History of use

How much did the largest diamond in history weigh?

The Star of Africa has long held the position of the largest diamond in the world. It was found on the territory of modern South Africa at the beginning of the last century. The British royal family purchased a single diamond and divided it into several pieces. Nine of the precious shards are still preserved in the British Treasury as a historical and cultural attraction. Some African stars are worn by Queen Elizabeth II during state visits or receptions.

Diamond Cullinan: the story of a gem

In January 1905, a large diamond was found at the Premier mine in the Transvaal colony (formerly a province of South Africa). According to research, it formed in the transitional mantle of the Earth at a depth of 410–660 km and reached the surface 1,18 billion years ago. The gem was discovered by Frederick Wells, the mine manager, and named it after the mine’s founder, Sir Thomas Cullinan. Four of the eight surfaces of the blue-white mineral were smooth. This suggests that it was part of a very large octahedral crystal, although the crystal itself was not found. Almost immediately after its discovery, the Cullinan Diamond was put on public display in Johannesburg. When it was delivered to Buckingham Palace, the Prime Minister of the Transvaal Colony offered the king to buy the gem as a sign of loyalty and affection. The Legislative Council on this issue was assembled in 1907 and the opinions of the council members were divided. Winston Churchill convinced Edward VII to buy the diamond, for which he subsequently received a copy of the gem. On 23 January 1908, Joseph Usher, handpicked by the King, came to London to collect Cullinan. He returned to Amsterdam by ferry and train. The jeweler was so worried about the safety of the mineral that he carried it exclusively in his coat pocket, which he never took off during the trip. The Cullinan rough diamond was cut in half in February 1908. The level of technology at that time was not sufficiently developed to guarantee quality that met modern standards. Diamond cutting was a complex and risky operation, so the jeweler spent three weeks planning and preparing. First, a dimension of 1,3 cm deep was made, which allowed the stone to be cut with one blow. But this is such painstaking and complex work that just cutting took several days, and the first steel knife completely broke. In total, splitting and cutting took 8 months of work by three people, 14 hours a day. There is a legend that Joseph Asher invited a doctor and a nurse to his laboratory, which turned out to be very useful. After the master decided to split the diamond, he lost consciousness. This legend is dispelled by Louis, Joseph’s nephew, who claims that not a single member of the Usher family would faint while working with any diamond, even the Star of Africa.

Precious fragments

The Royal Asscher Diamond Company processed the solid Cullinan diamond. Jewelers divided the mineral into 9 main stones and 96 small diamonds. The total weight of the nine precious fragments is 1 carats (055 g), and the total weight of the small crystals is 211 carats (19,5 g). According to the agreement between Edward VII and Ussher’s company, all stones, except the Great and Little Star of Africa, remained with the jewelers as payment for services. In 1907, Edward bought the sixth Cullinan as a gift to Queen Alexandra, and the remaining pieces of the majestic diamond were purchased by the South African government. It is noteworthy that as a result of the gifts that Queen Mary received, all nine parts of the Star of Africa were again in the possession of the British royal family.


Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa weighs 530,2 carats (106,04 g) and has 74 facets. It was processed into pandelok cutting. This is a type of teardrop-shaped coupon cut. Pandelok is often used to create diamond jewelry, suitable for evening and cocktail dresses. But a different fate awaited the Big Star of Africa. In 1910, it was redesigned and installed into the Scepter of Edward VII (Royal Scepter of the British Empire), which is traditionally used when a new monarch of Great Britain is coronated. Until 1985, the Cullinan I was the largest diamond in the world, until the discovery of the Golden Jubilee diamond, which surpasses the Star of Africa by 15 carats. But if you take into account the weight of the uncut Cullinan I, it will be larger than the Golden Jubilee. The transparency of the mineral still surprises jewelers, because despite its origin and processing, the diamond has only a few tiny cracks and a small grainy spot. The craftsmen provided the gem with special loops, thanks to which the mineral can be removed from the frame. This allows you to wear the stone as a pendant along with the small star of Africa. This is exactly what Queen Mary did. The price of the largest diamond in the world in 1908 alone was $2,5 million, which according to experts today is $52 million. The estimated value for 2021 is $2 billion, based on cut and historical significance. However, the royal family never put the mineral up for auction.


