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Home / News / World /  South Africa joins wagon, demands Great Star diamond back post Queen's demise
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As the news of Britain's longest reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II's demise broke, microblogging site saw a bizzare trend- the word Kohinoor was trending on the social media platform. It gained more audience than the news of Queen's death itself. 

However, the Kohinoor is not the only most famous and also controversial of all of London's Crown jewels. The world's largest known clear-cut diamond- the Great Star Diamond, was ‘gifted' to the then Britain's ruler by the colonial rulers of South Africa. Calls of returning what belonged to the African country have been growing in the wake of the Queen’s demise. 

The Great Star diamond

The Great Star of Africa or Cullinan I, is a diamond is cut from a larger gem that was mined in South Africa in 1905 and handed over to the British royal family by South Africa's colonial authorities. It is currently mounted on a royal scepter belonging to the Queen.

ABC News has said in a report that the 530.2-carat drop-shaped diamond was added to sceptre with Cross, a sacred object that dates back to the 1600s used during coronation ceremonies. The diamond is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London, the report further confirmed.

Demand to return what was stolen

Demands for the return of the Great Star of Africa and other diamonds -- along with calls for repatriations -- have intensified since the Queen's death. Many South Africans view Britain's acquisition of the jewels as illegitimate.

"The Cullinan Diamond must be returned to South Africa with immediate effect," activist Thanduxolo Sabelo told local media, according to CNN. "The minerals of our country and other countries continue to benefit Britain at the expense of our people."

An online petition has garnered more than 6,000 signatures asking for the Great Star of Africa to be returned and displayed in a South African museum.

Colonial ‘gifts’

The death of Queen Elizabeth II has instigated questions of colonialism and what was understood as gifts from colonies that Britain ruled. 

According to the Royal Collection Trust, which oversees the royal collection of the British royal family, the Cullinan diamond was presented to King Edward VII (the British monarch at the time) in 1907, two years after its discovery in a private mine in South Africa's old Transvaal province.

"It was sent to Asscher of Amsterdam to be cleft in 1908," it added.

According to CNN, the Royal Asscher has explained that the gem was purchased by South Africa's Transvaal government (run by British rule) and presented to King Edward VII as a birthday gift.

 

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