The world’s most famous diamonds are a rare combination of size, cut and importantly colour. From the dramatic blues, to unique greens, to colourless perfection, these ten famous diamonds are the definition of exquisite.
The Great Star of Africa (also called the Cullinan I)
The Great Star of Africa is the largest polished gem from the world’s largest, polished white diamond, the Cullinan Diamond found in the Transvaal, South Africa. The pear-shaped Great Star is, at 530.4 carats, the largest cut diamond in the world. It is now part of the British Crown Jewels.
This pear-shaped diamond is from South Africa and originally weighed 240.8 carats, but was then resized to 69.42 carats. It is famous, in part, because of its owner and movie star Elizabeth Taylor. Richard Burton, her movie star husband, paid US $1.1 million for the stone and gave it to Miss Taylor as a gift. She sold it to charity in 1979.
Golden Jubilee Diamond
Discovered in 1985, this is the world’s largest cut and faceted diamond at 545.67 carats. The diamond was found in the Premier mine, which is same mine that the Taylor-Burton, Cullinan I, and the Centenary diamonds are from. The yellow-brown diamond has a fire-rose cushion cut and is valued at US $4 to 12 million.
This famous diamond was shown to the world in its current form in 1991. It is the largest Grade D colourless diamond in the world. Cut into a modified heart-shape at 273.85 carats, it is perfect in colour and size making it a rare diamond that is estimated to be valued at US $100 million.
Currently thought to be owned by De Beers, it is Grade D colourless diamond. Cut in pear shape, it dates to a 1990 find in Zaire. At 203.04 carats, it is the second largest colourless diamond in the world, second only to the Centenary Diamond.
The Orloff is a pure and bluish green diamond, with a Mogul-cut rose from India. It was named after Russian count Orloff bought the stone for Catherine the Great. At 300 carats, the stone was hidden for years, but is now on display at the Diamond Treasury in Moscow.
This walnut-shaped diamond is 45.5 carats. Hope Diamond is one of the world’s best known diamonds, named after its first owner, Henry Thomas Hope. Its notoriety stems from its deep, greyish blue colour and its association with its last owner, Evalyn Walsh McLean. The presence of the mineral boron is one possible explanation for the blue colour of this diamond that is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution in the United States.
Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light)
This is the oldest of the most famous diamonds in the world and dates back to 1304. It was part of the Peacock Thrown of the Taj Majal builder Shah Jehan. The East India Company claimed this finest white stone when it was 1986 carats, but it was then re-cut to 108.3 carats. Queen Elizabeth wore if for her coronation and it is part of the Crown Jewels now kept in the Tower of London.
The Regent Stone also comes from India. Found in 1698, this diamond is white with pale blue colour. The cushion cut is 140.64 carats. The diamond found its way to the jewels of French royalty when, in 1721, Louis XV wore it at a reception and for his coronation. It is on display at the Louvre.
Dresden (Dresden Green)
A rare and natural apple green coloured diamond, the Dresden dates back to 1722. It is a 41 carat diamond that turned green after exposure to natural radioactive materials. The Dresden is a unique and rare diamond because its green colour is true throughout the entire diamond, instead of a skin-like coating similar to other green diamonds. The diamond is on display at Dresden Castle in Germany.
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