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The Largest Diamonds in the World


The Golden Jubilee


The Millennium Star is a famous diamond owned by De Beers. At 203.04 carats (40.608 g), the world's second largest known top-color (D)(Colorless/electronic colorimeter scale 0–0.49), internally and externally flawless, pear-shaped diamond.

Weight203.04 carats (40.608 g)
ColorGrade D Colorless
CutPear Brilliant
Country of originZaire
Mine of originunknown
Date discovered1990
Cut bySteinmetz Group
Original ownerAndré Action Diakité Jackson (JFPI Corporation)
Current ownerDe Beers
Estimated valueInsured for £100,000,000 


The diamond was discovered in the Mbuji-Mayi district of Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1990 in alluvial deposits; uncut, it was 777 carats (155.4 g). It was purchased by De Beers during the height of the country's Civil War that took place in the early to mid-nineties. It took over three years for workers of the Steinmetz Diamond Group to produce the classic pear form. The actual cutting was done using lasers.It was first displayed in October 1999 as the centerpiece of the De Beers Millennium diamond collection. The collection also includes eleven blue diamonds totaling 118 carats (23.6 g) and The Heart of Eternity. They were displayed at London’s Millennium Dome over 2000. There was an attempt on 7 November 2000 to steal the collection (see Millennium Dome raid), but the Metropolitan Police discovered the plot and arrested the robbers before their escape. Crime journalist Kris Hollington wrote a book called Diamond Geezers (ISBN 1843171228) about the attempted theft. The book also features a detailed history of the Millennium Star.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Star



The Cullinan I - The Star of Africa


WeightAssorted (nine different stones) carats (Assorted g)
Colorwhite (exact colour grade unknown; Gems & Gemology's examination results stated probably D or at least E)
CutAssorted (cushions, pears, marquises)
Country of originSouth Africa
Mine of originPremier Mine
Cut byAsscher Brothers
Original ownerPremier Diamond Mining Co.
Current ownerBritish Crown
Estimated valueover £200 million, $400 million

The Cullinan diamond is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g).

The largest polished gem from the stone is named Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, and at 530.4 carats (106.1 g)[2] was the largest polished diamond in the world until the 1985 discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond, 545.67 carats (109.13 g), also from the Premier Mine. Cullinan I is now mounted in the head of the Sceptre with the Cross. The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, at 317.4 carats (63.5 g), is the fourth largest polished diamond in the world. Both gems are in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.


The Cullinan diamond was found by Thomas Evan Powell, a miner who brought it to the surface and gave it to Frederick Wells, surface manager of the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, on January 26, 1905. The stone was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the diamond mine.

Sir William Crookes performed an analysis of the Cullinan diamond before it was cut and mentioned its remarkable clarity, but also a black spot in the middle. The colours around the black spot were very vivid and changed as the analyzer was turned. According to Crookes, this pointed to internal strain.Such strain is not uncommon in diamonds.

The stone was bought by the Transvaal government and presented to King Edward VII on his birthday. It was cut into three large parts by Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam, and eventually into 9 large gem-quality stones and a number of smaller fragments. At the time, technology had not yet evolved to guarantee quality of the modern standard, and cutting the diamond was considered difficult and risky. In order to enable Asscher to cut the diamond in one blow, an incision was made, half an inch deep. Then, a specifically designed knife was placed in the incision and the diamond was split in one heavy blow. The diamond split through a defective spot, which was shared in both halves of the diamond.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cullinan_Diamond



