Mountain of Light: The Koh-i-Noor Diamond in Indian History

Francis Watson describes the long and adventurous history of the Koh-i-Noor; between the fourteenth century, when its existence first became known, and 1839, when, at Queen Victoria’s request, it joined the British Crown Jewels.

A 1757 miniature of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, the Emir of Afghanistan, in which the Koh-i-Noor diamond is seen hanging on the front of his crown, above his forehead.

Until the Portuguese discovery of diamonds in Brazil in 1728, to be followed in 1867 by the first South African find, India was the fabulous source of such precious commodities. The elaborate Hindu mythology of gems, though it may be partly responsible for superstitions popular in the West, seems to have been distorted by the movement of prized items into a monetary market.

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