Rare and valuable minerals

What is the name of the largest diamond in the world weighing 3106 carats?

Diamond is one of the most valuable minerals. Its name translated from Greek means “indestructible.” The talent and skill of carvers transform rough stones into real works of art – diamonds that attract the attention of rich and noble people, representatives of the creative intelligentsia, and adventurers. The most expensive diamonds in the world usually have a fascinating biography, which often includes travels across continents, love stories, intrigues, high-profile trials and even bloody conflicts.

“Culinnan I” or “Star of Africa I”

A large diamond weighing 621,35 g (3106,75 carats) was found in 1905 in South Africa in the mines owned by Thomas Cullinnan. The most interesting thing is that it was located at a distance of only 9 m from the ground level and only a pocket knife was needed to remove it. In 1907, the jewel was presented as a gift to King Edward VII of Great Britain. At that time it was worth more than 8 million pounds. During processing, the colorless, fist-sized gem was split into 9 large and 96 small pieces. The total mass of manufactured diamonds is more than 1063 carats. The largest diamond, called “Culinnan I” or “Star of Africa I”, is cut in the shape of a teardrop, weighs 530,4 carats and is considered priceless (estimated value is $400 million). Its place is on the royal scepter of Great Britain, where the diamond was placed by order of Edward VII. The relic is kept in the Tower of London. If the stone is removed from the scepter, it can be worn on formal clothing as a brooch. In the general range of diamonds, “Cullinan I” is in second place after the “Golden Jubilee” (545,67 carats), a stone that appeared at the end of the last century. But among colorless gems, “Star of Africa I” holds a leading position.

“Culinnan II” or “Second Star of Africa”

The second largest diamond produced by cutting the Culinnan Diamond is called the Culinnan II or Second Star of Africa. Its mass is 317,4 kart. The type of cut is cushion (“cushion”). “Culinnan II” is shaped like a square with rounded edges. It is especially beautiful when lit with candles, the light of which reveals its pure depth. The large stone takes pride of place as the centerpiece of the British Empire Crown. It is surrounded by St Edward’s and Stuart sapphires, and above it shines the Black Prince’s Ruby. The “Second Star of Africa” has lugs that allow it to be worn as a brooch along with its “big brother” – “Culinnan I”.

“Small Stars of Africa”

Large stones obtained from the processing of the Cullinnan diamond were inherited from one English queen to another. The Culinnan III (94,4 carats) and Culinnan IV (63,3 carats) diamonds are collectively called the “Small Stars of Africa.” The 56-facet cut gives the Culinnan III its pear-shaped shape. “Culinnan IV” has a cushion cut. Both diamonds shone in the British crown and then served as a brooch for Mary of Teck. The base of the jewelry is a cushion-cut stone, and the pendant is a teardrop-shaped diamond. The Queen wore the luxurious diamond brooch until her death, and in 1953 it was inherited by her granddaughter, Elizabeth II.

“Our Light”

The second largest diamond after Culinnan is considered to be the Lesedi la Rona (“Our Light”) diamond, weighing 1109 carats, found in 2015 in Botswana at the mine of the Canadian company Lucara Diamond. In this mine, located on the border of the Kalahari and Karoo deserts, two more very large stones were previously found – 813 and 374 carats. According to scientists, the Our Light diamond is the same age as life on Earth. Researchers estimate its age at 3 million years. In September 2017, Lucara Diamond sold Lesedi for $53 million to Lawrence Graff, founder of the GraffDiamonds jewelry house. After 18 months of work, a unique collection of 67 diamonds was obtained, including the Graff Lesedi la Rona, the largest emerald-cut square diamond in the world (302,37 carats).


In June 1893, a black worker walked into the office of the manager of the South African Jagersfontein mine in Sierra Leone holding in his hand a large stone of an unusual shape, one side of which was flat. Its mass was 194,2 g (971,75 carats). The elongated diamond was called Excelsior – “the highest.” “Excelsior” was distinguished by its ideal purity and other excellent jewelry characteristics. It had a rare white color with a slightly bluish tint. Excelsior was transported from the field to Cape Town under the guard of cavalry, and was brought to Britain on a military ship. For 10 years, the further fate of the stone remained uncertain. In 1903, Dutch jeweler Henry Koo cut the diamond into 21 elements. The total weight loss during processing was 62,5%. All diamonds were sold individually. Three stones were purchased by Tiffany, one by De Beers. The identity of the rest was unknown. The largest diamond, named Excelsior I, weighs 69,8 carats. In 1996, it was purchased by antique dealer and jeweler R. Muawad for $2,46 million and made part of an exclusive design bracelet. In 2004, model Heidi Klum advertised this large diamond as a bra decoration. The cost of the stone at that time was $11 million.

“Star of Sierra Leone”

A diamond weighing 969,8 carats was found in 1972 on the territory of the state of Sierra Leone. The initial processing of the stone produced a huge diamond weighing 143,2 carats. But the presence of an internal defect forced the jewelers to continue working and divide the gem into smaller fragments. A total of 17 diamonds of perfect clarity were produced.