The Incomparable


Incomparable Diamond is another African diamond, one of the largest ever found in the world (890 carats (180 g)). A young girl encountered it in 1984 a pile of rubble collected from old mine dumps of the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The rubble was sorted out during the recovery process because it was considered too bulky to contain diamonds. This massive diamond was considered to be cut into the world's largest gem, but finally, the size was reduced to 407.5 carats (81.5 g) for the sake of having fewer internal flaws; nevertheless, it was the 3rd largest cut diamond after the Cullinan I and Golden Jubilee Diamonds. Before cutting, the stone was the largest brown diamond and the fourth largest diamond of any color ever discovered after the Cullinan (3,106.75 carats (621.35 g)), Excelsior Diamond (995 carats (199 g)) and Star of Sierra Leone (968.9 carats (193.8 g)). The stone was cut by a team led by Marvin Samuels, who co-owned the stone along with Donald Zale of Zales Jewellers and Louis Glick. In November 1984 the finished stones were put on display: a single golden diamond of 407.48 carats (81.50 g) in a 'triolette' shape, and fourteen additional gems. Notably, the satellite stones cut from the Incomparable varied greatly in color, from near-colorless to rich yellow-brown. The largest of these stones still bears the name 'Incomparable Diamond', and was graded by the GIA as internally flawless in 1988.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_diamonds



The Cullinan II


The second largest gem from the Cullinan stone, Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa, at 317.4 carats (63.5 g), is the fourth largest polished diamond in the world. Both gems are in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Cullinan II was cut from the largest gem-quality diamond ever found, it weighed 3106 carats, or about 1 1/3 pounds. It was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, who opened the mine and was visiting on that eventful day. The nine larger stones of the Cullinan diamond remain either in the British Crown Jewels or in the personal possession of the Royal Family.




The Spirit of de Grisogono


Weight312.24 carats (62.448 g)
ColorBlack
CutMogul
Country of originCentral African Republic
Mine of originUnknown
Date discoveredUnknown
Cut byFawaz Gruosi
Original ownerDe Grisogono
Current ownerUnknown
Estimated valueUnknown


The Spirit of de Grisogono is the world's largest cut black diamond and the world's fifth largest diamond overall. Starting at an uncut weight of 587 carats (117 g), it was taken from its origin in west central Africa and cut by Swiss jeweler De Grisogono. The resulting mogul-cut diamond weighs 312.24 carats (62.45 g) and is set in a white gold ring with 702 smaller white diamonds totaling 36.69 carats (7.34 g). The ring is rumored to have been sold.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_of_de_Grisogono_Diamond



The Centenary


Weight273.85 carats carats(54.6 g)
ColorGrade D Colorless
CutModified Heart-shaped brilliant
Country of originSouth Africa
Mine of originPremier Mine
Date discovered17 July 1986
Cut byGabi Tolkowsky
Original ownerDe Beers
Current ownerUnknown
Estimated valueat least USD 100 million


The De Beers Centenary Diamond is, at 273.85 carats (54.77 g), the third-largest diamond to have been produced in the Premier Mine. The Centenary Diamond is rated in color as grade D color by the Gemological Institute of America, which is the highest grade of colourless diamond and is internally and externally flawless. It was named the Centenary Diamond as it was presented in the rough for the Centennial Celebration of De Beers Consolidated Mines on May 11, 1988. The Centenary Diamond was unveiled in final form in May 1991.

The Centenary Diamond was discovered in the Premier Mine on 17 July 1986 using their X-ray imaging system. The original rough was 599 carats (120 g) and it was presented on 11 May 1988 in the Centennial Celebration of the De Beers Consolidated Mines. As then-chairman Julian Oglivie Thompson said, "We have recovered at the Premier Mine a diamond of 599 carats (120 g) which is perfect in color – indeed it is one of the largest top-color diamonds ever found. Naturally it will be called the Centenary Diamond."

Cutting such an immense and valuable diamond required expertise and a considerable investment. Gabi Tolkowsky was chosen to head the team responsible for cutting the Centenary Diamond, along with Geoff Woolett, Jim Nash and Dawie du Plessis, assisted by a specially picked group of engineers, electricians and security guards to facilitate in the work on Centenary Diamond. There was a special room designed underground in the De Beers Diamond Research Laboratory in Johannesburg, South Africa for the sole purpose of working on the Centenary Diamond with design specifications including strength and stability so as to preclude mechanical vibration and temperature variation to minimise any mitigating factor that might interfere with the cutting of the Centenary Diamond.

