Great Star of Africa (Cullinan Diamond)
The largest diamond in the world at 530 carats is ‘The Great Star of Africa.’ Currently, it is on display in the Tower of London along with the other crown jewels. This remarkable pear-shaped diamond has seventy four facets. It took 6 months of brainstorming to decide the best approach of breaking it down. In the end, the Cullinan diamond was cut into 96 smaller and 9 larger brilliant diamonds.
In July 1986 was found the world’s second largest diamond known as ‘The Centenary Diamond.’ It weighed nearly 600 carats in its raw form and its post-transformation procedure that took nearly 3 years brought its weight down to around 274 carats. It was unveiled in May 1991 with 83 facets on the girdle and 164 facets on the stone with the total being an astonishing 247 facets. This diamond is also a part of the Royal Scepter that contains the other crown jewels.
(Photo © Debeers Group)
Hope Diamond (Blue Diamond)
One of the most notorious diamonds is ‘The Hope Diamond’. It was a crown jewel owned by Louis XIV. He tapered it down from 112 carats to 67 carats in order to increase its brilliance. In the year 1830, Henry Philip Hope bought it in London, after the diamond was stolen during the revolution in France. It was named after its new owner and called the ‘The Blue Hope’ or the ‘Hope Diamond’.
The Hope Diamond’s notoriety comes from the fact that every owner who ever had it ran into a lot of bad luck. The rich banker, Mr. Hope, lost all his money and died in poverty. An American widow, Mrs. Edward McLean bought the diamond and eventually lost her only child, her money, her family that eventually led to her suicide. A diamond merchant based in New York, Harry Winston displayed the stone in his store in the year 1949 and had no buyers for the remarkable diamond. The Hope Diamond now rests at the famous Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
Another well known diamond is the ‘Koh-i-Noor’ which translates to ‘mountain of light’. This oval diamond weighs around 105 carats. The story of its origin begins as early as the 1300s. From the kings of Malwa to the Moghuls, from Afghanistan to Punjab and then London, the stone has exchanged many hands and travelled many lands. In the year 1850, the East India Company presented the diamond to Queen Victoria after which it was set in the Queen’s crown for her coronation.
Some Other Famous Diamonds
The Millennium Star: Is the 2nd largest colorless diamond weighing at 203 carats.
The Blue Heart Diamond: This is the 5 th largest blue diamond in the world weighing 31 carats. Currently the diamond resides at the History Museum in Washington.
Dresden Green : Is a natural green 41 carat diamond with a historical record dating back to 1722. This diamond’s remarkable color is attributed to natural exposure to radioactive materials. You can see this diamond at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden, Germany.
The Regent: A cushion-shaped, 140 carat diamond that was set in Napoleon Bonaparte’s sword after the French Revolution. This stone is currently located at the Louvre in Paris.
Eureka Diamond: Is a yellowish-brown diamond weighing 10 carats. This was the first diamond found in South Africa.
More Famous Diamonds [Wikipedia link]
Learn about the different diamond shapes.
What is a diamond certificate?