Sunday, 9 February 2020

The Koh-i-Noor diamond

On 29 March 1849, the young maharajah of the Punjab, Dulip Singh signed the Treaty of Lahore, which handed over to the British East India Company great swathes of the richest land in India. Also handed over was the celebrated Koh-i-Noor diamond, the ‘Mountain of Light’. Article III of the treaty read simply: “The gem called the Koh-i-Noor, which was taken from Shah Sooja ool-Moolk by Maharajah Runjeet Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.”
The Koh-i-Noor is 105.6 carats. It is part of the British Crown Jewels. Probably mined in Kollur Mine, in India, during the period of the Delhi Sultanate. 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.

The Koh-i-Noor became not only the most famous diamond in the world, but also the single most famous loot from India. It was a symbol of Victorian Britain’s imperial domination.