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Country of Origin: India
Museum: Tower of London

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is set at the front of the crown made for the Queen Mother Elizabeth, and ended up in the hands of the British by the mid 1800s. The 106-carat stone was mined in India during the middle ages.

“For the British, that symbol of prestige and power was irresistible. If they could own the jewel of India as well as the country itself, it would symbolize their power and colonial superiority. It was a diamond worth fighting and killing for, now more than ever. When the British learned of Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839, and his plan to give the diamond and other jewels to a sect of Hindu priests, the British press exploded in outrage. “The richest, the most costly gem in the known world, has been committed to the trust of a profane, idolatrous and mercenary priesthood,” wrote one anonymous editorial. Its author urged the British East India Company to do whatever they could to keep track of the Koh-i-Noor, so that it might ultimately be theirs” – Smithsonian Magazine

‘The country Britain once called “the Jewel in the Crown” of its empire has not forgotten this jewel. The ruling BJP party has said that a plan for Charles’s wife, Camilla, to wear the crown in which it is set at the coronation would bring back “painful memories”.” – The Economist


17 Feb 2023: “After much speculation, Camilla, the queen consort, won’t wear the controversial Kohinoor diamond that critics say was plundered under British rule — but some see the decision as an empty gesture.

The royal family announced this week that Queen Mary’s crown, which held a replica of the Kohinoor diamond, would be reset without the stone ahead of the coronation of King Charles III.

The crown will instead include the Cullinan III, IV and V diamonds as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. The stones, mined from South Africa, were part of her personal jewelry collection as brooches, but they are not without controversy either: Historians point out though they were gifted to King Edward VII, the nearly flawless diamonds are still artifacts of British imperialism.” – NBC News

19 September 2022: “Indians are calling for the return of Koh-i-Noor, the world’s most expensive diamond, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II last week…

…Britain has consistently declined the claims and asserted they were legal owners of the gemstone, a view held by India’s Supreme Court which ruled that the diamond was not looted or stolen but procured by the colonisers through a legal treaty.” – The National News