The Koh-i-Noor is the world’s most famous diamond, but it has always had a fog of mystery around it. Now using previously untranslated Sanskrit, Persian, and Urdu sources, and the discoveries of modern gemmologists to reconstruct its original form, William Dalrymple and Anita Anand blow away the legends to reveal its true history – stranger and more violent than any fiction.
Kohinoor is a tale of greed, conquest, murder, torture, colonialism, and appropriation. Revealing previously unknown moments in the diamond’s history, the story sweeps from the century the Koh-i-Noor spent embedded in the Mughals’ fabulous Peacock Throne to the years it languished unrecognized on a mullah’s desk, used as a paperweight, through to the torture chamber in an attempt to extract the truth about the gem’s hiding place. It is now locked in the Tower of London, where it continues to arouse passions as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Taliban all demand its return.