“The Legend of Lesotho”

A large diamond weighing 910 carats was discovered in 2018 in the Letsheng mine in Lesotho. This mine supplies the market with some of the highest quality diamonds in the world. The stone found was comparable in size to two golf balls – transparent, perfectly clean, without foreign impurities. That same year, mining company Gem Diamonds Ltd sold a diamond called the Legend of Lesotho in Antwerp for $40 million. The owner of the Legend wished to remain anonymous. And today the fate of the stone is also unknown.


The Kohinoor Diamond (“Mountain of Light”) is a unique stone that has belonged to British monarchs for more than 170 years. The diamond came to the British in 1849 as a result of the seizure of the Lahore treasure. Those close to Queen Victoria tried to persuade her to refuse such a gift, since Kohinoor had a very bad reputation. Over the course of six centuries (the stone has been officially known since the beginning of the 18th century), XNUMX owners of the diamond have died. According to legend in India, Kohinoor fell from the sky. God Krishna warned people that those who obtain the stone through dishonest means will end their life in suffering. Historians claim that the name of the diamond was given by the Persian ruler Nadir Shah, who captured Delhi. Seeing a large shining stone, he exclaimed: “Kohinoor!” Like many other owners of the treasure, Nadir Shah faced a tragic fate. At first he was overcome by psychiatric illness, and in 1748 he was killed. And the stone. disappeared. After the palace coup, the son of Nadir Shah was subjected to terrible torture, but did not reveal the secret of “Kohinoor”. The diamond was discovered many years later, walled up in a prison wall. Queen Victoria of Great Britain agreed to accept the stone as a gift for two reasons. Firstly, the legend said that women were not in danger: “Only God or a woman can wield it with impunity.” Secondly, the queen received a document from the maharaja’s son indicating that the stone was given to her voluntarily. At the beginning of the 2015st century, the governments of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran claimed ownership of the treasure. But in XNUMX, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the Kohinoor should continue to be owned by the British monarchs because the diamond was legally transferred to the English Crown. Scientists estimate that in 1300 the diamond weighed 600–793 carats. In 1852, its weight was 186 carats. By order of Victoria, the stone underwent another treatment. As a result, the diamond lost its yellowish tint, which the queen did not like, and began to weigh 105,6 carats. Scientists believe that the recutting was a mistaken step, since it not only deprived the diamond of its historical value, but also created an unpleasant “black hole” effect that occurs when looking directly at the stone. Queen Victoria wore a brooch with this diamond. In 1902 he decorated the crown of Queen Alexandra, and in 1911 – Mary. Today the Kohinoor Diamond is kept in the Tower of London. Today it is the most expensive diamond. It is unknown exactly how much the stone costs; it is considered priceless. But according to some reports, its value reaches $1 billion.

“Great Mogul”

This large gemstone has a rich history that dates back to 1650. It was found in a mine on the Indian Peninsula. Its weight at that time was 787 carats. A famous Venetian jeweler cut the diamond in the shape of a rose. The weight of the unique jewel was 279 carats. One of its owners was the Shah of Iran, Nadir Shah. In 1747, after the tragic death of the Iranian ruler, the stone disappeared without a trace. It is believed that it was divided into several diamonds. The prominent Russian mineralogist A.E. Fersman believed that the recut “Great Mongol” was the famous “Orlov” diamond.

“Star of the Millennium”

In 1990, a large diamond weighing 777 carats was found in the Mbuji-Mayi mine, located in the Congo. It was divided into several parts. As a result of laser cutting, a unique diamond with an ideal pear shape was created. The colorless stone of rare purity weighs 203,04 carats. He became the prima of the Millennium collection presented in London. The exhibition was dedicated to the new millennium. They tried to steal the collection, but Scotland Yard officers prevented this crime. The gemstone, called the Millennium Star, was used to create a platinum necklace. It shines surrounded by two hundred small but beautiful diamonds. In 2002, the jewelry was spotted during the Cannes Film Festival on model Iman, wife of David Bowie. In 2000, the Millennium Star Diamond was insured for $100 million. According to experts, this jewel is much more expensive.

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TOP 10 largest and most expensive diamonds in the world TOP 10 largest and most expensive diamonds in the world “Culinnan I” or “Star of Africa I” “Culinnan II” or “Second Star of Africa” “Small Stars of Africa” “Our Light” Excelsior “Star of Sierra Leone” “Legend of Lesotho” “Kohinoor” “Great Mogul” “Star of the Millennium” Diamond. The largest natural diamond ever found on Earth is named Cullinan. It was discovered in a mine in South Africa on January 25, 1905. The stone weighed 3106,75 carats (621,35 grams). It got its name from the owner of the mine, Thomas Major Cullinan.

