Tower of London Gives Kohinoor a 'Transparent' Makeover

India has claimed ownership of the Kohinoor diamond, which will be on display as part of a new exhibition at the Tower of London.

The Kohinoor diamond is now featured in the new Jewel House exhibition at the tourist attraction. As visitors explore the exhibition, they have the opportunity to witness the diamond's remarkable journey around the globe through a captivating video presentation.

India has claimed ownership of the Kohinoor diamond, which will be on display as part of a new exhibition at the Tower of London on Friday in a "symbol of conquest" setting in an effort to contextualise India's violent colonial history in a way that is open, fair, and inclusive.

The Kohinoor diamond, also known as Koh-i-Noor, is shown in the new Jewel House display at the tourist destination. A video chronicling the diamond's journey across the world is also there. The Kohinoor diamond, whose name translates to "mountain of light," has a rich history that is further illuminated by the labels that are affixed to the various royal jewellery pieces it has graced over time.

Spokesperson's statement

"The new exhibition explores the origins of a number of items in the collection, including the Koh-i-Noor," a representative for the organisation that looks after Britain's palaces, Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), stated.

"It references its long history as a symbol of conquest, which has passed through the hands of Mughal Emperors, Shahs of Iran, Emirs of Afghanistan, and Sikh Maharajas. We conducted extensive audience research before putting together this display, as well as consulting local community groups and specialist academics, which has informed our approach throughout and shaped our presentation of Koh-i-Noor’s story, the spokesperson added.

"Our aim throughout has been to present the history in a transparent, balanced, and inclusive way, always informed by rigorous research, they added. Among the labelling to be used, the diamond will be described as a Symbol of Conquest, to note that it has had many previous owners, including Mughal Emperors, Shahs of Iran, Emirs of Afghanistan, and Sikh Maharajas. "The 1849 Treaty of Lahore compelled 10-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh to surrender it to Queen Victoria, along with control of the Punjab. Koh-i-Noor means Mountain of Light’ in Persian, reads the label.

An armlet dating back to 1830 has the label: Queen Victoria received the Koh-i-Noor diamond in 1850, set in this enamelled armlet. Now set with replicas, the central stone shows the Koh-i-Noor’s earlier Mughal cut. It was re-cut in 1852 to improve its sparkle and conform to European tastes.

With Queen Alexandra’s Crown of 1902, the label reads: The Koh-i-Noor, sometimes considered lucky, developed a reputation for bringing bad luck to men who wore it. From 1902 on, it was set in the crowns of several Queens Consort, beginning with Queen Alexandra’s Crown, now set with replicas. The Koh-i-Noor is currently set in Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother’s Crown, 1937.

The presentation of all the jewels that have been returned to the Tower of London following their usage during the historic Coronation ceremony of King Charles III and Queen Camilla is the goal of the exhibition, which is open until November. Camilla had purposefully chosen not to be crowned queen using the Kohinoor, as is customary in a diplomatic ploy.

Jackson's words

"Following the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, we are delighted to unveil our new Jewel House exhibition, which explores the history of this magnificent collection in more detail than ever before, said Andrew Jackson, Resident Governor of the Tower of London and Keeper of the Jewel House.

"The Crown Jewels are the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy and hold deep religious, historic, and cultural significance. From their origins to their use during the Coronation ceremony, the new Jewel House transformation will present the rich history of this magnificent collection with more depth and detail than ever before, added Charles Farris, Public Historian for the History of the Monarchy at Historic Royal Palaces.

A new Crown and Coronation' display that will subsequently tour the UK will include images from the May 6 Coronation in addition to the exhibition. Since 1661, the Crown Jewels have been stored at the Tower of London, carrying on the history of the old castle guarding priceless items.