The death of Queen Elizabeth II reopened the war over the Kohinoor diamond, one of the world’s treasures. Four countries claim to have it returned to them. And Queen Consort Camilla is rumored to be wearing it to Charles III’s coronation.
The Kohinoor, or Mountain of Light, currently resides in the Tower of London with the rest of the crown jewels. Originally about 191 carats before processing, it is now exactly 105.6 carats (21.12 grams).
It was most likely discovered in southern India in the 13th century. Many Hindus believe that he is Syamantaka from the Bhagavad Purana tales of Lord Krishna. It appears on the “Peacock Dynasty” crown of the Mughal Shah Jahan. Despite its incredible size, it is still second fiddle to the Timur ruby, because the Mughals preferred colored stones.
After about a century in the hands of the Mughals, the diamond found itself first in the Persian Empire and then in the Afghan Empire. It was brought back to India in 1813 by the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh. To him, it represented the victory of his empire against the Durrani dynasty in Afghanistan.
The British East India Company tried to buy back the diamond, but to no avail. He remained in India until 1849, when Ranjit Singh’s son Maharaja Duleep Singh signed the Treaty of Lahore. With it he recognized the British annexation of the Punjab and the diamond was handed over to the new authorities.
Lord Dalhousie, the Scottish Governor-General of India brought the gem to England and it was displayed in 1851 during the Great Exhibition. Everyone is disappointed and Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert orders it to be re-sanded.
At that time, the rumors started that the famous diamond was cursed. According to them, anyone who wears it will have great misfortune, since it is associated with a lot of bloody battles in its history.
Probably because of the rumours, it never became a star in the royal collection. Queen Victoria rarely wore it as a brooch. It was then placed in the crowns of Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary. In 1937, it was already the central diamond of Queen Mother Elizabeth’s crown. Kohinoor last appeared in public in 2002, when the crown was placed on her coffin during the funeral.
India first sought its return in 1947, when it declared independence from Britain. Then he repeated the attempt in 1953 after the coronation of Elizabeth II and now he is trying for the third time to get the diamond back. Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan also have claims to it.