Rice. 1. Diamond Cullinan

The history of the largest diamond

History says that the diamond was found by accident. Mine manager Frederick Wells went on an evening inspection of the Premier mine in the Transvaal and noticed a flash of light overhead. The manager decided that one of his employees was joking and stuck a shard of glass into the roof of the mine. He picked up the “fake” with a penknife and, to his surprise, pulled out a diamond. The largest diamond in the world. The crystal was about 10 cm long, 6 cm wide and 7 cm high. Moreover, it turned out that the stone has exceptional purity. The color of the diamond was whitish blue. After studying the stone, experts came to the conclusion that it was not a separate crystal, but a piece of an even larger stone. This led to the active development of the diamond mining industry. But, alas, the “mother” mineral has not yet been found.

Rice. 2. Frederick Wells and Thomas Cullinan with diamond

The diamond was purchased from the mine owner, Thomas Cullinan, by the Transvaal government for £150. After which it was decided to donate the stone to the English king Edward VII: in this way the country wanted to express gratitude to the Crown for recognizing the constitution of the Transvaal. The decision on the gift was made by voting. But the king could refuse. To the delight of the residents of the Transvaal, Edward VII, on the advice of Winston Churchill, agreed to accept the gift. In 1905, the stone was transported to England. Officially, he was sent on a ship with special honors and security from Scotland Yard. However, in fact, it turned out that the ship and the solemn ceremony of sending Cullinan were just a stage to divert attention. In fact, the diamond was sent by registered post. Royal Mail did not disappoint: the diamond arrived safely in the UK. In 1907 it was presented to Edward VII on his 66th birthday. During the reception, a guarantee was given that “this great and unique diamond will be preserved and protected among the rest of the historical stones that form the heritage of the Crown.”

From diamond to diamonds

The cutting of the Cullinan was entrusted to IJ Asscher & Co, an Amsterdam company of hereditary cutters. The diamond was studied for several months: unfortunately, a number of defects were found. And in the center there was a dark spot surrounded by a light zone, which indicated internal tension in the stone. It was impossible to limit it entirely. They decided to break the stone into several parts.

Figure 3. Joseph Asher breaking the Cullinan Diamond

The work was carried out by the owner of IJ Asscher & Co, Joseph Asscher. In February 1908, the stone was split into 2 parts, and then into smaller ones, based on the existing structure. The result was 9 large stones and 96 small ones. One part of 69,5 carats was left untreated. The big ones got their own names: from Cullinan I to Cullinan IX. All of them are the property of the English Crown.

Cullinan I

The largest of the Cullinan I diamonds is also named the Great Star of Africa. Its weight is 530,2 carats. The stone has a pear-shaped cut with 76 facets. By order of Edward VII, Cullinan I was mounted at the top of the royal scepter. If desired, it can be removed from the scepter and worn as a brooch. Today the scepter with Cullinan I is on display in the Tower. Until 1990, Cullinan I was the largest diamond in the world, but the Golden Jubilee moved it from its pedestal with a weight of 545,67 carats. However, to this day, Cullinan I is the largest diamond with clarity D according to the international classification (colorless).

Fig 4. Cullinan I

Cullinan II

The second largest, Cullinan II, weighs 317,4 carats and is called the “Little Star of Africa.” The Cullinan II cut is cushion. It is mounted on the rim of the Crown of the British Empire. Like the scepter with Cullinan I, it is displayed in the Tower.

Fig 5. Cullinan II in the Crown of the British Empire

Cullinan III and Cullinan IV

The third largest diamond from the Cullinan family was cut into a pear shape. Weight – 94,4 carats. Together with the Cullinan IV (a 63,6-carat cushion-cut square diamond), they were set on the crown of Queen Mary, wife of George V. Mary wore this crown during the coronation of George V. Afterwards, the stones were replaced with replicas, and both Cullinans were combined into a brooch-pendant. Subsequently, the pendant was inherited by Elizabeth II.

Fig 6. Brooch pendant from Cullinan III and Cullinan IV

Cullinan V

The fifth Cullinan received a romantic heart-shaped cut. The weight is relatively small – 18,8 carats. The diamond is used as the center stone of a brooch that is part of the “Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure”. The brooch can be removed and installed on Queen Mary’s crown.

Fig 7. Brooch with Cullinan V

Cullinan VI and Cullinan VIII

The 11,5-carat marquise-cut stone was given by Edward VII to his wife Alexandra, who adorned her tiara with it. It was later inherited by Queen Mary. At that time, Maria already owned the Cullinan VIII: a 6,8-carat emerald-cut diamond. Maria decided to combine both stones into a brooch with a pendant. Together they are called Cullinan VI & VIII Brooch. If necessary, the Cullinan VIII can be removed and used in the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure.

Fig 8. Cullinan VI & VIII Brooch

Cullinan VII

Cullinan VII weighs 8,8 carats and is cut in a marquise shape. It is a pendant on a platinum Delhi Durbar necklace consisting of emeralds and diamonds. This necklace is part of the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure.

Fig 9. Cullinan VII wearing Delhi Durbar necklace

Cullinan IX

The ninth and smallest of the Cullinans weighs 4,4 carats and has an oval pendeloque cut. It is inserted into a ring.

Fig 10. Ring with Cullinan IX

Just like more than a century ago, all diamonds from the Cullinan family are in the possession of the English Crown. The stones were not assessed. It is believed that they are all priceless.

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