The Crown of the British Empire is the first and permanent home of the second Star of Africa. Only those precious stones that have historical significance for the British Empire are inlaid into the crown. In addition to the star of Africa, there is a sapphire of St. Edward, Black Prince Ruby (actually a 105 carat red spinel), Stuart Sapphire. Cullinan II weighs 317,4 carats (63,48 g). The Second Star of Africa is distinguished by a number of minor flaws, scratches and a small chip, which does not prevent it from being part of the most expensive diamond in the world.

Small Stars of Africa

Cullinan III was cut into a pear-cut by the Royal Jewelers and weighs 94 carats (18 g). The gem was very loved by Queen Mary, the wife of George V, so it was installed in the central claw cross of the crown that was used for Mary’s coronation. Since Britain’s crown jewels cannot be taken out of the country even by kings, in 1912 Mary had to order a separate crown to attend the Delhi Darbar, a public event organized by the British family in India. Cullinan III also often replaces the Lahore Diamond in Queen Victoria’s famous necklace, which is worn by members of the family during her coronation. Cullinan IV was originally placed in Queen Mary’s crown with which she was crowned. In the center of the crown is the Koinur or Kohinoor diamond (Mountain of Light diamond, 105 carats), and at the bottom is the Cullinan IV. But in 1914, the stone was removed from the crown to create a brooch, Queen Mary’s favorite accessory. The gem has a square cut and weighs 63,6 carats (12 g). The Small Stars of Africa now belong to the current Queen Elizabeth II. In 1958, the Queen and Prince Philip were on a state visit to the Netherlands, during which they visited the Asscher diamond company. To meet Louis Usher, the nephew of Joseph Ussher, who cut the largest diamond, the Queen wore the brooch in public for the first time. During the meeting, she mentioned that the small Stars of Africa in her family are called Granny’s Chips, which can be translated as grandmother’s pieces. Louis Usher was 84 years old at the time and was deeply touched that the Queen brought diamonds to the company, realizing the significance it would have for him personally and for his company 50 years later.

Heart brooch

Cullinan V is one of the most famous small parts of the Star of Africa. It was processed into a heart cut that was complex at that time. When choosing jewelry that could be set with a gem, Queen Mary requested a brooch in 1911. The mineral was inlaid into a platinum brooch, which was additionally decorated with a scattering of small diamonds. Despite the fact that the decoration turned out to be independent, Queen Mary often used it as a pendant with a diamond in addition to the pendant with Cullinan VIII or as the second part of the Cullinan VIII brooch.

Cullinan VI and Cullinan VIII

Cullinan VI is the largest diamond fragment weighing 11,5 carats (2,3 G). The gem was processed into a marquise cut. Together with Cullinan VIII was part of the corsage of the parure. The sixth fragment was processed at the same time as the fifth, so their characteristics and appearance are similar. In the accessory, the Cullinan VI is surrounded by 96 other smaller diamonds. Cullinan VIII is a mineral with an elongated oval cut. It weighs 6,8 carats (1,36 g). For a long time it was one of the central parts of the stomak (decorative insert of the bodice) in the parure (a set of jewelry made in the same style) of the “Cambridge – Delhi Durbar” of Queen Mary, the grandmother of the current Queen of Great Britain. Queen Mary’s parure consisted of: tiara, jewelry earrings with diamonds, brooches, stomak, necklace with other Cullinans. The Cullinan VIII necklace was added much later, so the piece consists of two pendants, but in the same style.

Cullinan VII

Cullinan VII is the seventh precious fragment of the largest diamond in the world. Craftsmen gave it a marquise cut, after which its weight is 8,8 carats (1,7 g). The mineral was originally given to Queen Alexandra by her husband Edward VII. Perhaps the goal was to create a gold engagement ring with a diamond, but the jewelers suggested that such a valuable diamond should not be encrusted in any jewelry. For a long time, Cullinan VII was kept in the treasury of British monarchs, until Queen Alexandra gave the gem to Queen Mary. Like the other diamonds, the new owner had the stone set into a necklace of diamonds and emeralds that was part of the Cambridge-Delhi Durbar parure.

