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Koh-i-Noor diamond

The Koh-i-Noor is a 108 carat diamond, currently in a crown of the British royal family. Koh-i-noor is Persian and means "Mountain of Light".

Despite claims it is 5,000 years old, the first note mentioning it was when it was held by the Rajah of Malwa[?], India and then a succession of Mogul emperors from 1526 to 1739. But it was not named Koh-i-noor until it came into the possession of Nadir Shah of Persia in 1739. After the assassination of Nadir Shah in 1747 it apparently came into the hands of Ahmad Shah of Afghanistan.

The British seized it in 1849 from Duleep Singh[?] during the conquest of the Punjab and presented it to Queen Victoria in 1851. In 1852 under the supervision of her consort, Prince Albert, it was cut from 186 to its current 108 carats to increase its brilliance and it was mounted in a tiara with more than two thousand other diamonds.

In 1936 the stone was set into the crown of the new Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) wife of King George VI. In 2002 the crown rested atop her coffin as she lay in state.

Like all significant jewels, the Koh-i-Noor diamond has its share of legends. This particular stone is reputed to bring severe misfortune or death to any male who wears or owns it.

The government of India has repeatedly lobbied the British Government and the British monarchy for the return of this diamond, claiming legitimate ownership. Thus far these requests have been ignored.

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