The initial efforts were done by hand rather than with a laser or saw so as not to heat or vibrate the diamond. After cutting and removing 50 carats (10 g) of cracked material over 154 days, the team was left with an egg-shaped gem of approximately 500 carats (100 g). Thirteen different designs were presented to the De Beers board, with a strong recommendation for what became the eventual modified heart-shaped design. The shape was described as, "Effectively, the Centenary Diamond is shaped like a heart-shape, but it does not have a groove. The image the team had in mind was a shape which would adorn the turban of a Sultan or a Maharaja."

The Centenary was completed in February 1991, weighing 273.85 carats (54.77 g) with its dimensions measuring 39.90 × 50.50 × 24.55 mm. The final gem had 247 facets: 164 on the pavilion and crown, and 83 on the girdle. While the stone has never been publicly appraised for value, it is known to have been insured at over US$100 million at the time of its unveiling in May 1991. The stone was loaned to the Tower of London, where it was displayed for a number of years. It is believed that De Beers no longer owns the Centenary, but the current owner is unknown. Gabi Tolkowsky has said that he believes that the gem was sold in June 2008 to a previously unknown young (some sources quote an 18-year-old) entrepreneur, apparently of British/Israeli origin, living in the United States, although De Beers declines to comment, citing its anonymity policy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centenary_Diamond



The Jubilee


Weight245.35 carats (49.07 g)
ColorE-grade colourless
CutCushion
Country of originSouth Africa
Mine of originJagersfontein Mine
Date discovered1895
Cut byM.B. Barends
Original ownerWernher, Beit & Co.; Barnato Bros.; Mosenthal Sons & Co. (consortium)
Current ownerRobert Mouawad

The Jubilee Diamond, originally known as the Reitz Diamond is a colourless, cushion-shaped diamond weighing 245.35 carats (49.07 grams), making it the sixth largest diamond in the world. It was originally named after Francis William Reitz, the then president of the Orange Free State where the stone was discovered, before being renamed to honour the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1897.


The original stone, a rough octahedron weighing 650.80 carats (130.16 g), was discovered in 1895 at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa. A consortium of diamond merchants from London purchased it along with its even larger sister, the Excelsior, in 1896, and sent it to Amsterdam where it was polished by M.B. Barends. A 40 carat (8 g) chunk was removed, which itself yielded a 13.34 carat (2.668 g) pear-shaped gem eventually purchased by Carlos I of Portugal.

Dorabji Tata acquired it around 1900 and gave it to his wife Meherbai. She used to wear it during her visits to the royal courts and public functions. The Jubilee Diamond was the largest in the world till 1905 when a bigger diamond was exhibited. It was sold only after his death in 1932 and the money went to the formation of the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. 



The De Beers


In March 1888, the enormous, light yellow octahedron was found in the De Beers mine. It was cut and displayed at the Paris Exhibition in 1889.  After the removal of approximately 200 carats during cutting, its weight was 228.5 carats. 

The De Beers Diamond is the 7th largest cut diamond in the world. It was bought after being displayed in Paris, by the Maharajah of Patiala.  Cartier Paris set it in 1928 as the centrepiece of a ceremonial necklace. 

In 1982, the De Beers Diamond was put up for auction at Sotheby’s, but failed to meet its undisclosed reserve. 

The stone is often confused with a larger white diamond called the Imperial, Great White, or Victoria, however mathematical calculations have shown otherwise.  



The Red Cross


This canary yellow cushion-shaped diamond weighs 205.07 (metric) carats. It is said to have weighed 375 carats in the rough and to have come from one of the Kimberly mines in 1901. The largest rough found that year weighed only 307 carats, but two more weighing 337½ and 363 carats, had been discovered at the De Beers Mine in 1899. Whichever may be correct - the date of the discovery or the rough weight - ther is no doubting that the Red Cross Diamond is a typical South African stone.

