The Famous Koh-I-Noor Diamonds (a mountain of light)

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The First Famous Koh-I-Noor Diamond:
The most famous of all of the Great Diamonds is the "Koh-I-Noor". In Persian "Koh-I-Noor" means "a mountain of light". While the history of other renowned diamonds is mostly fragmentary and incomplete, Koh-I-Noor' fate can be traced from the very beginning of the 14h century. Though there are several legends telling the story of stone's earlier life. It has been speculated that the diamond was found about five thousand years ago in Golconda mines.

First Famous Koh-I-Noor Diamond
The ancient Indian epic "Mahabharata" tells us that the owner of Koh-I-Noor was the legendary hero Kama, the son of the Sun. For several hundred years "Koh-I-Noor" adorned turbans of Rajas from the Malva dynasty. In 1304 the Kingdom of Raja Malva was occupied by the Sultan of Alha -A- Din Hilig'I. Along with other precious treasurs, "Koh-I-Noor" acquired a new owner, who in time, passed it to his son Hizrhan.
Later the diamond returned to the Malva dynasty, to the hands of the ruler Raja Vikramaditya.
In 1526, the army of Sultan of Kabul, Babur, invaded India. Babur's beloved son Humaian was part of the invading army as well. The Indian army was defeated in the battle of Panipat where Raja Vikramaditya died. His family was captured while trying to escape Agra. In order to save her family, Raja's wife gave to Humaian all of the family treasures. Amongst them was Koh-I-Noor. Humaian ceremoniously handed the stone to his father, who, after feasting his eyes upon the splendid gem, gave it back to his son. Since then, the rulers of the Great Moguls dynasty adorned their turbans with the glorious diamond until it was set into the famous peacock throne.

In 1739 an army of Persian King Nadir Shah invaded North-Western India. During this time, Shah Muhammad ruled over Moguls' Kingdom. Nadir Shah swiftly conquered North-Western India and took over the Moguls' treasures, including the famous peacock throne. But the greatest treasure of all- Koh-I-Noor- was nowhere to be found.

Without the rare diamond Nadir Shah felt that his victory was incomplete. Thousands of spies were sent across the country. They were promised a great reward for the long-awaited information about the miraculous stone. The search bore fruit: one of Shah's Muhammad wives revealed that the diamond has been hidden in the turban of the ruler, who believed that as long as the diamond is with him, sooner or later he will regain the power and will rule again.

Nadir Shah was not only a brave warrior, but a cunning politician as well. He summoned Shah Muhammad under the pretext of reconciliation. Muhammad's ambitions overwhelmed his caution, and so he arrived with his entourage to the palace of Nadir Shah. During the feast, Nadir Shah offered that as a symbol of reconciliation, the two rulers would exchange their turbans. Muhammad had no choice but to agree. This polite ceremony of turban swapping left one of the rulers with nothing, while the other one received not just the desired diamond but an ultimate proof of a victory over his opponent. When after the feast Nadir Shah unfolded the turban and found the diamond, he cried: "A mount of Light!". This is how the diamond received the name "Koh-I-Noor".

Upon Nadir's return to Persia, the fate was cruel to him just as it was cruel to all 'Koh-I-Noor''s previous possessors. Eventually he almost lost his mind and was murdered by Kurdish rebels' leader Salah Bey.

Many great rulers fought for the right to own this diamond, but it brought no happiness to any of them. In 1839, the Punjab army, a military force established by the Raja, made an attempt to overthrow the British rule. Internal conflicts and riots in the country failed Punjabi's courageous efforts to liberate their land. After few temporary victories the army was defeated and the British conquered Punjab. The treasures, including the "Koh-I-Noor" diamond were given to the British East India Company. The company presented the diamond to Queen Victoria.



The Second Koh I Noor Diamond:
In 1851 the famous diamond was exposed to the general public at the Great Exhibition in London. At that time it still retained its old Indian cut. Queen Victoria wore the diamond in a brooch. After her death, it was transferred to the British Royal Treasury, where the stone has been set into the English crown. The diamond was cut in 1862 under the supervision of the Royal jeweler James Tennant and received a flatter shape.

The Second Koh I Noor Diamond
As a result diamond's weight was reduced from 188 to 106 carats. Some experts believe that because of the new cut the stone lost more than it gained. While the new cut slightly improved the light reflection, the historical value of the diamond was lost.