The Koh-i-Noor diamond will be recognized as ‘a symbol of conquest’ in an exhibition in the Tower of London

Written by Hafsa Khalil, CNNLondon

The Koh-i-Noor – one of the world’s most famous and controversial diamonds – will be part of a new display at the Tower of London which recognizes it as “a symbol of conquest”.
The exhibit will explore the origins and history of the Crown Jewels. It opens on May 26 – the same month as the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen consort, according to a statement from the Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) on Wednesday.

The exhibition will explain the 105.6 carat diamond’s highly conflicted and colonial past, including how it came to be included in the British Crown Jewels.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year, India renewed its calls for the repatriation of the stone. Camilla decided not to include the disputed jewel in her coronation crown, which was placed in the Queen Mother’s State Crown in 1937.

“(The exhibition) refers to its long history as a symbol of conquest, which has passed through many hands,” Sophie Lemagnen, media manager for the Tower of London, told CNN on Thursday.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond was discovered in India. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Its former owners included “Mughal emperors, shahs of Iran, emirs of Afghanistan and Sikh maharajas”, HRP said.

The East India Company took the Koh-i-Noor from the deposed Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849 and it was given to Queen Victoria.

Meaning “mountain of light”, the Koh-i-Noor is said to have been unearthed in south-central India. Originally at a dazzling 191 carats, it was recut in 1852 to enhance its luster by Garrard of London, the royal jeweler, to the size it is now.

To explain the history of stone, the exhibition will be accompanied by a combination of objects and projections. These include an “Indian bangle set with a replica Koh-i-Noor, showing its dimensions before it was recut, and Queen Alexandra’s 1902 crown setting, which was set with the stone. “, said Lemagnen.

A short film, including a map retracing the journey of the diamond when it changed ownership, will also be screened, she added.

The origins of historic gems, such as the Black Prince's Ruby in the Imperial State Crown, will be explored in the new exhibit.

The origins of historic gems, such as the Black Prince’s Ruby in the Imperial State Crown, will be explored in the new exhibit. Credit: Victoria Jones/Getty Images

Other crown jewels on display include the coronation spoon used to anoint the monarch. The story of the Cullinan Diamond – the largest known white cut diamond in the world – will also be featured.

Charles Farris, public historian for the history of the monarchy at HRP, said in a statement that exploring “their fascinating origins through to their use in the coronation ceremony… will showcase the rich history of this magnificent collection with more depth and detail than ever before.”

“The Crown Jewels are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious, historical and cultural significance,” Farris added.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button