The most interesting diamonds
A handful of diamonds are very famous today for their unbelievable history and enormous size.
De Beers Millennium Star
Just imagine a diamond so perfect and so big that no specialist in the world is able to set its price. This is the De Beers Millennium Star. It was found in the early 80s of the 20th century in the De Beers mine in Congo. A team of cutters cut the stone for more than 3 years by laser. After that an internally and externally flawless pear-shaped diamond of 203 ct appeared making it one of the most unique diamonds in the world. Harry Oppenheimer, the doyen of the industry, describes the De Beers Millennium Star as “the most beautiful diamond he has ever seen“. This appropriately named diamond, the De Beers Millennium Star, was exhibited as the main masterpiece of the De Beers Millennium Diamond Collection. The entire collection also included equally unique rich blue diamonds, weighing in total 118 carats as well as the 27 ct Heart of Eternity. This collection was exhibited in 2000, in London´s Millennium Dome.
The most famous coloured diamond is the Hope, a 45.52 ct heavy blue diamond, which was apparently stolen from the statue of the god Ráma – Síta, who put a curse on it as punishment. Jean Baptiste Tavernier brought it from India in 1642. He sold it in 1668 to king Lewis XIV., and made a big profit but then he spent the money quickly in order to pay for his son’s huge debts. Then Tavernier went back to India hoping to find another diamond but was killed there by a pack of wild dogs. Louis XIV named the stone The Blue Diamond of the Crown. It was kept as part of the French crown jewellery for another 118 years and often reset from one piece of jewellery to another. In 1792 during the French Revolution the diamond was stolen. After several years the diamond appeared in Amsterdam and was ordered to be recut by the Wilhelm False Company. False´ son stole the diamond and his father, out of a sense of guilt, died of physical and psychological exhaustion very soon. His son realized the consequences of his act and committed suicide. In 1830 a very rich banker, Henry Hope, bought this cursed diamond and named it after him. One of his descendants Lord Francis Hope went almost broke and his wife accused the diamond of that. Its next owner French broker Jacques Colot, went insane and committed suicide. Another two owners were murdered. A Turkish sultan, who bought the stone in 1908 for 400 000 dollars stabbed his wife to death and was dethroned. Edward McLean´s family was haunted by many unfortunate disasters after they bought the diamond in 1911. It is said that the only way how to get rid of a diamond’s curse is to donate it. The only person, who wasn’t affected by any disaster, was Harry Winston. He bought the diamond from McLean´s family and donated it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington where it is kept as a mineralogical miracle to this day.
It was found in the De Beers’s Premier Mine in July 1988. The rough diamond weighed 599.10 ct. Gabi Tolkowski, a master cutter worked along with a small group of specialist on the diamond for almost 3 years. Finally they cut the biggest diamond in the world that has the most modern cut, high quality colour and no inclusions. Its weight is 273.85 carats with 247 facets. The diamond went to Tower in London in 1991.
Star of South Africa
A rough diamond weighing 83.5 carats was found by a tribal shepherd near Griquatown in 1869. This discovery started the diamond fever and the area was flooded by thousands of diamond seekers. The shepherd sold this diamond to a farmer for 500 sheep, 10 bulls and 1 horse. The stone was cut into a brilliant tear shape which weighs 47.69 carats and its last price skyrocketed to an unbelievable 225.000 pounds. The current location of the diamond is unknown, but from time to time a new photo of it appears that indicates it is still in circulation.
In 1905 the biggest stone in the world was found in the De Beers’s Premier Mine. The diamond in its uncut state weighed 3106 carats and with dimensions of approximately 10 x 6 x 5 cm, its size could be compared to a big grapefruit. The diamond was named Cullinan after the founder of the mine sir Thomas Cullinan. The Transvaal government bought the rough diamond for about 1 million dollars and donated it to king Edward VII. The stone was cut in Amsterdam where it was divided in two parts Cullinan I and Cullinan II. The bigger, Cullinan I, was renamed to The Great Star of Africa and weighs 530.20 carats, the smaller, Cullinan II, weighs 317.5 carats. Both stones are part of the English crown jewellery.
Koh-i-noor is a stone with the most legendary history. Nobody knows the date of its discovery but some legends say that it appeared two thousand years ago, others say it was in 1304. The diamond was part of the treasury of the great Moguls for 200 years. The Persian Shah Nadir later took possession of it but he was assassinated and the stone passed on to the Afghans and then to the Sikhs. From the second half of the 19th century the stone was in the ownership of the British West Indian Company and later donated to Queen Victoria. The Queen ordered to recut the stone and its size changed from 186 carats to its current 108.93 carats. She entailed it to the wife (or husband) of the British Crown. In 1936 Queen Elizabeth (wife of George VI) had the diamond set into her crown.
The Taylor - Burton
The 69.42 carat stone of pear shape was sold in an auction in 1969. Cartier became its new owner and immediately renamed it to Cartier. The next day the American actor Richard Burton bought the diamond for his equally famous wife, Elizabeth Taylor, and thus the stone was named Taylor-Burton. Elizabeth Taylor wore it as part of her necklace for the first time at a charity ball in Monaco in 1969. In 1978 the actress announced that she was going to sell it and she would give part of the money to a hospital in Botswana. Potential buyers had to pay $2.500 just to examine the jewel. The diamond was sold for $3 million in July 1979. The last news about it came from Saudi Arabia.
De Beers Diamond
In 1888, soon after the DeBeers Company was established, their first big discovery was made. A 428.5 carat weighing stone of dark yellow colour was found and cut immediately afterwards. It was introduced at the World Fair in Paris in 1889 where crowds of people came to see the 228.5 carat gemstone which was the biggest cut stone at that time. Although many beautiful gemstones have since been found, the De Beers diamond is still on the fourth place among the biggest stones in the world.