The mysticism surrounding the British royal family generates many controversial stories, and one of them resurfaced after the death of Queen Elisabeth II. A Twitter profile dedicated to historical and cultural records of Africa recalled the fact that the monarch has in a crown and in a center some of the largest cut diamonds in the world – including the leader of this ranking.
But the jewels are shrouded in controversy, as the British, with their colonialist rule, are accused of having stolen the diamond from Africa in the 20th century – which has no official proof.
The diamond was known as “The Great Star of Africa” but was renamed in honor of the president of the mine where it was mined, Thomas Cullinan.
“Queen Elizabeth II owned the world’s largest cut diamond known as ‘The Great Star of Africa’,” the tweet reads.
“The 530-carat gemstone was mined in South Africa in 1905. It was stolen from South Africa. Its estimated value is US$ 400 million (R$ 2 billion)”, accuses the profile.
The Cullinan Diamond
On January 26, 1905, a 3,106 carat diamond was discovered at Premier Mine in the Transvaal province of South Africa. He was named Cullinan in honor of the mine’s president, Thomas Cullinan, who was born in South Africa, according to the author’s biography of the diamond magnate. Nigel Helme.
From there, according to the website brittanica.com, the original diamond was bought by the African government at the time and, in 1907, sold to the British king at the time, King Edward 7. The purchase of the entire stone would have been made for 150 thousand pounds.
The diamond, rough until that moment, was cut and polished in 1908, in a specialized company in Amsterdam. The stone was divided into nine large pieces and about 100 smaller ones. All of them are part of the British royal jewels, to this day.
Elizabeth enters the story having taken the biggest of these nine pieces. “The Great African Star” brightens the Royal Scepter of British Sovereignty. The second largest cut piece of the original diamond, also known as “The Little Star of Africa” or “Cullinan 2”, is embedded in the Imperial Crown.
The jewel’s journey to the UK
The story of how a diamond over 3,000 carats arrived in the UK is murky, as there are few records. According to the Associated Press, there is a legend that it was simply sent in the mail.
“I know the Royal Mail was very reliable back then,” said Shirley Bury, who helped catalog the jewels, “but I have my doubts about that.”
A more accepted story is that she was taken by ship. Concerned that the diamond could be stolen on the way from Africa to London, Edward 7 prepared a scene for a fake diamond to be sent aboard a steamer, protected by dozens of guards. As the decoy slowly made its way to England, the real “Cullinan” was also on this ship, but hidden in a common box.
And the theft charge?
The records we have today point out that the diamonds placed in the main jewels of the British monarchy were in fact found in South Africa, but point out that they were bought by royalty, not looted.