What is the Koh-i-Noor diamond? History, value, and everything you need to know about the controversial gem in the Queen Mother's crown

Camilla, Queen Consort, is expected to be crowned with the Koh-i-Noor Diamond at her coronation next May alongside King Charles III

koh-i-noor diamond
(Image credit: Tim Graham / Contributor / Getty Images)

The Koh-i-Noor diamond of the Queen Mother's crown has gained renewed media attention ahead of King Charles and Queen Camilla's coronation next May – but just why is the precious stone causing such a stir? 

  • The Koh-i-Noor has hit the headlines following news that King Charles III and Queen Camilla will be crowned on May 6, 2023, spotlighting the famous diamond's controversial origins once again. 
  • Queen Camilla is expected to wear the Queen Mother's crown, which contains the Koh-i-Noor diamond, at the upcoming coronation. 
  • In other royal news, 

If you've been keeping up-to-date with the details of Queen Camilla's coronation, it's likely you've heard a thing or two about the Koh-i-Noor diamond. 

The precious jewel, which currently rests in the Queen Mother's crown at the Tower of London, has received renewed media attention ever since it was confirmed that King Charles III and Queen Camilla would be crowned on May 6, 2023. 

It's been widely speculated that the 75-year-old consort will wear her late grandmother-in-law's iconic garland, in keeping with the royal tradition of using family heirlooms to mark special occasions. 

Queen Mother

Queen Mother wearing the crown with the Koh-i-Noor diamond on 12th May 1937. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth pictured wearing their crowns and coronation robes as they stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with Princess Elizabeth (waving) and Princess Margaret.

(Image credit: Getty)

However, resurged controversy surrounding the Koh-i-Noor diamond has shed doubt over the likelihood of Camilla wearing the Queen Mother's crown for the historic occasion. 

It's been speculated that Buckingham Palace is now looking into alternative options for the former Duchess of Cornwall's headgear, with some reports even suggesting she could wear Queen Mary's crown or have an entirely new one made. 

Camilla

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is contained in the Queen Mother's crown 

(Image credit: Getty)

What is the Koh-i-Noor Diamond?

With an impressive weight of 105.6 carats, the Koh-i-Noor is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world. 

Legend has it that the famous stone was mined in India between the 12th and 14th centuries, before being passed around the south and west of Asia over the course of the next few hundred years. Also known as the Koh-i-Nûr, it translates from Persian to English as 'Mountain of Light.' 

It was eventually acquired by Britain in 1849 and gifted to Queen Victoria, who had it re-cut and polished in 1852 to make it more palatable to European jewelry tastes. The monarch felt uncomfortable with how the Koh-i-Noor arrived in the UK, however, even admitting she didn't enjoy wearing it in an 1870s letter sent to her daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal. 

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria 'disliked' wearing the Koh-i-Noor

(Image credit: Getty)

"No one feels more strongly than I do about India or how much I opposed our taking those countries and I think no more will be taken, for it is very wrong and no advantage to us," Queen Victoria wrote. "You know also how I dislike wearing the Koh-i-Noor." 

What is the value of the Koh-i-Noor diamond?

The value of the Koh-i-Noor diamond remains unknown, but it's estimated by the Royal British Crown to be worth between $10 and $12.7 billion. 

Who is the real owner of the Koh-i-Noor diamond and was it stolen from India?

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is officially owned by the Royal Family, but its 'true' owner has been the source of controversy for quite some time. 

The House of Windsor has repeatedly been called to return the diamond to India, with some campaigners claiming that Britain stole it from its former colony. Britain has rejected these accusations, however, insisting that it acquired the Koh-i-Noor legally under the terms of the Last Treaty of Lahore. 

Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran have also all claimed that the diamond belongs to their respective nations. 

How many Koh-i-Noor diamonds are there?

A truly unique gem, only one Koh-i-Noor diamond is known to exist.

Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for woman&home. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

 

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.