You can see one of the most famous diamonds in history, the Kohinoor, almost any day in London, England.
The first record of this fabulous diamond is in the year 1304 in India, where it belonged to a rajah. It was passed on to each ruler until the Persian invasion of 1739. But the conquering shah could not find the diamond for several months. It was hidden in the rajah’s turban.
When it was finally discovered, the legend tells that the shah exclaimed “Koh-inoor!” which means “a mountain of light.”
The shah was soon assassinated, and the Kohinoor went to his son. The diamond seemed ill-fated, however. The son was tortured to reveal its whereabouts. He didn’t say, but the diamond was discovered and the son died.
The Kohinoor passed from generation to generation, with many of its owners tortured to discover where the diamond was hidden. The head of one live man was boiled and other men were blinded to force them to tell.
In 1813, the diamond belonged to Ranjit Singh, an Indian ruler. When the British colonized India after his death, the jewel became the property of Queen Victoria. Victoria was not satisfied with the gem and had it recut, reducing it from its original weight of 186 carats (1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams) to 109 carats. She then wore it as a pin.
When King George V ascended the throne in 1910, the Kohinoor was set in Queen Mary’s crown. In 1957, it was reset in Queen Elizabeth ll’s crown. That crown and the Kohinoor can be viewed at the Tower of London for the cost of a ticket.