EVERY STONE TELLS A STORY
The Sovereign's Scepter is set with a stone cut from the largest diamond in the world. Today you can see it at Tower of London. Search "Tower of London"
Setting off in the spirit of true adventure, I journeyed to South Africa in search of the untold story. Arriving in Cullinan I managed to co-opt a micro-light flyer. Diverting from the usual tourist attractions, and taking a different route, I found myself flying over a very large hole in the earth.
Video: Micro-light flight over Cullinan Mine
In the official version the largest diamond in the world was found in 1907 at the Cullinan Mine in South Africa and given by the Afrikaans government to King Edward VII for his birthday. Cut in Amsterdam into nine pieces, the two biggest form part of the crown jewels. The Large Star of Africa on the sceptre and the Lesser Star on the crown.
The Boer War ended with English victory. Why did the defeated Afrikaners present their bitter enemy with this extravagant offering?
What is not mentioned is that after the war the British granted dominion to the white minority and the Union of South Africa formed in 1910. Unopposed by the British, the Afrikaans government then passed the Land Act disenfranchising black South Africans of land ownership and paving the way for apartheid. Was the diamond a price paid and accepted?
The John Hansard Gallery (Winchester) Installation views 2013
sculpture and video
STICKS AND STONES a history play in five acts
PROJECT: Risk Actor
Actor and archival photographic stills projected through a perspex rod