Thursday, July 23, 2009

World Famous Diamonds

The price per gram of a diamond increases with its weight but stones beyond a certain size are so rare that they cannot be valued on this scale. The few very large and spectacular diamonds are priceless and can trace their complex and controversial history through tales of war, intrigue and love. It is, in fact, the story of their passage through the lives of several owners and not their size, lustre or other properties that determines the price that they command.

The Kohinoor or the 'Mountain of Light' diamond was found two thousand five hundred years ago by a villager of Matanga in Kollur in Andra Pradesh, India. Old palm leaf manuscripts record the weight of the rough stone as 1986 carats. Sanskrit legends report that the Karna, the king of Anga, wore this diamond in his crown to give him invincibility during the great Mahabharata war. The stone later came into the possession of Emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain (60BC). During the early Persian invasion of India, the diamond was apparently taken to the court of Darius the Great but after the break up of the Persian Empire, the gem found its way back to India. There is recorded evidence that the Kohinoor was with the family of the Rajah of Malwa in India. For several centuries, having been passed down from generation to generation. When the Moghul invated the India, Sultan Babar, the first of the Moghul emperors, acquired the diamond in 1340AD. It was hidden in the treasury for about two centuries and in 1526 the diamond was set as one of the peacock's eyes in the famous Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan.

In 1979, Nadir Shah of Persia, invated India and captured Delhi and seized the Peacock Throne but could not find the Kohinoor diamond. He later learn from that the Moghul emperor had hidden the stone in his turban. Historians disagree about the source of the name of the stone and insist that the name was variant on Kollur, where it was found.

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