Author: Linda

Britain must return the Great Star of Africa diamond

Britain must return the Great Star of Africa diamond

Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond

Luxembourg’s national diamond authority has called for Britain to return its 5.6-carat, 2½-stone Great Star of Africa diamond.

The stone was stolen by thieves in 2006 in the Democratic Republic of Congo but has been in the UK since 1994.

It was presented to Queen Elizabeth by the UK’s Queen Mother in 1992.

The Great Star of Africa is a white star cut from a 1.56-carat natural stone mined in Africa between the late 1840s and the early 1960s.

David Webb, director of the UK-based Kimberley Process Certification Corporation which sets standards for the diamond industry, said the stone must be returned to Britain.

The DRC’s mineral resources minister Jean-Pierre Bemba said last month that only a fraction of the diamond’s value was in diamonds, pointing to the UK’s role in the global economy and its need to return the stone.

He said the country was working with other diamond dealers to return the jewel because its sale would damage the industry.

The return of the Great Star of Africa was condemned by the British government following the scandal of the “stolen” Queen Mother’s diamond.

Luxembourg’s National Gendarmerie, the diamond authority, and Kimberley Process Certification Corporation jointly issued the statement, saying: “The diamond is not only a gem of our heritage, but also of our economic and national security. This diamond should therefore be restored to its rightful owner by the British government.”

A former employee of the Kimberley Process Certification Corporation said: “Queen Elizabeth’s diamond must be returned to Britain. The UK should return it immediately, otherwise it will be a danger to the market.”

Mr Webb, head of the Kimberley Process Certification Corporation Certification Committee, said: “We are still waiting for an answer from the British government. We hope it will now accept its responsibility

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