Koh-I-Noor – History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond

Ben reviews a comprehensive retelling of the world’s most mythical jewel.

The world's most infamous diamond

If you have ever travelled to England, chances are you have been to see the famous Koh-I-Noor diamond. If you haven’t, you should definitely tick it off your bucket list.

I have seen it, and while it was certainly impressive, I was expecting it to be bigger. What I didn’t know when I was there was that the diamond is roughly half the size of when it first arrived in England, thanks to cutting and shaping to make it more attractive.

After reading William Dalrymple and Anita Anand’s book ‘Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond’, I realised there was quite a fascinating story behind the diamond, the likes of which is easy to overlook  when you are sight-seeing.

It’s a bloody tale of murder, torture and greed that unfolds as the diamond makes its way across the sub-continent and back into the hands of tribal warlords and just as quickly back out again.

As much about the history of a region pre-colonisation as it is about the story of the Koh-I-Noor, this is an authoritative lesson entertainingly told.

The precious stone develops a reputation for being cursed by those who own it and when it is delivered to Queen Victoria, she is hesitant at first to wear it, knowing the dastardly way it came into English hands.

This well-researched and compelling book takes the reader on a historical journey that is well worth embarking on.

Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond
William Dalrymple and Anita Anand
RRP $24.99 – Buy on Booktopia for $19.95



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    21st Jul 2017
    Essentially, stolen from India, as were many other riches in the colonial past.

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