’” Punch, 19 May 1851, 193, 240 “The Alarmists Dream,” Punch, 14 June 1851, 245.

58 “Her Majesty's Intention,” 5.

59 “Her Majesty—as She Appeared on the First of May, Surrounded by ‘Horrible Conspirators and Assassins,’” 193.

60 “The Building and the Ceremony,” Daily News, 2 May 1851, 5.

61 “The Great Exhibition,” Spectator, 10 May 1851, 446. For more on the cage, see “The Great Exhibition,” Observer, 5 May 1851, 2 “The Great Exhibition,” Daily News, 5 and “The Great Exhibition,” John Bull, 10 May 1851, 298.

62 French, Great Exhibition, 229.

63 Tallis, Tallis's History of the Crystal Palace, 2:150.

64 “The Great Exhibition,” Examiner, 14 June 1851, 378 “The Great Exhibition,” Observer, 18 May 1851, 4.

65 “The Great Exhibition,” Examiner, 5 July 1851, 427.

66 “The Front Row of the Shilling Gallery,” 10.

67 “What I Remarked at the Exhibition,” Punch, 10 May 1851, 189.

68 “The Front Row of the Shilling Gallery,” 10.

69 Mackie, Market à la Mode, 111, and see 104–43.

70 “Diamond Dialogues,” Punch, 17 June 1851, 244.

71 “Ballad for Old-Fashioned Farmers: On the Great Exhibition,” Punch, 17 May 1851, 212.

72 “The Great Exhibition,” Daily News, 5.

73 “A Gentleman from the Country Mistakes the Crystal sent by the Duke of Devonshire for the Koh-i-Noor Diamond,” Punch, 17 May 1851, 200.

74 “The Black Diamond—The Real Mountain of Light!!” Punch, 14 June 1851, 252 Tallis, Tallis's History of the Crystal Palace, 2:158, 240.

75 “The Front Row of the Shilling Gallery,” 10.

76 “Coal and Koh-i-Noor,” Punch, 15 November 1851, 198.

77 For a discussion of the centrality of women, women's bodies, and womanhood in debates about the “traditional” versus the “modern” in colonial India, see Lata Mani, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (Berkeley, 1998).

78 “The Front Row of the Shilling Gallery,” 11.

80 “Jewels for Sale,” MSS Eur E293/272, APAC, BL.

81 Bernstein , Harry , The Brazilian Diamond in Contracts, Contraband and Capital ( London , 1986 )Google Scholar Eakin , Marshall C. , British Enterprise in Brazil: The St. John D’el Rey Mining Company and the Morro Velho Gold Mine, 1830–1960 ( Durham, NC , 1989 )Google Scholar Gardner , George , Travels in the Interior of Brazil, Principally through the Northern Provinces, and the Gold and Diamond Districts, during the Years 1836–1841 ( London, 1846 repr., New York , 1970 )Google Scholar Lenzen , Godehard , The History of Diamond Production and the Diamond Trade , trans. F. Bradley ( New York , 1970 )Google Scholar Mawe , John , Travels in the Interior of Brazil, Particularly in the Gold and Diamond Districts ( London , 1812 )Google Scholar Sherwood , Marika , “ Britain, the Slave Trade and Slavery, 1808–1843 ,” Race & Class 46 , no. 2 (October 2004 ): 54 – 77 Google Scholar .


What made Kohinoor diamond so famous?

Kohinoor has been one of the most famous diamonds in human history. Its name is derived from the Persian word Koh-i-Noor means the mountain of light. Its magnanimous traits and size make it as the most desirable precious stone. Kohinoor’s ownership has always been a topic of controversy. Kohinoor was found in Andhra Pradesh during the 13th century. From that time, it had been fallen into the hands of many rulers. Kohinoor was originally 793 carats when uncut which makes the biggest diamond in the world. King of Malwa, Malhlak Deo was the first owner of this precious diamond.

Babar and Shah Jahan were also fascinated with Kohinoor’s glorious shine.
In 1739, Nader Shah came to India and conquered the throne as Sultan Mohammad lost the battle, but a few years later Shah was killed by one of his men, who then gave the diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lion of Punjab. In 1813, Kohinoor was back in India. The proud owner Ranjit Sigh studded Kohinoor in his armlet and flaunted for some years.

When the British defeated him, the precious diamond Kohinoor was taken away. In July 1850, East India Company presented it to Queen of England. And since then Kohinoor never got back to its rightful land India.

By that time it has become the most famous diamond already. In 1851, Kohinoor was displayed for public at Crystal Palace, London. The worth of Kohinoor is unknown, but said to be 200 million dollars half century ago. Because, it was always stolen or bartered, but never sold.

It’s a popular belief that Kohinoor is cursed. The curse of Kohinoor Diamond dates back to a Hindu text from the time of the first authenticated appearance of the diamond in 1306. The Curse of the Kohinoor Diamond reads:

“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 history and lives of the rulers who owned the Koh-i-Noor diamond were filled with violence, murders, mutilations, and torture. British family knows about this curse, therefore only wives of British royal family wear the Kohinoor in their crown.
The fame of Kohinoor diamond was gone beyond borders. It has been a part of old as well as modern literature. Kohinoor is truly timeless and priceless. The great Indian history is incomplete without the Kohinoor.


Watch the video: KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH - Hidden Diamond Cabinet (December 2021).

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