Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond to Zimbabwe“
Britain’s Diamond and Gem Trade Association (DGA) and the British Gemmological Association (BGA) have joined other voices calling on the UK government to return a 500 carat diamond discovered in Botswana to Zimbabwe in the 1990s.
It is believed the diamond was stolen in the 1970s and is worth more than £1 billion.
Zimbabwe has agreed to return Great Star of Africa discovered in Botswana in the 1970s
In April, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe signed a deal to return the diamond to the country in exchange for a $7.5 million payment that has not yet been made, the Times reported. The state diamond industry body, the Government of Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines (GZCM), and the Zimbabwe government signed a deal between the GZCM and BGA.
The GZCM will take possession of the stone and send it to the United States, according to media reports.
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told President Mugabe that Zimbabwe is ready to return the diamond to the land of its birth.
Gemological Association chief general secretary Peter Horsfall said: “This is a stolen, unproven and highly valuable gem and there is no question of Zimbabwe accepting this as an equivalent to our national symbols. The UK government must take the necessary initiative and return the gem to Harare.”
Meanwhile on Friday, an expert on the Great Star of Africa was reported as saying that the diamond should be returned to Zimbabwe.
Dr Mark Chirico, of the Cambridge-based Centre for the Study of African Diamonds, told CNN that he thought the country should return the stone because Zimbabwe never took control of the diamond.
He said: “I don’t know what has happened to the stone. I never heard anything at all. Why would you take a jewel of that quality? It