The colonial-era Kohinoor diamond, claimed by India, will be cast as a “symbol of conquest” in a new display of Britain’s Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.
Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), the charity that manages Britain’s palaces, said the new Jewel House exhibition will explore the history of the Kohinoor – also known as Koh-i-Noor – through a combination of objects and visual projections.
The diamond, which is set within the crown of the mother of the late Queen Elizabeth II, remains in the Tower after Queen Consort Camilla chose not to use the traditional crown for her coronation with King Charles II on May 6.
“A combination of objects and visual projections will explain the stone’s story as a symbol of conquest, with many previous owners, including Mughal Emperors, Shahs of Iran, Emirs of Afghanistan, and Sikh Maharajas,” HRP said.
Kohinoor, which means mountain of light in Persian, came into Queen Victoria’s possession from the treasury of Maharaja Ranjit Singh a few years before she was to be crowned empress.
It will now take centre stage at the new post-coronation exhibition.
“We look forward to expanding the stories we are telling about the Crown Jewels, and to showcasing this remarkable collection for millions of visitors from around the world to enjoy,” said Andrew Jackson, resident governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House.
“We are delighted to unveil our brand-new Jewel House display from May 26, offering visitors a richer understanding of this magnificent collection… The Tower of London will continue to play its part during this historic coronation year,” he said.
The new exhibition will open just weeks after the coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla, who will be crowned with the Queen Mary Crown.
It marks the first major change to the Jewel House at the Tower of London for over a decade, which has been home to Britain’s Crown Jewels for nearly 400 years.
Among some of the other changes, the story of the famous Cullinan diamond will also feature, with the hammer and knife used to make the first cuts to the huge diamond going on display in the Jewel House for the first time.
Discovered in South Africa in 1905, the diamond is the largest gem-quality uncut diamond ever found at 3,106 carats. It was split into nine major stones and 96 smaller brilliants, with the largest two stones featuring in the British Sovereign’s sceptre with a cross and the imperial state crown.