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Koh-i-noor

The meaning of «koh-i-noor»

The Koh-i-Noor (/ˌkoʊɪˈnʊər/; lit. "Mountain of light"),[8][9] also spelt Kohinoor and Koh-i-Nur, is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats (21.12 g).[a] It is part of the British Crown Jewels.

Probably mined in Kollur Mine, India, during the period of the Delhi Sultanate, there is no record of its original weight – but the earliest well-attested weight is 186 old carats (191 metric carats or 38.2 g). The diamond was part of the Mughal Peacock Throne. It changed hands between various factions in south and west Asia, until being ceded to Queen Victoria after the British annexation of the Punjab in 1849.

Originally, the stone was of a similar cut to other Mughal-era diamonds, like the Darya-i-Noor, which are now in the Iranian Crown Jewels. In 1851, it went on display at the Great Exhibition in London, but the lacklustre cut failed to impress viewers. Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, ordered it to be re-cut as an oval brilliant by Coster Diamonds. By modern standards, the culet (point at the bottom of a gemstone) is unusually broad, giving the impression of a black hole when the stone is viewed head-on; it is nevertheless regarded by gemologists as "full of life".[10]

Because its history involves a great deal of fighting between men, the Koh-i-Noor acquired a reputation within the British royal family for bringing bad luck to any man who wears it. Since arriving in the UK, it has only been worn by female members of the family.[11] Victoria wore the stone in a brooch and a circlet. After she died in 1901, it was set in the Crown of Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII. It was transferred to the Crown of Queen Mary in 1911, and finally to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) in 1937 for her coronation as Queen consort.

Today, the diamond is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London, where it is seen by millions of visitors each year. The governments of India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan have all claimed rightful ownership of the Koh-i-Noor and demanded its return ever since India gained independence from the UK in 1947. The British government insists the gem was obtained legally under the terms of the Last Treaty of Lahore and has rejected the claims.

The diamond may have been mined from Kollur Mine,[12][13] a series of 4-metre (13 ft) deep gravel-clay pits on the banks of Krishna River in the Golconda (present-day Andhra Pradesh), India.[14] It is impossible to know exactly when or where it was found, and many unverifiable theories exist as to its original owner.[15]

Babur, the Turco-Mongol founder of the Mughal Empire, wrote about a "famous" diamond that weighed just over 187 old carats – approximately the size of the 186-carat Koh-i-Noor.[16] Some historians think Babur's diamond is the earliest reliable reference to the Koh-i-Noor.[17] According to his diary, it was acquired by Alauddin Khalji, second ruler of the Khalji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, when he invaded the kingdoms of southern India at the beginning of the 14th century and was probably in the possession of the Kakatiya dynasty.[18] It later passed to succeeding dynasties of the Sultanate, and Babur received the diamond in 1526 as a tribute for his conquest of Delhi and Agra at the Battle of Panipat.[15]

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