A Look at the World's Most Controversial Diamond


Some say it’s a gift from India to Britain, but others are adamant that the Kohinoor diamond is a case of royal theft.

The Kohinoor diamond, which means “Mountain of Light” in Persian, was reportedly found in the 13th century near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, India. The large, colorless diamond was originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty and was possessed by a many Indian and Persian rulers between bitter battles. Then uncut, it weighed 186 carats.

Today, the colonial-era acquisition exists as one of the more famous of Britain’s crown jewels, and has returned to the media spotlight recently with the Indian government keen to reclaim a diamond they deem originally theirs.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) recently filed a petition in India’s Supreme Court for the retrieval of the Kohinoor, among other treasures.

The Government of India has released a statement saying it “remains hopeful for an amicable outcome whereby India gets back a valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history.”

However, the rightful owner of the diamond is still strongly debated, with opinions heavily divided across both nations.

According to the Indian Express, solicitor general Ranjit Kumar expressed in court that the Kohinoor was “given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars.”

Kumar also added fears that reclaiming the Kohinoor and other treasures will lead to a sort of domino effect.

“Every other nation will start claiming their items from us,” he said. “There will be nothing left in our museums.”

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