Cullinan IX

The smallest fragment of the gemstone is called the Cullinan IX diamond. The mineral was given a pear cut. Its weight is 4,39 carats (0,8 g), which made it possible to set it into jewelry. The Cullinan IX is set in a platinum ring, which once again emphasizes that the Star of Africa is the most expensive diamond in the world. Diamonds have always served as a symbol of luxury and wealth. Throughout its history, humanity has found and cut thousands and thousands of stones, but among them there is one special one – the largest diamond in the world. Who could find such an amazing treasure? This unique diamond was found in 1905 in South Africa, in the Pretoria mine near the city of Cullinar, and was named “Cullinan”. It weighs a staggering 3 carats, which is equivalent to approximately 106 grams. Impressive, right? Before becoming one of the most celebrated diamonds, the Cullinan was part of a 3-carat diamond. However, he gained fame after becoming the main stone in british crown.

The most expensive stone

For centuries, diamonds have always been considered one of the most precious stones on the planet. However, there is a certain diamond that stands out from all the rest due to its staggering value. This diamond is known as the Cullinan and is considered the most expensive stone in the world. Cullinan was found in South Africa at the beginning of the 3th century. This huge diamond of outstanding quality caused a global stir in the jewelry industry. The Cullinan weighs over 100 carats, making it one of the largest large diamonds ever found.

Division and cutting

Following the discovery, the Cullinan was sold to the Prime Minister of South Africa at the time, who presented the diamond to King Edward VII of Great Britain. In 1908, the huge diamond was taken to London, where it was cut into several smaller stones. One of these became known as Cullinan I, or the Star of Africa, and is the main stone of the British crown. Other stones sourced from the Cullinan were also used to create the impressive collection of jewelery that can be seen today in the Royal Collections of Great Britain. In total, 105 different diamond stones were created, and the total value of all these jewelry remains immeasurable.

Meaning and appeal

The Cullinan’s price is determined not only by its size and quality, but also by its historical and cultural value. The stone represents the luxury and power of the British Crown, and its bright white color and luster make it truly magnificent. The richness and rarity of the Cullinan is timeless, and it remains perhaps the most significant diamond in the world. Its majestic presence in the Royal Collections of Great Britain reminds us of the greatness of diamonds and how they continue to be a symbol of luxury and sophistication to this day.

The largest diamond in the world

In 1908, Cullinan was presented to the English King Edward VII in honor of his 66th anniversary. The crystal was sent to London, where it was cut into 105 diamonds of various sizes and shapes, including the famous 66-carat Star of Africa and the 27-carat Heart of the Capet. The Cullinan remained the world’s largest diamond until 1985, when the Golden Orient was discovered in Siberia. However, the Cullinan still remains the largest rough diamond ever found.

Name Weight (carat)
Cullinan 3106
Golden East 2562
Lesotho Star 968.9
Star of Africa 530.2
Heart of the Capetians 273.85

The Cullinan is an amazing diamond that has left an indelible mark on the history of jewelry. Its cultural and historical significance cannot be overstated and it continues to impress with its beauty and uniqueness.

Unique properties

The largest diamond in the world, which was named the Star of Africa, has several unique properties that make it special and valuable.

Amazing value

The Star of Africa Diamond is one of the largest gemstones ever found. It weighs over 500 carats, which is equivalent to about 100 grams. The size of this diamond is amazing – it has an irregular shape and is an irregular hexagon with numerous edges and faces. Thanks to its impressive weight, the Star of Africa takes its rightful place among other famous and valuable diamonds in the world. Its size makes it unique and attractive to both collectors and jewelry lovers.

Exceptional cleanliness

Undoubtedly, one of the most important characteristics of a diamond is its purity. The Star of Africa is distinguished by its exceptional purity, which makes it even more valuable and attractive. This diamond was found in South Africa and most of its facets are completely free of impurities. The absence of inclusions and impurities allows the Star of Africa diamond to sparkle and shimmer with delightful multi-colored lights and reflections of light. This makes it a unique and inimitable gemstone. Dredged from the depths of the Earth millions of years ago, this diamond has an aesthetic grace and brilliance that seems almost magical. And although today the Star of Africa is safely protected in one of the most famous jewelry collections in the world, the story of its discovery and its unique properties remain outstanding proof of its unfathomable natural beauty.

