Monthly Archives: January 2015

Chipping Away At The Cullinan Diamond

This week marks the 110th anniversary of the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond, the largest gem-quality diamond ever found.


Weighing in at 3106.75 carats in its rough form, the diamond was found in the Premier Mine of Pretoria in the Gauteng province of South Africa by Captain Frederick Wells.

Named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, owner of the mine, the diamond was presented to England’s reigning monarch King Edward VII in 1905.   After a lengthy debate on how the diamond could be split up, the decision was made to cut it into 9 major diamonds and 96 minor ones.


Here is the true story on what has happened to the nine major stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond.

Cullinan I (also called The Great Star of Africa)


The largest stone from the Cullinan Diamond weighs in at 530 carats and is one the largest cut diamonds in the world.   It currently sits in the head of the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter, on display in the Tower of London.

Cullinan II (also called Star of Africa II)


Also considered one of the largest cut diamonds in history, this rectangular, cushion-cut stone is set in the front of Britain’s Imperial State Crown.   On special Royal occasions, the Cullinan I and the Cullinan II have also been put together as a brooch.

Cullinan III and IV


The 94.4-carat Cullinan III and 63.6-carat Cullinan IV diamonds are currently worn together as stunning pendant brooch.   The diamonds were originally set on the crown worn in the consort crown worn by Queen Mary, wife of King George V.

Cullinan V


The heart-shaped Cullinan V currently sits as the centrepiece of a stomacher brooch that also features the emerald Delhi Durbar Parure.

Cullinan VI and Cullinan VII


Both of these stones feature a marquise-cut, the VI is much thinner but comes in at 11.5 carats while the VII is heftier looking and weighing 8.8 carats.   The two diamonds can also be seen as a pendant attached to the stomacher featuring the Cullinan V.

Cullinan VIII


The Cullinan VIII, a 6.8-carat emerald-cut diamond, has been used both as a single-stone brooch or paired with the Cullinan V or Cullinan VI as a more elaborate piece.

Cullinan IX


The last of the major stones from the Cullinan Diamond is the 4.4-carat, pear-shaped Cullinan IX.   The diamond is currently on a ring set on platinum and has occasionally been worn by Queen Elizabeth II.


The Rarest of the Rare…Fancy Red Diamonds

In the world of diamonds, Natural Fancy Red diamonds are among the most rare.   Less than 0.1% of all diamonds found in the world can be considered Natural Fancy Red and the bulk of those weigh less than half a carat.

The red color in these diamonds is not caused due to a foreign element present during its formation, it is due to irregularities present within the inner structure of the diamond, the crystal lattice.

Here’s a look at the five most famous red diamonds

1.  Moussaieff Red Diamond


The largest red diamond ever recovered, the Moussaieff Red weighs in at 5.11 carats.   Originally found by a Brazilian farmer in the 1990s by the Abaetezinho river in a region known as Alto Paranaiba.   The stone, originally called The Red Shield, weighed in at 13.9 carats in its rough form.   It was purchased by famed jeweller Shlomo Moussaieff in 2001-2002 and remains part of   his company’s inventory to this day.

2.  The Rob Red Diamond


Noted diamond writer Stephen Hofer called the Rob Red Diamond “the most saturated and purest red diamond measured visually and instrumentally to date in the world’.   Weighing in at a slight 0.59-carats, no one is sure about the stone’s recovery, it is assumed to have been found in an alluvial deposit located within the remote interior of Brazil.

3.  The DeYoung Red Diamond


Found in South Africa in the late 1920s, the DeYoung Red Diamond features a round brilliant cut and weighs 5.03 carats.  Unfortunately, no one is sure of the diamond’s current whereabouts.

4.  The Hancock Red


A former record breaker in the color diamond world, The Hancock Red is a 0.95-carat Fancy Purplish-Red stone.   The diamond was originally purchased at auction in 1956 by Warren Hancock for $13,500.   When it was put up for auction again in 1987, it sold for $926,000/carat.   The previous per carat record for a diamond was $127,000/carat!

5.  The Kazanjian Red Diamond



Recovered in South Africa in the mid-1920s, the Kazanjian Red weighs in at 5.05 carats.   In its rough form, it was a whopping 35 carats until formed into an elegant emerald cut.   The diamond spent 30 years in a private collection before being purchased by Kazanjian Bros. Inc.

