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Top 5 world’s most expensive diamonds: No. 5 – De Beers Centenary Diamond

May 17, 2017/ BY Frank van Poorten

They speak to the imagination and break many records at auctions. It is frankly impossible to make a top 10 of the most expensive diamonds. However, a top 5 should be possible. Of the millions of carats that people find every year, a few of them are really special. The most special and expensive diamonds are in this top 5. These diamonds are so rare that they are only found once every 100 years.  

What makes the Top 5 so expensive?

The most expensive diamonds are not always the biggest stones. The price of a diamond depends on the factors purity, color and place of origin. Expensive diamonds such as the ones in this top 5 are often in possession of museums or royalties. The value of a diamond is determined by the GIA: the Gemological Institute of America. This organization provides the rating of the Carat, the Color, the Clarity and the Cut. In short, the good old 4 C’s which apply to every diamond.

the Centenary Diamond in a woman's hand

Carat of the Centenary Diamond

De Beers Centenary Diamond is a 273,85 carat diamond. It is the third largest diamond that was found in the Premier Mine. This mine belongs to the firm De Beers.

Color of the Centenary Diamond

The GIA graded this diamond a D color. This is the highest rating for colorless diamonds. Of the “top colored” diamonds, only the Cullinan I and II are larger than this diamond.

Clarity of the Centenary Diamond

The clarity of this stone is “pure”. This is a very rare clarity. Every year, only a couple of diamonds with this purity are found. Let alone this size.

the Centenary Diamond with reflecting light and shiny background

Cut of the Centenary Diamond

The diamond received its name on May 11, 1988, at the 100th anniversary of the ‘De Beers Consolidated Mines’. After its name was announced, the stone was cut into the current shape. Of the 599 carat rough stone, a large 273 carat diamond remained. The final form of the Centenary Diamond was revealed in May 1991.

The shape is remarkable. After removing the rough edges, an egg-shaped stone of 500 carat remained. At the time, designers had created thirteen different sketches for the diamond cut. De Beers choose the design for the final cut.

The design De Beers chose was a shape that was perfect to adorn the turban of a Maharaja or Sultan. The diamond has a modern heart shape cut, but without the nick at the top. The Centenary has 247 facets. 164 facets are on the upper and lower part. On the belt (the widest part of the diamond), there are another 83 facets.

De Beers Centenary Diamond now

The stone is insured for the amount of over 100 million US dollars. For a couple of years, the people of England borrowed the diamond to exhibit it in the Tower of London. After this, the stone was probably sold. De Beers told they are no longer the owner. The current owner of the stone remains unknown.

Are you intrigued by diamonds? You can see a lot of special diamonds in our free diamond tour

the Centenary Diamond compared to small diamond

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