Koh-i-Noor Diamond – History, Origin & Timeline of Possesion

The ownership and history of the Kohinoor diamond is a contentious issue with multiple claims and versions of its story. The diamond originated in India, and it has a long and complex history that spans several centuries and multiple cultures.

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The Koh-i-Noor also spelled Kohinoor and Koh-i-Nur, is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats (21.12 g). The ownership and history of the Kohinoor diamond is a contentious issue with multiple claims and versions of its story. The diamond originated in India, and it has a long and complex history that spans several centuries and multiple cultures.


Today, the diamond is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. The governments of India, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as the Taliban, have all claimed ownership of the Koh-i-Noor, demanding its return ever since India gained independence from the British Empire in 1947.

Kohinoor: About the Diamond

The Kohinoor diamond is one of the most famous diamonds in the world and is known for its beauty and historical significance. The diamond weighs around 106 carats and is said to have originated from the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh, India. It has a clear, white color and is believed to be of high quality with a clarity grade of VS1.

The diamond has been cut several times over the years to enhance its brilliance and beauty. The most famous cut was carried out by the British jeweler, Garrard, in 1852, when the diamond was in the possession of Queen Victoria. The diamond was cut from its original size of around 186 carats to its current weight of around 106 carats. This cut was done to improve its brilliance and to make it more suitable for use in jewelry.

Journey Of The Kohinoor Diamond
Journey Of The Kohinoor Diamond

Timeline of Koh-i-Noor’s Possession 

1306: Mining and Discovery

  • The exact date of the mining of the Kohinoor diamond is not known. However, it is believed to have been mined in the Kollur mines, located in present-day Andhra Pradesh, India, in the early 13th century. The diamond was first mentioned in historical records in 1306 when it was in the possession of the Kakatiya dynasty, a South Indian kingdom

1310: Possession by Turkic Khilji Dynasty → Malik Kafur

  • In the early 14th century, the army of the Turkic Khilji began raiding kingdoms of southern India for loot (war spoils). Malik Kafur, Alauddin Khilji’s general, made a successful raid on Warangal in 1310 where he might have acquired the Koh-i-Noor diamond

1394: Possession by Delhi Sultanate → Alauddin Khalji 

  • The magnificent diamond was seized by Alauddin Khilji, the sultan of Delhi, in the 14th century. The first Mughal emperor, Babur, mentions in his diary a 187-carat diamond “Alauddin must have brought” coming into his possession after his victory at the Battle of Panipat in 1526.

1526: Possession by Mughals , Babur → Shah Jahan → Aurangzeb → Muhammad Shah

  • After the Delhi Sultanate, the diamond passed through the hands of various rulers, including the Mughals. It was acquired by the Mughal emperor Babur after he defeated the Sultan of Delhi in 1526. Babur’s grandson, Shah Jahan, who is best known for building the Taj Mahal, was the next Mughal emperor to possess the diamond. He obtained the diamond from Mir Jumla, a general in Shah’s army who had taken it from the ruler of Golconda. The diamond was named “Koh-i-Noor” (“Mountain of Light”) by Shah Jahan
  • Shah Jahan was overthrown by his own son Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the Agra Fort where he died in 1666. The diamond was taken by Aurangzeb and became part of the Mughal treasury.
  • The diamond remained with the Mughals until the 18th century when it was taken by the Persian ruler Nadir Shah.

1739: Possession by Persians → Nadir Shah

  • Nadir Shah had looted the diamond from the Mughal Empire during his invasion of India in 1739, and it remained with him until his death in 1747.  According to some accounts, Nadir Shah was said to have snatched the diamond from Muhammad Shah’s turban
  • After Nadir Shah’s death in 1747, the diamond was passed to his grandson, who presented it to Ahmad Shah Durrani as a gift. 

1747: Possession by Afghans → Ahmad Shah Durrani → Shah Shuja Durrani

  • Ahmad Shah Durrani, also known as Ahmad Shah Abdali, received the diamond from Nadir Shah’s grandson as part of a peace settlement
  • The diamond was taken to Afghanistan, where it remained for many years

1813: Possession by Sikh → Ranjit Singh → Duleep Singh

  • In 1813 Shah Shuja Durrani became the king of Afghanistan with the help of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh Empire in Punjab. Ranjit Singh acquired the diamond through negotiations with Shah Shuja, the exiled ruler of Afghanistan. On 1st June 1813 SHAH SHUJA presented KOHINOOR DIAMOND to RANJIT SINGH for saving his life
  • The diamond was then taken to the Sikh capital of Lahore, where it was kept in the treasury. Maharaja Ranjit Singh died on June 27, 1839. The diamond remained in the Sikh treasury till 1849.

1849: Possession by British → East India Company

  • In 1849, Maharaja Duleep Singh, then only 11 years old, signed the Treaty of Lahore. Scarcely able to comprehend what he was doing, the boy signed over his kingdom of Punjab to the East India Company and the Koh-i-Noor diamond to Queen Victoria.
  • The British East India Company annexed Punjab and seized the diamond along with other treasures of the Sikh Empire
  • The diamond was sent to England and presented to Queen Victoria. The Koh-i-Noor, Persian for “Mountain of Light”, reached England in 1850

1850: Possession by British → Queen Victoria

  • In 1850, the Kohinoor diamond was presented to Queen Victoria as a gift from the East India Company, and it was later recut to improve its brilliance. The diamond was set into a tiara for Queen Victoria and was subsequently worn by other members of the British royal family
  • The diamond was put on public display at the Great Exhibition in London

1877: Recut by Garrard & Co.