Amazing facts

Despite its enormous size, the world’s largest diamond, named the Cullinan, weighs an incredible 3 carats. This is equivalent to approximately 106 pounds or 1,37 grams. Given its incredible value, it is kept under strict security at the Jewelry Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. Cullinan was found in the Premier Valley in South Africa in 1905. It was named after the chief geologist who worked at the mine, Frederick Cullinan. Before it is broken into many smaller diamonds and used to create precious jewelry, it is dissected and studied by specialists to determine its quality and potential use. The Cullinan is the largest diamond ever found, and its history and origins are surrounded by much legend and mystery. It defeated its competitors with its mass and unparalleled quality. And although we can only dream of owning such a unique gemstone, we can enjoy its stories and legends and continue to admire its brilliant shine through glass in a museum or in photographs.

Unusual story

It all started in January 1905, when oil-soaked mine worker Frederick Weldssam discovered a commercial-scale diamond in South Africa. Great skill and years of experience were required to cut a rough cut diamond. After several hundred hours of work by the master, 105 diamonds of various shapes and weights were obtained. The resulting diamonds were collected and given to the Governor General of South Africa, who decided to present them to King Edward VII. In London a year later, on January 9, 1908, specialists from the company I. Kaposi and Sona divided the largest crystal into nine parts. Extreme care and attention was required to avoid unexpected changes or destruction. Early visitors and guests had the opportunity to pay £2,500 (more than £300,000 today) to view the large diamonds. Cullinan’s Diamond Eye was the entrance side of the diamond ridge. Cullinan was divided into two largest parts, which were presented to the royal couple. After careful design and cutting, these two Cullinan diamonds became the most famous and precious stones in history – the Crown of St. Edward and known as the Star of South Africa. The unusual history of Cullinan continues to this day, the stones continue to amaze with their rarity, their history and beauty occupy a worthy place in the history of precious stones.

Price and find

The price of the world’s largest diamond to be found is difficult to determine precisely because its value depends on many factors, such as its size, clarity, color, and so on. However, it is known that the largest diamond in the world, the Cullinan, was cut into several smaller diamonds, of which the largest jewelers value them at several million dollars. Found in Premier Main in South Africa, Cullinan was discovered in 1905. A miner named Thomas Callander noticed something sparkling and dazzling on the ground. He even thought at first that it was just a piece of glass, because diamonds cannot be that big and bright. However, when he picked up the discovered stone, the Cullinan turned out to be the largest diamond in the world. Its weight was about 3106 carats (621,2 g). It was decided that the diamond would be presented to the British King Edward VII. Cullinan was subsequently divided into several smaller diamonds, of which two – “Cullinan I” and “Cullinan II” – became part of the British Crown. The discovery of Cullinan became a sensation in the world of jewelry stones and diamond prices rose. Since then, diamonds have remained one of the most expensive and coveted items in the world.

FAQ: The largest diamond in the world

What is the largest diamond in the world?

The largest diamond in the world is the Cullinan Diamond, which was found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3106 carats (621,2 g), making it the largest known diamond. After processing, it was divided into several large and many small stones, which adorn many jewelry items around the world.

What color is the largest diamond in the world?

The largest diamond in the world, the Cullinan, is flawless white. This makes it especially valuable and attractive for jewelry.

How much is the largest diamond in the world worth?

The value of the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, is difficult to pinpoint. Due to its huge size and impeccable quality, its price is priceless. However, its fragments, which were divided and decorated with jewelry, are valued at millions of dollars.

What is the history of the Cullinan Diamond?

The Cullinan diamond was found in a mine in South Africa in 1905. It got its name from the mine chairman who discovered it. The diamond was recognized as the largest diamond in the world and was presented to King Edward VII of Great Britain. After this, the diamond was divided into several large and many small stones, which became part of various jewelry around the world.

What other famous diamonds are there in the world?

Besides the Cullinan diamond, there are many other famous diamonds in the world. Some of them are Cullinan II and Cullinan III, which are large cut stones derived from the Cullinan diamond. There are also Jubilee Diamond, Sultan, Hope and many others which are known for their unique characteristics and value.

What is the largest diamond in the world?

The largest diamond in the world is the Cullinan Diamond, also known as the Star of Africa. It weighs 3106 carats (621,2 g), making it the largest diamond ever found.

When and where was the Cullinan Diamond found?

The Cullinan Diamond was found in South Africa in January 1905. It was discovered in the Primrose mine, which is located near the city of Pretoria. The diamond was given by the Transvaal government as a gift to King Edward VII of Great Britain on his 66th birthday.

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