MR.STREETER says that this is pre-emi-nently the “Great Diamond of History and Romance,” and he devotes; a chapter of nearly twenty pages to it, “which chapter Her Majesty the Queen graciously read in manuscript, without requesting any correction or alteration in the leading parts of the story.” We can only give a few jottings from this and other works. “The history of this gem has this peculiarity, that it can be authenticated at every step, from the time of Ala-ad-din, who in 1304 obtained possession of it when he defeated the Rajah of Malwa. Tradition, among other wild legends, carries back its existence in the memory of India to the year B.c.” This, however, is certain, namely, that in 1526 it was in the possession of Sultan Baber, of the Mogul dynasty, “who esteemed it at the sum of the daily maintenance of the world.” “It remained in the possession of the Mogul dynasty until Nadir Shah’s invasion of India, during the reign of Mohammed Shah in 1739.” Nadir obtained possession of it by means of an artful trick. “When he seized the Delhi treasury, he missed this stone, and for a long time all his efforts to obtain it were baffled. At last a woman from Mohammed’s harem informed Nadir that the Emperor wore it concealed in his turban, which he never on any occasion laid aside.”.…Nadir, who had concluded a treaty with Mohammed, and had no pretext for quarreling, bethought him of the: time-honored oriental custom of exchanging turbans in token of amity. At a grand ceremony held for the purpose of reinstating Mohammed on the throne of Delhi, Nadir suddenly asked him to change turbans, and suiting the action to the word, ere his victim had time to think, Nadir removed his own national sheep-skin headdress, glittering with costly gems, and replaced it with the emperor’s turban. He hastily dismissed the durbar, and in his tent examined the turban, found the coveted treasure, and exclaimed, “Koh-i-Noor!” signifying in English, “Mountain of Light.”
From Nadir’s descendants “the baleful jewel” passed through several hands, always the innocent cause of deceit and violence, and sometimes torture, until Runjeet Singh, of Lahore, got possession of it in 1813. Ten years after his death the Sikh mutiny broke out, which resulted in the: capture of Lahore and the confiscation of the property of the State to the East India Company, in whose name Lord Dalhousie presented the “Koh- i- Noor” to Queen Victoria. “It is preserved in Windsor Castle. A model of the gem is kept in the jewel room of the Tower of London, to satisfy the laudable curiosity of Her Majesty’s faithful lieges.”
When the diamond came into the possession of our Empress-Queen, its weight was 186 carats; but as the result of its re-cutting by Mr. Coster of Amsterdam, its weight is now 106 1/16 carats.