The big finds

LARGEST CUT DIAMONDS IN THE WORLD

There have been many famous (and very expensive) diamonds found over the years.

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FAMOUS SOUTH AFRICAN DIAMONDS

South Africa has proved to be a veritable treasure chest of superb stones with many notable diamond discoveries.

Eureka

Weight*: 21.25ct rough, 10.73ct polished


Origin: Kimberley


Date of discovery: 1867


Eureka has historical significance as it was first discovered in South Africa by a 15-year old boy who thought it was just a pretty stone. This discovery led to the Kimberley Diamond Rush. A replica of the Eureka diamond was displayed at the 1867 Paris Exhibition. Over the next century, the diamond was sold and re-sold a number of times. In 1967, 100 years after the diamond’s discovery, De Beers bought the diamond and donated it to the South African people. The diamond was placed in the Kimberley Mine Museum, where it is currently on display.

* Weights are approximate

Excelsior

Weight: 995.2ct rough


Origin: Jagersfontein mine


Date of discovery: 1893


The Excelsior, is a giant blue-white diamond that had an irregular shape and internal black spots. It was cut into 21 stones, with the largest weighing 69.8ct. 63% of the stone was wasted during the cutting process (primarily due to the black spots).


 

The Jubilee*

Weight: 650.80ct rough, 245.35ct polished


Origin: Jagersfontein mine


Date of discovery: 1895


This diamond was originally named after Francis William Reitz, the then president of the Orange Free State where the stone was discovered. It was later renamed the Jubilee in honour of Queen Victoria’s 60th year on the throne.

* Initially named the Reitz

Cullinan

Weight: 3,106ct rough


Origin: Premier mine


Date of discovery: 1905


The largest rough diamond ever discovered was named after Thomas Cullinan, founder and chairman of South Africa’s Premier mine. It was found 9m from the surface, protruding from a sidewall of the pit.

The diamond was sold to the Transvaal government who presented it to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday. The stone was cut into nine major stones and approximately 96 smaller diamonds. The three largest of these are part of the crown jewels of the United Kingdom.

Cullinan I, also called the Great Star of Africa, is the biggest of the collection at 530.2ct and is mounted in the British Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross.

Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa is the second-largest diamond of the collection, at 317.4ct, and is set in the front of the Imperial State Crown.

Diamond  [icon] GraphicaArtis/Getty people.com/royals/queen-elizabeths-imperial-state-crown/


 

Jonker 1

Weight: 142.90ct rough, 125.35ct polished


Origin: Elandsfontein mine*


Date of discovery: 1934


Johannes Makani, working for a poor diamond digger, Johannes Jacobus Jonker, discovered the rough stone of 726ct. It was bought by a famous New York jeweller, Harry Winston who cut the rough stone into 13 gemstones. The largest diamond, Jonker 1, weighed 142.90ct. Jonker 1 was later re-cut to eliminate flaws and improve its brilliance.

* Approximately 5km south of the Premier mine (now Cullinan diamond mine)

Christie’s to auction famed Jonker diamond

Mar 13, 2017 5:16 AM     By Rapaport News

Christie’s unveiled the top lots that will go under the hammer at its Magnificent Jewels auction in Hong Kong this May, including Harry Winston’s famous Jonker V diamond.

The rectangular-cut, 25.27-carat, D-color, VVS2-clarity diamond is expected to sell for $2.2 million to $3.6 million, or up to $142,461 per carat, the company said in a recent statement.

The stone is one of a collection of 13 polished diamonds cut from the famous 726-carat Jonker rough, which digger Jacob Jonker discovered at South Africa’s Elandsfontein mine in 1934. The rough diamond, which at the time ranked as the world’s fourth-largest gem-quality diamond, was sold the following year to Harry Winston and was subsequently displayed during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, the auction house explained.



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The Jonker No. 5 Diamond by Harry Winston goes up for auction. Photo courtesy of Christie’s


 

The Taylor Burton

Weight: 240.80ct rough, 68.0ct polished


Origin: Premier mine


Date of discovery: 1966


The stone was bought by Harry Winston who studied it for six months before working on it. In 1969, it was purchased by actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. It was subsequently worn by Elizabeth Taylor at Princess Grace of Monaco’s 40th birthday and at the 42nd Academy Awards. In 1980, Robert Mouawad of Mouawad jewellers, and the diamond’s subsequent owner, had it recut to 68.0ct.

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www.treasurediamonds.co.za/2017/06/21/ taylor-burton-diamond/

Premier Rose

Weight: 353.9ct rough, 137.02ct polished


Origin: Premier mine


Date of discovery: 1978


The stone was purchased by the Mouw Diamond Cutting works, a Johannesburg company and named after Mrs Rose Mouw. It produced three gems, the largest the pear-shaped Premier Rose.

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www.williamgoldberg.com/house-of-goldberg/2015/08/ famous-diamonds-part-1-the-premier-rose/


 

Golden Jubilee

Weight: 755.50ct rough, 545.67ct polished


Origin: Premier mine


Date of discovery: 1985


The Golden Jubilee was presented to the King of Thailand in 1997 for his Golden Jubilee – the 50th anniversary of his coronation – by a syndicate of Thai business men. It is the largest cut and faceted diamond, of any colour, in the world.

Centenary

Weight: 599ct rough, 273.85ct polished


Origin: Premier mine


Date of discovery: 1986


The Centenary was named to commemorate De Beers’ 100th birthday.

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www.aigsthailand.com/Gemology-Course/66/EN

OTHER NOTABLE DIAMONDS

 

The Great Mogul

Weight: ~787ct rough


Origin: India


Date of discovery: 17th century


It was named after Shah Jehan who built the Taj Mahal. Its current location is unknown.

Koh-i-Noor

Weight: ~186ct rough, 108.93ct cut


Origin: India


Date of discovery: 13th century


A Persian conqueror acquired the diamond and named it Koh-I-Noor meaning ‘Mountain of Light’. The diamond was given to Queen Victoria in 1850 and is now part of the British Crown Jewels.

Some Indians consider India to be the rightful owner of the Koh-i-Noor diamond and would like the diamond to be returned to their country.

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The Incomparable

Weight: 890ct rough, 407.48ct cut


Origin: Mbuji Mayi*


Date of discovery: 1980s


The Incomparable was found by a young girl playing in a pile of rubble that was deemed too bulky to be worth scanning for diamonds. The biggest piece of rough yielded this magnificent, rare yellow diamond.

* Near MIBA diamond mine, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Moussaieff Red

Weight: 13.9ct rough, 5.11ct polished


Origin: Alto Paranaiba, Brazil


Date of discovery: 1990s


Red colored diamonds are very rare and the Moussaieff diamond, originally named the Red Shield, is the largest known red diamond. It is currently owned by Moussaieff Jewellers Ltd.


 

The Hope Diamond

Weight: 132ct rough, 45.52ct cut


Origin: 132ct rough, 45.52ct cut


Date of discovery: 1642


The Hope Diamond was set in the royal crown of Louis XIV but was stolen during the French Revolution. In 1830, Henri Thomas Hope, a diamond dealer, bought a blue diamond which is believed to be part of the Hope Diamond. It was gifted to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC in 1958.

The Hope Diamond is supposedly cursed, bringing bad luck to anyone who owns it.

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