E-commerce means diamonds are now within everyone's grasp. Only the so-called super diamonds are reserved for the lucky few. The Koh-i-Noor diamond, which was set in Queen Elizabeth's crown, belongs in this category. With a worth of at least €140 million, the Koh-i-Noor diamond is of inestimable value.

You might be wondering where the Koh-i-Noor diamond is now; this gorgeous diamond is housed in the Tower of London, but is a point of contention, with the governments of India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan claiming ownership of it since India’s independence from the UK in 1947.  

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What is the Koh-i-Noor diamant?

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is one of the most important diamonds in the world and forms part of the United Kingdom's Crown Jewels. The 186 carat super Koh-i-Noor diamond was found in India, but fell into Queen Victoria's hands. She in turn had it cut into a stunning 109 carat brilliant. The Koh-i-Noor diamond has only been worn by queens and is currently set in Queen Elizabeth's crown. It can be admired at the Tower of London.

Where did the Koh-i-Noor diamond originate from?

It was owned by the ruling maharajahs until the 14th century. Often following a bloody war, the diamond successively ended up in the hands of various Sikh, Mogul and Persian rulers. In 1739, the Persian commander, Nadir Sjah, invaded India and ousted the Mogul tsar, Muhamed Shah, and appropriated his turban.
Upon noticing the unique precious stone in the turban, Persian commander Nadir Sjah cried 'Koh-i-Noor', or 'mountain of light'.

How did this super diamond end up in British hands?

The Koh-i-Noor diamond set in the Crown Jewels
On 31 December 1600 Queen Elizabeth I founded the British East India Company, which over 150 years grew into one of the most powerful commercial enterprises in the world. The last Sikh Maharaja, Dalip Singh, found this out first-hand when he was forced to abdicate in 1849. The British took countless Royal Persian possessions back with them to England as spoils of war. So the Koh-i-Noor ended up in British possession.

The mythical powers of the Koh-i-Noor diamond

Myths and stories are attributed to many legendary diamonds, such as the Sancy diamond and the Hope diamond . And so to the Koh-i-Noor too. Tradition has it that its owner will rule the world, but also that the stone would bring misfortune to any man wearing it.

How much is the Koh-i-Noor diamond worth?

The Koh-i-Noor compared to other important diamonds

The Koh-I-Noor’s value isn’t exactly known, but it is estimated to be worth €140 to €400 million. It is one of the most important diamonds in the world and is a part of the United Kingdom’s Crown Jewels. The Koh-I-Noor’s diamond has a total weight of 109 carats.
Originally, the Koh-I-Noor’s weighed 186 carats. The queen was dissatisfied with the stone's luster and had it recut to in 1852 by renowned Coster Diamonds in Amsterdam. It is on display, along with the other British Crown Jewels, at the Tower of London, where the renowned Cullinan diamonds are also exhibited.

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Discover other famous diamonds

The Koh-i-Noor certainly isn't the only one of its kind. Besides this particular super diamond there are other stunning stones, such as the Sancy Diamond, Hope Diamond and The Heart of the Ocean. Find out more about the rich narratives behind the super diamonds below.

Frequently asked Questions

Where does the origin of diamonds lie?

The origins of the diamond, as well as its many connotations, lies in India where it was first mined. The word most generally used for diamond in Sanskrit is transliterated as vajra, "thunderbolt" and indrayudha or "Indra's weapon." As Indra is the warrior god of Vedic scriptures (the foundation of Hinduism, the symbol of the thunderbolt tells a lot about the Indian conception of diamonds. The flash of lightning reminds of the light that is reflected by a fine diamond octahedron and a diamond's indomitable hardness.

What is the romantic history of diamonds?

The diamond is used in many pieces of exquisite jewellery and comes in various sizes. It is, however, in its smallest form that it catches our interest the most: the diamond ring given in token of love and marriage. The actual history of this tradition transcends the perception of its creation as marketing hyperbole. The modern solitaire is just the most recent step on a long road from the past.

Rings date back several millennia, but those that are given as a token of love are first noted by the comic Roman poet Plautus in the 2nd century BCE. In those times, wedding rings were known for their interior inscriptions that recorded the marriage contracts signed in the presence of the Emperor's image. This custom was continued and Christianized by the 4th century, when priests would not permit weddings anymore without the exchange of rings.

What are famous diamonds?

The world’s most famous diamonds are the 45-carat Hope Diamond (and its famous Curse), the mystical Koh-I-Noor Diamond and the 546 carat Golden Jubilee.

The Bokassa Diamond is surrounded by a truly fascinating story. In 1977, a Central African dictator named Jean-Bédel Bokassa declared himself emperor and asked Albert Jolis, the president of a diamond mining operation, for a diamond ring.

Jolis did not have the money to buy such a large stone, however, if he did not deliver one, his company would lose the mining concession in Central Africa. And so he devised a clever solution: Jolis found a large piece of black diamond bolt (a poorly crystalized diamond usually fit only to be crushed into abrasive powder) that curiously resembled Africa in shape. He ordered for the diamond to be polished and mounted on a large ring. A one-quarter carat white diamond was then set roughly where the country is located on the continent.

Jolis presented this "unique" diamond to the clueless Bokassa, who loved it. He thought that the $500 ring was worth over $500,000.

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