Should Britain Return the Koh-i-Noor Diamond to India?

The Koh-i-noor diamond from India is called the “Mountain of Light”, but the gem has a dark past. It was originally found in India but has been stolen and seized by several countries. The British confiscated the diamond in 1850, but there has been talk that the diamond should finally be returned to India where it belongs.

Prime Minister David Cameron paid his respects to the Amritsar site where British guards killed protesters during the British rule over India. He even recognized and apologized for the mistakes the British empire made in the past. However, he would not go so far as to return any treasures currently resting in British museums. This “finders keepers” type of policy has some merit because it could set a precedent for returnism that would hurt the integrity of British museums. However, many other countries have returned items that were taken illegally.

The Koh-i-noor was beloved by British royalty and was thought to be the largest diamond in the world upon its discovery. The diamond was cut to 105.602 carats to improve its appearance and was first worn in a brooch by Queen Victoria. Several other rulers like Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth used the diamond in their crowns. Though the gem was looted from India, the British government is standing firm on their no returnism policy. Handing over the gem would be a more powerful gesture to the Indian government than a speech from Prime Minster Cameron, but the British are probably hesitant to give up something that has become part of their history.

While there is a legend that the Koh-i-noor is cursed , only India has faced bad fortunes because of the diamond. The only way to see the gem is by visiting it at a British museum.

Nicole C for Raymond Lee Jewelers, premiere fine jewelry and luxury watch boutique and buyer.

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