We tend to gasp each time we see someone wearing a huge (read massive!) diamond, go through our list of the top 5 most famous diamonds known to mankind, and you will surely run out of breath – they are THAT big and shiny!
1. The Great Star of Africa – Carats: 530.20
Also known as the Cullinan I and Star Africa, this particular diamond happens to be the largest cut diamond in the entire world. It is pear shaped with 74 facets, and is set in the Royal Scepter, which is placed with other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. This diamond was actually cut from the largest diamond crystal to have ever been found – the 3, 1096 carat Cullian, found in Transvaal, South Africa in 1095 during an inspection tour of the Premier Mine. It was Joseph Asscher and Company of Amsterdam that initially cut the Cullian, and examined the substantially sized crystal for nearly six months prior to working out how it had to be divided. Eventually, it yielded about nine major, and 96 smaller brilliant cut stones. Upon being initially discovered, there were signs that suggested that the Cullian might have been part of a much larger crystal. However, the other missing half has never been authenticated.
2. The Orloff – Carats: 300
Found in India, this diamond has a slightly bluish green appearance and was exceptionally pure in terms of clarity. It is a Mogul-cut rose shaped diamond, and is currently placed in the Diamond Treasury of Russia in Moscow.It is believed that this diamond was first set as the diamond eye of a Hindu god Vishnu’s idol, in the innermost sanctuary temple in Sriangam. However, a French deserter stole it in the 1700s. What needs to be mentioned here is that the deserter was only able to dig out one eye for fear of retribution. He traveled to Madras where he sold it for 2, 000 pounds to an English sea-captain.
With the passage of time, the stone arrived at Amsterdam wherein Grigori Orloff, the Russian Count was residing. He was the ex-lover of Empress Catherine the Great, he purchased the stone for 90, 000 pounds and brought it to Russia for Catherine. The stone has since been named the Orloff. Catherine mounted the stone in the Imperial Sceptre, and in exchange for the Orloff, she gave a marble palace to Grigori – the stone could not help Grigori win Catherine’s love, which lead to Grigori’s death in 1783. The Orloff was then hidden in a priest’s tomb by the Russian in 1812 when they feared that Napolean was about to enter Moscow. Supposedly, Napoleon found the Orloff and was about to claim it when a priest’s ghost appered and cursed the Army. This made Napoleon scamper away without the Orloff.
3. The Centenary Diamond – Carats: 273.85
Discovered at the Premier Mine in July 1986, the Centenary diamond is believed to have weighed about 599.10 carats in the rough. Master cutter Gabi Tolkowsky and his select team took nearly three years to transform it in to the largest, most modern-cut, flawless, and top-colour diamond. It is known to possess 247 facets with 164 of them on the stone, and 83 over its girdle. On the whole, it weight 273.85 carats. It was unveiled in May 1991 at the Tower of London.
4. The Regent – Carats: 140.50
Although The Regent has been surpassed in terms of its weight by other diamonds, its perfect cut and limpidity make it stand out. The stone was initially discovered in 1698 in India where Thomas Pitt, the Governor of Madras acquired it, after which it was sent to England for cutting purpose. The diamond was sold to the Regent in 1717 for the French Crown. It was first fixed on the band of Louis XV’s silver gilt crown in 1722 for his coronation. After which it was placed on Louis XVI’s crown in 1775. Later it was placed on the hilt of the First Consul’s sword in 1801, and then in 1812 on the Emperor’s two-edged sword. In 1825 the diamond was worn on the crown at the coronation of Charles x, and during the Second Empire it embellished the “Grecian diadem” of the Empress Eugenie. Currently, the Regent is placed at the Louvre in Paris.
5. Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) Carats: 105.60
This oval cut diamond is now a part of the British Crown Jewels. The Mountain of Light, has a history that dates back to 1304, which happens to be the longest of all the most famous diamonds. It was the Rajahs of Malwa that captured the diamond in the sixteenth century by the Mogul Sultan Babar. It later remained in the possession of Mogul emperors and is believed to have been set in the famous Peacock Throne that was prepared for Shah Jehan.
After the break-up of the Persian empire, this diamond reached India. Although it might have travelled to Afghanistan as well with a bodyguard of Nadir Shah, who ran away with the stone when Shah got murdered. He later offered it to Ranjit Singh of Punjab to acquire military help. Later, the diamond was claimed by the East India Company as a partial indemnity during the fights between the British and the Sikhs. The East India Company then presented it to Queen Victoria in 1850. The stone is said to weigh nearly 1986 carats upon coming from India. However, it was then recut to about 108.93 carats and the Queen first wore it in a brooch. Later it was set in the State Crown, worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, and 1937 was worn for by Queen Elizabeth for her coronation. At the moment, the diamond can be found in the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels.
Coster Diamonds is the oldest diamond polishing factory in the world. Located in the heart of Amsterdam between the Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh museum we welcome more than 400.000 visitors each year.
The largest selection of unset diamonds, the finest diamond jewellery and tax-free shopping makes us a must-see hotspot for anybody visiting Amsterdam or looking for high quality diamond jewellery.
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