#4 - Largest Diamond Ever Found

Posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 8:26 pm by LaLonde Jewelers

On January 25, 1905, a rough crystal diamond was found at the premiere mine in Transvaal in the southern region of Africa. The rough weighed 1.33 lbs. or 3106 carats. The stone was called the Cullinan I, after the mine’s owner.

The stone was so large and received so much hype that the mine’s owner realized he would have great difficulty selling the rough to a private individual. This would be difficult because no one could wear such a large stone or be willing to risk having such an expensive stone. He decided to sell the stone to the Republic of Transvaal for the price of 150,000 pounds. Today the value of the Cullinan would be approx. $2 billion. 

The Republic spent two years trying to find a suitor for the stone with no luck.   At that time the people of Transvaal had largely forgotten the stone until they found out the Republic had given it to King Georg VIII of England. This upset the people of Transvaal, who only five years earlier had lost The Boar War to England. It surfaced later, that England had secretly loaned millions of dollars to the Republic of Transvaal, which expedited the process of Transvaal and Orange Colonies to become the country of South Africa in 1910 – three years after donating the rough stone to King George. 

The Cullinan I was cut into nine major stones and around 100 drops of stones. The Cullinan I or Star of Africa, was cut to a 530 carat pendeloque cut that is set into the top of the Sovereign’s scepter with cross.   Cullinan II or Second Star of Africa is a cushion cut weighing 317 carats. This is set in the Imperial State crown. Cullinan III is a pear cut weighing 94.4 carats and was set into Queen Mary’s crown for her coronation in 1911.
Cullinan IV is a square cut, 63.6 carats. It is also set in the base of Queen Mary’s crown. The Cullinan III and IV are now in a brooch that Queen Elizabeth II wears, known as Granny’s Chips.  The Asscher Diamond company of the Netherlands cut these stones and the rest. Joseph Asscher, the mastermind of the design of the Asscher Cut Diamond, still coveted to this day. 

While attempting to cleave the Cullinan stone in front of an audience, the steel blade broke. After making new tools, he again attempted to cleave the rough. This time it went flawlessly, and he then passed out.

Notable Large Diamond in USA
There is only one area in the United States where diamonds are produced, The Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas. The largest stone found here was 40.23 carats.

Thank you for reading.

Written by Daniel J. LaLonde

© LaLonde Jewelers 2017