In 1849, the legendary Koh-i-nor diamond went missing, after the handover from the Sikhs, to British rule. Sir John Lawrence, Governor General of India, received many demands from Britain asking for the priceless diamond. It was not until one day the gardener asked Sir Lawrence, if he was looking for “The bit of glass in the old tin in the tool-shed?” that the gem was recovered.
As part of the spoils of war, Sir Lawrence had been handed the fabled diamond, without his being aware of what he had been given. As any male owner, or wearer of the diamond was said to possess the world, but also a world of the worst misfortune, it was probably just as well that Sir Lawrence was left unaware. It was said that only a woman (or god) may wear or possess the diamond in safety.
The Koh-i-nor diamond was said to weigh around 793 carots when it was originally discovered as a raw stone, in India. A very nondescript diamond was produced by the first cut took which took the uncut stone to 186 carots. The brilliant 108.93 Koh-i-nor we know today, was uncovered only when Queen Victoria ordered a further cut and polish.
The fabled stone was in the possession of Moguls in Delhi for around 213 years. Later it was held by Tehran for 109 years. Afghanistan possessed the diamond for 66 years before it found its way back into Indian possession. All these nations lay claim to the stone and want it back from Britain, who has held it for the past 160 years. However, who is the rightful owner?
The Koh-i-nor has never been bought or sold, though it has changed owners many times. It has long been in the eye of the storm and has left behind a trail that involves power, murder, war, greed, brutality, mayhem and torture, as well as deceit, double dealing and tales of unhappiness. There was some talk of Queen Victoria returning the stone to India because of the curse-legend. However, she chose to place it in a tiara, along with 2000 other diamonds.
The round diamond then became the centre piece of a crown for Queen Mary, which she wore for the coronation ceremony in 1911.
In 1937 it was placed in another coronation crown, this time for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It was the only time the crown was worn by Queen Elizabeth. The next time the crown was taken from behind its high-security armoured glass in the Tower of London, was in 2002, when it was placed on the top of the Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, as it proceeded from St James Palace to Westminster Abbey. The crown then stayed on public view, as people filed past to pay their last respects to the last Empress of India. One can only imagine the security that would have surrounded the crown during this period.
It is doubtful that any man in the British realm, will have the courage to wear the fabled diamond, whether we believe in the curse of the Koh-i-Nor or not.
A new rough diamond found in a tiny nation of South Africa is rumoured to soon dwarf the round Koh-i-nor. A diamond that has the highest rated colour and clarity and as yet remains unnamed and unvalued. Analysts, using high tech computers, estimate the diamond will cut into a modern round at about 150 carats.
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Round Diamond Man
Round Diamond Man
Round Diamond Man