Natural Color Diamonds Continue To Shine

Natural color diamonds continue to shine the brightest within the jewelry industry, with record-setting auction sales, increased popularity among the Hollywood elite, and an investment potential that continues to grow year after year.

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Near the end of 2014, the diamond world has been set afire by two sensational auction sales.   On November 20, Sotheby’s New York held a jewelry auction of pieces belonging to famed philanthropist Bunny Mellon.   Her 9.75-carat Fancy Vivid Blue diamond sold for USD$32.6 million, setting a world auction record for the highest price for a Blue diamond in history, as well as the highest per-carat price for any diamond ever sold at auction.

Five days later, on November 25, Christie’s Hong Kong held its “Magnificent Jewels” auction, where a 2.09-carat Red diamond ring sold for a whopping USD$5.1 million, a record amount for a Red diamond.

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What accounts for the surge in interest and demand for natural color diamonds?   The primary reason is their rarity.   Although Yellow diamonds are the most common color in the natural color diamond spectrum, they represent less than 2% of the world’s diamond inventory, while exceedingly rare colors like Red represent only 0.1%.

Color originates in diamonds in various ways. Some like Blue or Yellow, obtained their unique hues when foreign elements such as boron or nitrogen were present at the time of formation under the earth’s surface.   Others, such as Brown diamonds, got their color due to defects in their chemical interior structures.

Red, Pink and Purple form as a result of intense pressure within the earth during their formation.

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The appeal of Pink diamonds, other than their obvious beauty, is their rarity factor; the earth is producing an ever-diminishing supply.   Almost 95% of Pink diamonds come from the Rio Tinto Argyle Diamond mine of Western Australia.   However, this mine is expected to close by 2019 and with no substantial quantity of Pink diamonds found anywhere else in the world, the supply may be used up.

Amongst all natural colors, Pink is often the star attraction.   The “Pink Star,” a 59.60-carat diamond rated as a Fancy Vivid Pink by the Gemological Institute of America, was sold at auction by Sotheby’s in November 2013 for over USD$83 million. At the time, the sale price was a world-auction record for a gemstone of any kind.

In a shocking turn of events however, just days after the auction, the buyer had defaulted and the diamond was put back into Sotheby’s inventory. However, as recent history has proven, the diamond will in all likelihood set new records when it goes up for auction once again.

In the last decade, natural color diamonds have had an average yearly value increase of between 15 and 30%.   This rise has been even more dramatic in the last two years, where the increase in value has been over 30% for especially rare diamonds.

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If you want to learn more about the exciting world of natural fancy color diamonds, contact one of our diamond experts here at Ouroboro Diamonds of Rare Color.   We can be reached at 1-866-350-4646, found at, or follow us on twitter at @ouroborodiamond.

Our Most Popular Blogs of 2014

Thanks to everyone who read any of our blog posts over the past year.  2014 was an amazing year in the world of color diamonds.  Writing a blog focused on these precious stones is one of the favourite things we do here at Ouroboro Diamonds of Rare Color.    In case you missed any of our blog posts from 2014, here’s a look at five of our most popular from the last year.

“Excuse Me Bartender, There Is A Diamond In My Drink”

In October, we were surprised to learn that some of the world’s most fancy bars offered drinks that included actual jewelry.   We provided an overview of the priciest of these amazing cocktails.

Top 10 Most Famous Heart Shaped Diamonds

For Valentine’s Day, we detailed the most famous heart-shaped diamonds.   Yep, we are romantic like that.

The Four Diamond Types – Explained

Even for the most ardent diamond fans, the designation of Type I or Type II can be confusing.   We broke down what these actually mean and why 98% of all diamonds actually fall into one of the two types.

Bracing For The “Lesotho Pink Storm”

In January 2014, we previewed a 36.06 carat pink diamond called the “Lesotho Pink Storm” as it was set to be tendered by Fusion/Hennig later that month.

Colour Diamond “Man-Gagement Rings”

“Man”-gagement rings become an actual thing in 2014 and we looked at some of the most popular of these items from around the world.