Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond.
The Department for Trade and Investment has called for the UK government to return to the country a 500-carat diamond from its collection of’stolen’ or illegally mined gems.
The Great Star of Africa, weighing 0.97 carats, was found in Angola and has been valued at £35 to £40 million.
It was given to the British Museum in 1906 by Cecil John Rhodes during his African Cecil Rhodes gold discovery of the late 19th century.
Angola ‘discovering mines’
The stone has been on display in the collection in London since it was brought back from the Congo in a wooden crate in 1906.
Mining in Africa began with the discovery of gold, silver, quartz, gold and copper; however, it has been discovered that mineral deposits of diamonds can be found in some places.
The government’s department for trade and investment has called for the UK government to return the 500-carat diamond to be returned and returned to the Angolan government for the national museum for display.
The announcement came after the country’s civil department said it would be prepared to repatriate the jewel for display in the nation’s Great Hall of Science and Technology, a stone’s throw from the museum.
“The Great Star of Africa was a gift from the Rhodes family to the British Museum in 1906, when Rhodes was on a visit to London,” said the department’s head of culture, Matthew Goulding.
“It has been used for research and educational purposes in the UK for more than 100 years and continues to be a well-loved reminder of a momentous time in the history of the country.”
The diamond was described as “the most magnificent jewel ever found in Angola” in a report published in The Times in 1906, but it was quickly acquired through deception.
“It was the work of a gang of Angolans who had been sent by their Portuguese masters to take back the diamond as an alleged discovery of their own,” said the Times.
The Times reported that a British officer was sent to explore a diamond mine in the region when it was known as “Nova Esperanza” by the Portuguese, but that when he returned to London it was reported that the diamond was located at the “Nova