  • The diamond was recut to improve its brilliance and reduce its weight by almost half by the royal jeweler Garrard & Co.
  • The diamond went from 186 carats to 105.6 carats

1877 – Present: Placed in the Tower of London

  • After its acquisition by the British Crown, the Kohinoor diamond was initially kept at the Royal Palace of Windsor. It was later moved to the Tower of London, where it has been kept with the rest of the Crown Jewels since 1877.
  • In 1911, the diamond was set into the Crown of Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar, a ceremony held to mark the coronation of King George V as Emperor of India.
  • Since then, the Kohinoor has been part of the British Crown Jewels, and it is currently on display at the Tower of London. India has made various claims for the diamond’s return, but the British government has rejected those claims, citing various legal and historical reasons.

The Kohinoor diamond is currently displayed in the Tower of London, which is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. The diamond is a part of the British Crown Jewels and is kept in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.

The Tower of London is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom, and it is estimated that it receives over 3 million visitors each year. Visitors to the Tower of London can view the Crown Jewels, including the Kohinoor diamond, as part of a guided tour of the Jewel House.

However, due to the value and historical significance of the Kohinoor diamond, it is kept in a specially designed-case and is not available for close-up viewing or photography.

How Much is the Kohinoor Diamond Worth?

The value of the Kohinoor diamond is not precisely known, and since this stone is unique, it doesn’t seem easy to determine a specific price for it. For this reason, it can be compared with another famous diamond called “Graff Pink”, sold at an auction for 46 million dollars.

The weight of this diamond is a little less than 25 carats, which is almost a quarter of the weight of Kohinoor. More than half a century ago, the price of Kohinoor diamond was about 200 million US dollars. It is said that the value of the British royal crown is between 10 and 12.7 billion dollars, and among the 2,800 diamonds in it, Kohinoor is considered the best of them. However, it is estimated that the price of Kohinoor diamonds is between 165 and 472 million dollars.

FAQ’s


What is a fact about the Kohinoor?

  • The Koh-i-Noor (Persian for ‘Mountain of Light’; /ˌkoʊɪˈnʊər/ KOH-in-OOR), also spelled Kohinoor and Koh-i-Nur, is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats (21.12 g). It is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

What is the curse of the Kohinoor diamond?

  • It is a superstition known as the curse of Kohinoor because every person who owned it, had to live a life full of bloodshed, violence and betrayal. The Kohinoor diamond was kept in a tower of the London jewel house for many years, and there have been regular demands to get it back from Britain.

Who did the British steal the Kohinoor diamond?

  • Interestingly, Ranjit Kumar, India’s Solicitor-General in 2016, told the Supreme Court that the diamond was voluntarily given by Ranjit Singh to the British in exchange for their help in the Sikh Wars. “It is not a stolen object,” he said.

How much is the Kohinoor diamond worth?

  • The Koh-i-Noor is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world coming in at just over 105 carats. It is said to be worth between $140 and $400 million but is also hailed as priceless. It is also known as one of the world’s most controversial diamonds too.

Why Kohinoor diamond is priceless?

  • Koh-i-noor, is the only priceless diamond in the world. The only diamond that has never been sold, never been priced. The Kohinoor has been that it has never been purchased or exchanged in peace. It has always been taken by force.

What is the most cursed diamond in the world?

  • Over its 350-year history, the Hope Diamond has become one of the most famous cursed diamonds. After being stolen and recut, it is said to have contributed to the downfall and death of its owners. Discovered in India in 1673, it was originally a 115-carat blue diamond.

How big is the original Kohinoor?

  • The Koh-i-Noor diamond (also Koh-i-Nur or Kūh-e Nūr) is one of the largest and most famous cut diamonds in the world. It was most likely found in southern India between 1100 and 1300. The name of the stone is Persian meaning ‘Mountain of Light’ and refers to its astounding size – originally 186 carats (today 105.6).

Will England return Kohinoor to India?

  • Britain has indicated that it will never let the diamond leave England, but India will continue to explore ways to bring back the Kohinoor, one of the largest diamonds in the world, from the United Kingdom, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi as quoted by news agency PTI.

What happened to Kohinoor after Queen’s death?

  • The Kohinoor crown is worn by Camilla, wife of King Charles III. Charles automatically succeeded to the throne after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, died on Thursday evening. His wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has now adopted the title of Queen Consort.

Who is wearing Kohinoor now?

  • The diamond was given to Queen Victoria in 1849 following the annexation of Punjab during Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s son Dileep Singh’s rule. The Kohinoor diamond is currently set in the Queen’s crown, stored in the Tower of London’s Jewel House, and is accessible to the public.

What did Queen Elizabeth do to Kohinoor?

  • Along with the richest land in India, the Kohinoor fell into the possession of Queen Victoria and became an emblem of the conquest of India. It was encrusted on the crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1937 for her coronation as Queen consort.

Did Queen Elizabeth 2 take Kohinoor?

  • While Queen Victoria wore it as a brooch, Kohinoor soon became a part of crown jewels – first in the crown of Queen Alexandra and then in the crown of Queen Mary. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, breathed her last on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Why is Kohinoor not returned to India?

  • After the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the diamond was, indeed legally, acquired by Queen Victoria as part of a treaty. And since then, it has remained in British possession.
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