Tag Archives: cullinan diamond

The Second Largest Diamond Ever Found

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Canadian-based Lucara Diamond Corporation have announced the finding of the second-largest diamond in history.

This tennis ball-sized white diamond weighs in at a jaw-dropping 1,111 carats!   The stone, described as gem-quality with a type IIa grade, was found in the company’s Karowe Mine in Botswana on Monday.

The stone ranks only behind the Cullinan Diamond in terms of carat size.   When the Cullinan Diamond was recovered in 1905, it weighed in at an astronomic 3,106 carats.   The diamond was later cut into 9 major stones and another 96 smaller stones.

Lucara followed up that news with an announcement on the finding of two other hefty white diamonds.   The first, weighing in at 813 carats, is considered to be the sixth largest diamond ever recovered.   The other stone found weighed in at 374 carats.

“I am truly at a loss for words. This has been an amazing week for Lucara with the recovery of the second largest and also the sixth largest gem quality diamonds ever mined. We are truly blessed by this amazing asset.”

-William Lamb, president and CEO of Lucara

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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Top 10 Most Famous Heart Shaped Diamonds

1.   The Heart Of Eternity Diamond

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Weighing in at 27.64 carats, this Fancy Vivid Blue diamond was recovered from the Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa.   The stone was first unveiled as part of the De Beers Millennium Jewels collection at at the Millennium Dome in London in 2000.

2.   The Blue Heart Diamond

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Slightly bigger than the Heart of Eternity stone, this 30.82 carat diamond was found around 1909-1910.  The original owner was Cartier, however, it has been sold five times since and is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

3.  The Gruosi Diamond

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The largest black diamond in this shape, the Gruosi Diamond weighed in at 300.12 carats in the rough.   However, cutting the stone proved to be very fragile when being cut and in its current form weighs only 115.34 carats.   The stone is now the centrepiece of of a necklace featuring an additional 58.77 carats of smaller black diamonds, 378 white diamonds and 14.10 carats of tsavorite garnets, set in white gold.

4.   The Taj Mahal Diamond

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The Taj Mahal Diamond was found in the 17th century and was inscribed in the Persian language using Arabic characters.   Translated, it says “Nur Jahan, Begum Padshah; 23; 1037″ – Nur Jahan, Lady of the Padshah; 23; 1037”.   This references Empress Nur Jahan, wife of Emperor Jahangir Shah as well as the Islamic calendar year 1037 which is actually 1628 according to our calendar.

The stone, set in a jade necklace and pendant, was made famous as a gift from Richard Burton to his wife Elizabeth Taylor on her 40th birthday.   It sold at auction after her death for $8.8 million.

5.   The Centenary Diamond

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At 273.85 carats, it is the largest diamond on our list.  Recovered in 1986, it originally weighed 599 carats in the rough.   It took 5 years to get it to its current modified diamond cut shape.   It has never been sold at auction so no one is sure of its exact value.   However, it was ensured for over $100 million when it was unveiled in 1991.   To further add to its mystery, despite once being owned by De Beers, a current owner has yet to be confirmed.

6.  The Cullinan Diamond V

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One of the nine diamonds cut from the original Cullinan Diamond, the largest gem quality diamond ever found.   Weighing in at 18.8 carats, it was given to Queen Mary by by the Government and People of South Africa in 1910.   Since then it has been most commonly used as part of a brooch with a platinum web with a scrolling millegrain and pavé-set border of brilliant diamonds.

After Queen Mary’s death in 1953, the brooch was passed on to her granddaughter, the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

7.  The Royal Purple Heart Diamond

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At only 7.34 carats, the Royal Purple Heart Diamond is still the largest Fancy Vivid Purple diamond ever recovered.   It is believed to have been found in Russia but further details, including its current owner have never been confirmed.

8.  Christie’s 56-Carat Heart-Shaped Diamond

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Part of Christie’s Magnificent Jewels Auction in May 2011, this 56-carat diamond was estimated to sell between $8 and $10 million but actually sold for $12 million.   It still holds the record for the most ever spent at auction for a heart shaped diamond.

9.  The Heart Of The Ocean Diamond

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Yes, this is a fictional diamond from the 1997 film Titanic, but that doesn’t stop it from making our list.   In the film, the diamond was originally owned by Louie XVI and was cut into a heart shape just after the French Revolution.

The film itself went on to win the Best Picture Academy Award as well as 10 other Academy Awards.   It was the highest grossing film of all time until it was surpassed by the film Avatar 12 years later.

10.   The Argyle Amour Diamond

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This very rare 2.61 carat pink diamond is the most valuable of this shape ever to come out of the Argyle Diamond mine in Australia.