The largest or biggest diamond in the world is called the Cullinan Diamond. It is also known as the “Star of Africa”; and weighs 1.3 pounds is a total of 3.106 carats. It was found in the Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa originally by an employee named Thomas Evan Powell. To gain better knowledge about the diamond and what to do with it, he gave the diamond to the mine’s supervisor Frederick.
Well, one must be thinking about how the diamond got its name. It was named after the mine’s owner Sir Thomas Cullinan. The diamond was gifted by Wells to Sir Cullinan on the very day it was found that was on January 25th. It was sold by Sir Cullinan to the Transvaal provincial government. Who presented it to King Edward VII on the occasion of his 66th birthday. Initially, the King did not want to accept such a valuable and precious gift. But later accepted it by being convinced by Winston Churchill.
By detailed analysis, Sir William Crooks pointed out the conclusion that the diamond; though being the largest rough natural diamond found to date, is not the whole intact stone but is part of a much bigger diamond. Which has been broken down and separated by natural forces. Such conclusions were drawn because one side of the diamond seemed almost perfectly smooth. Another fact about the diamond was that it had a black spot in its middle. Which showed vivid colors around it, thus proving that the diamond contains internal strain. But all in all, it was a marvelous and gigantic stone with stunning clarity.
How it Was Mined?
The diamond was found eighteen feet under the surface during a normal routine inspection. And the diamond received much more sensation in a short interval of time. Just because the mine is by no means amongst the large mines. Which are there in this world. Hence naturally, the press felt much more intrigued to give the fact. That such a diamond was found from such an ordinary mine.
The After story
After receiving the diamond, the king sent it to Amsterdam to Mr. Joseph Asscher, who was one of the most prestigious and famed diamond cutters of his time. Before trying to work on the cut of the stone. Asscher spent the next six months just to study the various aspects of the diamond.
There was a story populated about this that, during the process of cutting of the diamond; Asscher fainted due to nervousness. Another story says that the diamond was so much durable, that the blades use by Asscher broke during his first attempt to cut the diamond. Well, there is no certain proof about any of these stories being true, but it is for sure that Asscher must have felt relieved after the cutting of such a big stone was completed successfully.
Where is it Now?
The diamond is not the same as it was found originally. Since then, it has been cut and separated into 9 large and approx. hundred small diamonds. But all this cutting down has not in any way hindered the valuation of the stone as all together with the diamonds still are worth millions of dollars. Among all the pieces, “Cullinan I” or, “Star of Africa I” is the largest piece that has been cut, being of about 530 carats; and is recognized as the largest cut colorless diamond, in the whole world.
It also had its name as the largest polished diamond ever, until the Golden Jubilee Diamond was discovered in the Premier Mine, at the same location as the Cullinan in the year of 1985.
The “Cullinan I” is now located in the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter in the Tower of London; along with the “Cullinan II” and some smaller cut from the original Cullinan diamond.
The other parts of the Cullinan are part of Queen Elizabeth II‘s private collection. Which she inherited from Queen Mary, her grandmother. The collection consists of 96 of the minor cuts, and 7 of the major cuts.
Let us now look at the worth and names of the famous diamond pieces that were all discovered from the heart of South Africa and among them, most were discovered at the same mine as the Premier.
Yes, as its name says, it is a part of the original Cullinan and weighs a remarkable 317.4 carats. It is also known as the second-largest polished top quality stone in the world. It is now on display at the Tower of London and is a part of the British crown Jewels’ Imperial State Crown.
The Jonker Diamond
It was discovered at Elandsfontein mine in the year of 1934, about 5 km apart from where the Cullinan was discovered by the hands of a 62-year-old poor diamond digger named Johannes Makani. The initial piece weighed about 726 carats and was bought by Harry Winston a year later. The designer has polished and cut the diamond into a total of 13 pieces. Among all, the Jonker I is the biggest piece.
The Niarchos Diamond
In the year of 1954, the next discovery from the Cullinan mines was bought by Millionaire Stavros Niarchos at a whopping price of two million dollars for his wife. The stone was of 426.5 carats and was cut into three pieces with the bigger piece shaped like a pear. The cutter was none other than Harry Winston’s Chief cutter, Mr. Bernard de Haan. The pear-shaped piece was named as the “Ice Queen”.
The Centenary Diamond
This diamond was announced at the 100-year celebratory banquet of the diamond producer’s in the year of 1988, though being discovered in 1986. The final revelation of this diamond was done after its heat shaped modification, in the year of 1991. Surpassed only by the Cullinan I and Cullinan II, this piece of diamond is listed as one of the top color diamonds ever discovered.
The Taylor-Burton Diamond
It was discovered in the year of 1966 at the same mine of the Cullinan and weighted about 240.8 carats. It was then polished by jeweler Harry Winston and was divided into two separate pieces. The larger piece was pear-shaped and was of 162 carats; and was bought by the legendary star Richard Burton for his wife Elizabeth Taylor’s 40th birthday present, from an auction in 1972. It now belongs to Robert Mouawad who is a Lebanese diamond dealer.
The Premier Rose Diamond
Founded in 1978, this diamond got its name after the wife of Jacob Mouw of Mouw Diamond Cutting Works who also acquired it. Initially weighing 353.9 carats, the stone was cut into three beautiful and spectacular pieces. The larger one(137.02 carats) still hold the name “Premier Rose”, while the later pieces are called Little Rose(31.48 carats) and Baby Rose(2.11 carat) respectively.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond
Discovered from the same Cullinan Diamond Mine in the late 1980s. The Golden Jubilee diamond is recognized as the second-largest rough stone ever discovered in this world. Initially weighing for 755.5 carats, now the yellow gem weighs 545.65 carats after polishing. It is on display at the Royal Museum at Pimmimak, Bangkok, and received its name after the 50th-anniversary ascent of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit of Thailand.