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jewellery


Famous Diamonds

A number of individual diamonds have become famous, primarily for their great size but also for their exceptional color, cut, uniqueness, or history. The Great Mogul diamond, reputed to have weighed 240 carats when cut, has disappeared since it was described by the French traveler Jean Baptiste Tavernier in India in 1665. Some authorities believe that the Koh-i-noor diamond, which now weighs 106.1 carats and is one of the British crown jewels, was part of the Great Mogul. Jean Baptiste Tavernier is also associated with the Hope diamond, a 45.52-carat blue diamond that originally weighed 110.5 carats. The Hope diamond is a recut version of the Great Blue diamond. The Great Blue diamond was once part of the French crown jewels.

The Cullinan, the largest rough diamond ever found, was discovered in the Premier Mine in South Africa in 1905. The government of the Transvaal, a British crown colony that later became part of the Union of South Africa, presented the Cullinan to King Edward VII. The Cullinan weighed 3,106 carats (1.37 lb) before cutting and was pronounced by crystallographers to be a cleavage fragment of a considerably larger stone. When the stone was cut a total of 105 gems were produced weighing 1,063 carats in all. The largest of these was a 530.2-carat drop-shaped stone called the Star of Africa or Cullinan I. The Star of Africa is the second largest cut diamond in existence and is set in the British royal scepter. The largest known cut diamond is a yellowish-brown stone called the Golden Jubilee. It was given to the King of Thailand in 1997 to honor the 50th anniversary of his coronation.

The Vargas diamond, found in Brazil in 1938, weighed 726.6 carats in its uncut state. When cut in 1945, it yielded 29 stones with a total weight of 411 carats. In 1934 a diamond of almost precisely the same weight, the Jonker diamond, was discovered in an alluvial deposit near the Premier Mine. The Jonker is the finest-quality large diamond ever found. It was cut into 12 gems ranging from 125.4 to 5.3 carats in weight. In 1967 the Lesotho diamond was discovered, also in South Africa. It weighed 601.3 carats uncut. Other famous diamonds include the Regent, the Sancy, the Tiffany, the Orlov, and the Dresden Green.


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