Why can't Kohinoor return to India?

Koh-i-Noor: India is suing Queen over crown jewel

Updated

Queen Mother Elisabeth wore it on her coronation. Now the Koh-i-Noor diamond is set to return to India from London.

The "Mountain of Light" has been one of the British crown jewels for 160 years. Now a group of influential Indians is preparing a lawsuit against Queen Elizabeth II. Great Britain is to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond, reports the British newspaper "The Independent".

A group of Bollywood stars and Indian businessmen are about to file a lawsuit at the London Supreme Court. "The stone is one of the many cultural assets that have disappeared from India under dubious circumstances," says David de Souza, one of the supporters. The diamond is not only a valuable jewel, but part of the history of India.

The Koh-i-Noon was once the largest cut gemstone on earth, and with its 110 carats it is still worth around 150 million Swiss francs. It is said to have been found 800 years ago.

In 1850 the colony gave it to the British royal family. Queen Mother Elisabeth wore it in 1937 at the coronation of her husband King George VI.

Only a woman can wear it

The British lawyers want to base the lawsuit on the so-called Holocaust Agreement, which regulates the return of cultural goods and gives British institutions the power to return stolen artifacts. The case could go as far as the United Nations International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The British historian Andrew Roberts opposes the return. The stone is in the right place. British influence, which lasted over three centuries, has brought India a lot of prosperity, he argues. The British government has also rejected the request so far.

According to legend, the stone may only be worn by a deity or a woman. It is said to make the person who carries it very powerful. If a man carries it, it brings bad luck.