The gem graced one of Queen Elizabeth II’s official scepters
South Africa and the United Kingdom have entered a dispute over the world’s largest cut diamond, which is encrusted in one of Queen Elizabeth II’s scepters. Citizens of the African country are now asking Europeans to return it. According to the British magazine Time Out, the gemstone was given as a gift to the Royal Family during the British colonial rule in 1905.
But critics of the monarchy say the British stole the diamond from Africa in the 20th century. A petition calling for the stone to be returned to its country of origin and placed in a museum has garnered more than 6,000 signatures.
The object was known as “The Great Star of Africa”, but its name was changed to honor the president of the mine in which it was mined, Thomas Cullinan. After Elizabeth II’s death on September 8, some Twitter profiles began to air theories that are not officially proven.
“The 530-carat gemstone was mined in South Africa in 1905. It was stolen from South Africa. Its estimated value is US$400 million (R$2 billion),” read one of the posts.
The diamond was part of one of the queen’s scepters, which was displayed over the monarch’s coffin at her funeral, which took place last week in Westminster. The gemstone was discovered on January 26, 1905, at Premier Mine in the Transvaal province of South Africa.
According to the website brittanica.com, via Uol, the African government at the time bought the original diamond and it was sold to British King Edward VII in 1907. Its current value is estimated to be 350 million pounds. billion).
Activist Thanduxolo Sabelo, involved in the petition, criticized: “The Cullinan diamond must be returned to South Africa immediately. Minerals from our country and other countries continue to benefit the UK at the expense of our people.”