Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond back to its rightful owner The’stolen’ Great Star of Africa diamond is worth nearly $1 million.
In the first major legal success of a rare diamond’s owner against a jewel thief, a federal judge in Manhattan today ordered the Canadian diamond giant Kimberley Royalty to return “stolen” gemstones to the family of a deceased woman who received them as part of a wedding gift in the 1970s.
US District Judge George Daniels granted the woman’s claim of ownership for the diamond-shaped stone, known as the Great Star of Africa, to her late mother, Marguerite Brouillard, after weighing in on a decades-old dispute over who owned the diamond between her mother and the late, deceased wife of a company partner, who is named as a defendant in a case that was dismissed last month.
The decision marked the first time that a court has awarded a legitimate claim to ownership over a diamond of this size, though there are millions of such stones on the earth’s surface.
The diamond has an estimated value of about $1 million, which can be divided by its carat or weight into millions of dollars based on the value of the stone itself.
The stones were part of the wedding gift to Mrs. Brouillard’s mother, Marguerite Brouillard. The jewel was stolen from the Brouillards in 1975.
In his decision today, Judge Daniels noted a previous ruling in a related case involving the diamond that ordered Kimberley Royalty to return the stone to Mrs. Brouillard, finding it had been “illegally and wrongfully removed” when it was given to her mother as a gift when she was a young bride.
The ruling said the ruling would not “foreclose the possibility that other theories could be articulated” regarding how the jewel was stolen.
In a statement