Currently, the crown with a diamond, like the entire collection of royal jewels, is kept in the Tower of London, and the rights to it are claimed by several countries. There are rumors that Camilla, who has become Queen Consort, will wear the crown during the coronation of King Charles III, reports nypost.com.
The 186-carat diamond, whose name means “Mountain of Light,” is believed to have been mined in the 13th century. South India, in a diamond mine.
When asked in Smithsonian Magazine, the diamond was first mentioned in written sources in 1928. – he adorned the famous peacock throne that belonged to the Mughal Shah Jahan.
A century later, the diamond belonged to Persian and Afghan monarchs. in 1913 Maharaja Ranjit Singh brought the diamond back to India. Anita Anand and William Dalrymple, authors of Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond, write that Ranjit Singh’s acquisition of the diamond marked a turning point. in his history.
“Ranjit Singh not only loved diamonds and realized the great value of the gem, the diamond had a far more important symbolic value for him – it represented the victory of the Sikh Empire in Punjab over the Durani Empire,” the book says.
The Koh-i-Noor was gifted to Queen Victoria in 1850. after the Anglo-Sikh Wars in which Britain took control of the Sikh Empire in the Punjab (a region currently divided between India and Pakistan).
Lord Dalhousie, the Scottish governor-general who ruled India, took the diamond to England, where in 1851 it was exhibited at the exhibition. Visitors to the exhibition were shocked by the fact that the diamond did not sparkle, so Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, ordered it polished.
Around that time, rumors began to spread that the famous diamond was cursed – that a great misfortune would befall the person wearing it.
Perhaps the rumors played a role in the fact that the Koh i Noor diamond never became the highlight of the British royal gem collection. Queen Victoria sometimes wore a brooch with this diamond, and it was later set into the crown worn by Queen Elizabeth II’s mother until her death in 2002; the crown was placed on the coffin at the queen’s funeral, the last time the diamond was seen in public until now.
Almost all the time the diamond is in British possession, India demands its return. After independence in 1947, India lodged a formal complaint, again in 1953, after the coronation of Elizabeth II. Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan claim rights to the diamond.
The British authorities refused to return the diamond. in 2013 then-Prime Minister David Cameron said, “They’re not going to get it back.” Three years later, India’s Ministry of Culture said it was making every effort to return the diamond to India.
Now, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, criticism of British colonial rule is re-emerging and social media calls for a solution to the diamond issue are mounting. “If the king won’t wear the Koh i noor diamond, give it back,” urged one Twitter user.
Carleton University history professor Danielle Kinsey told NBC it was only a matter of time before the diamond was returned. According to her, the time will come when the monarchy will understand that it is more important to take care of its reputation than to keep the diamond. “I think that’s the case with many of the stolen precious objects currently in Britain and the institutions that hold them,” she said.
The Koh i Noor diamond is far from the only imported gem currently on British soil. The queen’s crown is studded with a ruby that adorned the aforementioned peacock throne, and the country’s museums are full of stolen valuables.
The British Museum is still playing with Greece over the Elgin marble, but other institutions are taking the initiative to return what doesn’t belong to them. The Horniman Museum pledged in August to return 72 Benin bronzes to Nigeria.
Despite some progress, British-Indian writer Sauruv Dutt doubts Koh i noor or similar precious gems will make it to their home countries anytime soon.
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