The original group of dealing firms who bought the output of the De Beers presented the diamond as a gift to the art sale held in London by Christies in 1918, on behalf of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John. The gem had been cut in Amsterdam, The Times wrote:

"Large and square-shaped, it has been cut with many facets and is of that pale canary yellow colour which is so sought after by Indian Princes. The play of the stone is very vivid. In artificial light it is much more luminous than a white stone. After exposure to brilliant light it emits the rays it has absorbed, and thus becomes self-luminous in the dark. Another rare feature is that a Maltese Cross is distinctly visible in the top facet. Hence the double appropriateness of its name, the Red Cross Diamond."

The Red Cross brough £35,575 and was the highlight of the third day of the sale. The total proceeds were £52,238. It was reported that:

"The hope expressed by the auctioneer that this jewel would fetch 'a price worthy of its name' was fulfilled. The first bid was £3000, from which a quick advance was made to £6000. Thence by two hundreds, to £9000; and at £10,000 it was knocked down to S.J. Phillips. On behalf of the anonymous purchaser they state that he is willing to hold the diamond for one month at the purchase price of £10,000, at the disposal of any buyer who will guarantee to hand it back to the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John to be used as the societies think best for the benefit of their funds."

Sometime later it was stated that a member of a European royal family had bought the Red Cross; however, it was an undisclosed American businessman who put it up for sale half a century later. In June of 1973 the stone was auctioned in Tokyo, but the highest bid reached just £820,000, so it was withdrawn from sale. The auctioneers had expected it to sell for £2,000,000. Since then the diamond has had a number of owners all over the world, and most of the diamond trade has been aware that it was on the market and many have viewed it. In November of 1973 Christie's put it up for sale in Geneva, the same year as the attempted Tokyo auction. It was then deposited in Switzerland before again being put up for sale in 1977. The identity of the present owner remains unknown. Sources: Famous Diamonds by Ian Balfour, Diamond Cuts in Historic Jewelry - 1381 to 1910 by Herbert Tillander, and Diamonds - Famous, Notable and Unique by GIA.

The cutting style is what is known as a 'Stellar Brilliant' due to the eight needle-like facets on the pavilion of the stone, pointing outward from its culet facet. The Regent, the Tiffany Yellow, the Polar Star, the Koh-I-Noor and the Wittelsbach, among others are all examples of 'Stellar Brilliant' cuts, and all of them (save for the Koh-I-Noor and Wittelsbach which are slightly oval in shape) are cushion-shaped diamonds.

http://famousdiamonds.tripod.com/redcrossdiamond.html



The Millennium Star


Weight203.04 carats (40.608 g)
ColorGrade D Colorless
CutPear Brilliant
Country of originZaire
Mine of originunknown
Date discovered1990
Cut bySteinmetz Group
Original ownerAndré Action Diakité Jackson (JFPI Corporation)
Current ownerDe Beers
Estimated valueInsured for £100,000,000

The Millennium Star is a famous diamond owned by De Beers. At 203.04 carats (40.608 g), the world's second largest known top-color (D), internally and externally flawless, pear-shaped diamond.


The diamond was discovered in the Mbuji-Mayi district of Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1990 in alluvial deposits; uncut, it was 777 carats (155.4 g). It was purchased by De Beers during the height of the country's Civil War that took place in the early to mid-nineties. It took over three years for workers of the Steinmetz Diamond Group to produce the classic pear form. The actual cutting was done using lasers.

It was first displayed in October 1999 as the centerpiece of the De Beers Millennium diamond collection. The collection also includes eleven blue diamonds totaling 118 carats (23.6 g) and The Heart of Eternity. They were displayed at London’s Millennium Dome over 2000. There was an attempt on 7 November 2000 to steal the collection (see Millennium Dome raid), but the Metropolitan Police discovered the plot and arrested the robbers before their escape. Crime journalist Kris Hollington wrote a book called Diamond Geezers (ISBN 1843171228) about the attempted theft. The book also features a detailed history of the Millennium Star.

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