The Cullinan Diamonds

 

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Some diamonds have achieved worldwide fame for their exquisite beauty and size of the stone as well as for the people who have owned them. One of the most famous examples is the 3106 carat Cullinan, which is the largest rough, gem-quality diamond ever found. It weighed approximately 1⅓ pounds and was slightly less than 4 inches long, over 2 inches wide and more than 2.5 inches high.

The Cullinan was discovered in Transvaal, South Africa in 1905 at the Premier Mine and named for the owner of the mine, Thomas Cullinan. Initially it was believed that it may be part of a larger diamond because of the flat surface on one side, although another piece has never been found.

The huge, uncut diamond was sold to the Transvaal government for $1 million, who then gave it to England’s King Edward VII in thanks for granting Transvaal their independence. The king sent the stone to the Asscher’s Diamond Company in Amsterdam where it was cut into 9 major gemstones, 96 smaller stones and approximately 19.5cts of unpolished pieces.

The largest diamond cut from the Cullinan was the pear-shaped, 530.2 carat Cullinan I (also known as the Great Star of Africa). The 74 faceted stone is the largest fine-quality, colorless diamond in the world and is set into the British Royal Scepter. The 317.4 carat cushion cut Cullinan II (Lesser Star of Africa) is the second largest stone cut from the Cullinan and is mounted on the band of the Imperial State Crown.

The pear-shaped 94.40 carat Cullinan III is the third largest stone cut from the Cullinan and was used as the finial of Queen Mary’s Crown. The cushion shaped, 63.60-carat Cullinan IV was set into the band of the crown. Both stones can be worn together as a pendent-brooch and are seen worn that way in paintings of Queen Mary as well as on Elizabeth II. The Cullinan diamonds are part of the renowned British Crown Jewels and are on display in the Tower of London.

Since 1974, Padis Jewelry has been a trusted source for buying exquisite certified loose diamonds, engagement rings and fine jewelry. We are one of the only jewelers in the area that offers such an exclusive selection of top names in the industry as well as such a large inventory. If you are a lover of beautiful jewels, please schedule at visit to San Francisco’s finest jewelry showrooms.

Sources: capetowndiamondmuseum.org/about-diamonds/famous-diamonds/; famousdiamonds.tripod.com/cullinandiamonds.html

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