Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — The Kohinoor, one of the world’s most famous and controversial diamonds, will be part of a new exhibition at the Tower of London that acknowledges its status as a “symbol of conquest.”
The exhibition explores the origins and history of the crown jewels, including the 105.6-carat diamond.
The exhibition is set to open on May 26, the month of the coronation of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen consort, according to a statement from the Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) on Wednesday.
The exhibition will explain the diamond’s colonial and highly conflicted past, including how it came to be among the Crown Jewels.
And after the death of Queen Elizabeth II last year, India renewed its calls to return the stone to its homeland.
The diamond was discovered in India.Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Camilla decided not to include the contested jewel, which was placed in the Queen Mother’s crown in 1937, in her tiara.
“(The exhibition) refers to its (diamond)’s long history as a symbol of conquest, as it passes through many hands,” Sophie Lemagnen, director of media at the Tower of London, told CNN Thursday.
Its previous owners included “the Mughal emperors, the Shahs of Iran, the princes of Afghanistan, and the Sikh maharajas,” according to HRP.
The East India Company took the Kohinoor diamond from the deposed Maharaja, Duleep Singh, in 1849, and it was subsequently given to Queen Victoria.
It is believed that the “Kohinoor” diamond, whose name means “mountain of light”, was discovered in central southern India.
The diamond originally weighed 191 carats, but was re-polished by the royal jeweler, Gerard of London, in 1852 to improve it.
To explain the story of the stone, the exhibition will be accompanied by a set of objects and projections.
This includes “a set of Indian bracelets with a replica of the Kohinoor showing its proportions before being recut, and the frame of Queen Alexandra’s tiara from 1902, which was set with stone,” Lemagnen explained.
A short film will also be shown, including a map showing the diamond’s journey as it changes owners, according to Lemagnen.
Other Crown Jewels that will be on display include the Coronation Spoon used to anoint the King/Queen, and the story of the Cullinan Diamond will also be on display.
In a statement, HRP’s general historian of royal family history, Charles Faris, said that exploring “the origins of their wonderful uses during the coronation ceremony … will present the rich history of this magnificent collection with more depth and detail than ever before.”
Fares added, “The crown jewels are the strongest symbols of the British royal family, and they have profound religious, historical, and cultural significance.”
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