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Top 5 most expensive diamonds: No. 1 – The Koh-I-Noor

July 12, 2017/ BY Frank van Poorten

The Koh-I-Noor is an oval 109 carat diamond with a weight of 21.6 grams. It’s the main diamond of the British Crown Jewels, known from the crown. The stone is literally priceless and can therefore not be insured. Talking about expensive… Currently, the Koh-I-Noor is exhibited in the Tower of London together with the other crown jewels of Great Britain. During the biggest part of its long history, the Koh-I-Noor was the biggest diamond in the world.

Gold Skyline Hyderabad, India

The history of the Koh-I-Noor

The story of the Koh-I-Noor starts 10.000 kilometers from here and seven centuries ago. The diamond was found in India, in the village Kollur in Andhra Pradesh, close to Hyderabad. Until the 14th century, it belonged to the Radja’s of the Kakatiya Dynasty in Warangal.  In 1323, the Sultan of Delhi conquered Warangal. The Koh-I-Noor was a part of the Sultan’s war bouts. The sparkling stone remained in the possession of the Sultan until 1526. That year it fell in the hands of the Mongol Emperor Babur. Babur wrote in his historiography about the value of the Koh-I-Noor. He believed it was valuable enough to feed the world’s entire population for at least 2,5 day.

Gold Skyline Delhi, India

Mountain of Light

For a couple of centuries, the Koh-i-Noor remained in possession of the Mongol Emperors. During that period of time, they placed the diamond on the peacock throne. In 1739, the Persian Warlord Nader Shah successfully conquered Delhi and threw Emperor Muhammad Shah into prison. However, Nader Shah discovered the Koh-I-Noor in a very unusual way. Nader proposed to switch turbans with the deposed emperor. Little did he know Muhammad had hidden his beloved diamond in his turban! When Nader, later on, found the diamond, he screamed: “Koh-I-Noor”. This is Persian for “Mountain of Light”.

Gold Skyline Lahore, Pakistan

The Koh-I-Noor in Persia

Nader Shah brought the Koh-I-Noor along to Persia. Until his death, the diamond was in possession of Nader Shah. After he passed away, the Koh-I-Noor fell in the hands of the Qajar Dynasty. The last Persian owner was Shah Shujah Durani who fought Mahmud Shah for the Persian throne between 1801 and 1809. After losing the battle, he fled with the Koh-I-Noor to Punjab, currently known as Lahore in Pakistan. Here, soldiers of the Sikh Maharajah Ranjiit Sighn caught him. However, Shah Shuja was able to buy his way out by granting the Koh-I-Noor to the Maharajah. The Maharajah wore the diamond often in his turban and grew very fond of it. He wrote in his will he wanted to donate the Koh-I-Noor to the Jagannath Temple in Puri (India) after his death. His successors weren’t fond of that idea and decided to keep the stone in Punjab.

Gold Skyline London, England

Tally-ho! The Koh-I-Noor goes to England

In 1849, the British East India Company took the Sikh empire. The British imprisoned the last Sikh Emperor, Dalip Singh. They stole the Koh-I-Noor and brought it to England. In England, the East Indian Company gave the diamond as a present of the war bouts to Queen Victoria.

The repolishing by Coster

A couple of years later, in 1852, the queen decided it was time to bring the ultimate sparkle to the diamond. However, this meant the Koh-I-Noor needed a recut. After quite a search it appeared that no Englishman was skilled enough to cut the diamond in an ideal way. Therefore, the Brits decided to look for the knowledge outside their own country. This is how they ended up in Amsterdam, asking Mozes Coster.

The old factory of Royal Coster Diamonds around 1850

Mozes just made a name for himself by cutting the “Star of the South” and the “English Dresden”. When the English asked him to cut the precious diamond, Mozes accepted the challenge. He sent two of his best diamond polishers to England. Here the polishers Vedder and Voorzanger recut the diamond from 189 carat to its current weight of 108.93 carat. As of that moment, the Koh-I-Noor really lived up to its name: it shines like a mountain of light.

Myths and legends of the Koh-I-Noor

There are serval legends about the stone. One of the most famous ones is that the diamond can only be worn by female emperors and monarchs. They will reign long and prosperous. However, if a man wears the stone during his reign, he will die early. Moreover, his ruling period will go hand in hand with adversity and bad luck. This is the reason why, during its entire life in England, the Koh-I-Noor is only worn by female leaders.

Another legend of the Koh-I-Noor is that for as long as it exists, it creates riches as big as its own value every day. Since the diamond is considered priceless, this was probably meant symbolically.

The Koh-I-Noor in the British crown replica

Royal Coster Diamonds and the Koh-I-Noor

The Koh-I-Noor is a diamond that makes many hearts beat faster. This is not such a big surprise considering it’s the most valuable diamond in the world. 109 carat, a remarkable reflection of light and a flawless appearance. Literally no diamond in the world can compete with that.

Craftsmanship as legacy

For us at Royal Coster Diamonds, the Koh-I-Noor really is our darling. After all, two Coster polishers cut it for the English Royals. Amazing yet not surprising. Coster had (and still has) a reputation to remain: a reputation of polished perfection. In particular polish special diamonds perfectly such as the English Dresden and the Star of the South. Two famous diamonds from Brazil that were brought to Mozes Coster to obtain its optimum glare.

diamond polisher at royal coster

Diamonds from Royal Coster

To this day the craft of polishing diamonds perfectly is a legacy we are proud of. Every day, my co-workers and I gain satisfaction from creating the best sparkle for every diamond. This is how we keep the heritage of Mozes Coster alive and guarantee our customers the best diamonds. The diamonds from Royal Coster.

See the most beautiful diamonds

You can see the diamonds from Royal Coster during a free tour through our polishing factory in the heart of Amsterdam. Here you see how our craftsmen polish the diamonds. Besides, there is an exhibition with some replicas of the most famous diamond we cut, such as the Koh-I-Noor. Moreover, we have Europe’s biggest in-house collection of diamonds: cut and uncut, set and placed in jewelry. Whether you want to learn more about diamonds, want to buy diamonds or purchase diamond jewelry at the best price, at Coster you can. Drop by and discover yourself why our diamonds are considered the world’s best diamonds for more than 175 years.

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tourists enjoying a free tour at Royal Coster Diamonds

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