Koh-i-noor is the largest diamond known on earth for which innumerable battles have been fought in the past. It is 186 1/16 carats and weighs 37.21 g. It is a brilliant white in colour and is currently set into the Crown of Queen Elizabeth. Although it is the most sought after diamond till this day, the stone is said to be cursed.
Its rather bloody history goes back to the 13th century, when it was mined from the Kollur mine in the banks of the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh, India. At that time, kollur mine was the only source of diamonds in the world. The koh-i-noor was found along with its sister stone, equally mesmerizing Darya-e-noor. Koh-i-noor was taken from Prataprudra, its first owner, the king of Kakatiya dynasty, by the Khilji king in 1320 AD. The diamond passed its ownership from Khilji to Tughlaq and then to the Lodi dynasty accompanied with war and incessant bloodsheding. It finally came into the possession of Babur, the first Mughal emperor of India in 1526. He called it “Babur ka hira”. The diamond passed hands from Babur to his successors and finally Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson embellished his throne with the koh-i-noor, famously called “The Peacock Throne”. When Aurangjeb, Shah Jahan’s son, dethroned his own ailing father and imprisoned him, he took the koh-i-noor and placed it in his own Badshahi Mosque.
In 1739, when Nadir Shah of Iran, invaded Mughal Empire in Delhi, he took with him large war loot including the koh-i-noor to Persia. In 1747, after the assassination of Nadir shah, it went to Shujah Shah Durrani of Afghanistan. When he lost his empire to some other kingdom in 1830, he fled to Lahore when Ranjit Singh forced him to surrender the diamond, in return of which he won his kingdom back for him.In 1849, Punjab was formally proclaimed part of the British Empire in India and one of the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, the legal agreement formalising this occupation, was as follows:
The gem called the Koh-i-Noor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk by Maharajah Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.
In 1850, when Duleep Singh, successor of Ranjit Singh, finally presented the koh-i-noor to Queen Victoria, it was the last time the diamond has changed its owner. It is believed that it carries a curse that it affects every man who owns it. Every man who owned the stone lost their throne and suffered from great misery. But the stone does not affect a woman who wears it. A Hindu text which dates back to 1306, says about the koh-i-noor: “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.” Starting from Prataprudra to Babur, Shah Jahan, Aurangajeb, Nadir Shah, Shujah Shah Durrani and Ranjit Singh all hold testimony to this. The curse was finally lifted when it reached the hands of a woman.
And thus, it remains with the Queen of England and will be passed soon to the next Queen to be.