history there have been many notable diamonds. Here are some of the
THE HOPE DIAMOND
than any other diamonds, The Hope Diamond is 45.52 carats. Since the
Hope Diamond was found in the early 1600s, it has crossed oceans and
continents and passed from kings to commoners. What makes The Hope so
notorious is that it is supposed to be cursed. It was once owned by
Louis XIV but stolen during the French revolution. In 1830 it turned
up in London and was purchased by Henry Phillip Hope, whom it is
named. The Hope Diamond is now in the Smithsonian Institute in
Washington DC. To read more about the fascinating history of the Hope
Diamond visit Encyclopedia Smithsonian on line.
diamond ever found, it was 3,106 carats in the rough and originally
weighed just under one and a half pounds. The Cullinan was cut into 9
major stones and 96 smaller stones. Two of the stones cut from the
Cullinan Diamond are now found in the British Crown Jewels; the
530-carat "Star of Africa", which is set in the septre and
the 317-carat "Lesser Star of Africa" which is set in the
Imperial State Crown. This photo shows the Founders of the Premier
Mine & Cullinan Village with William McHardy holding the Cullinan
Diamond. To read more about the history of The Cullinan visit
Cullinan Meander on line.
largest stone ever found is the Excelsior, which was 995.2 carats in
the rough. Some claim that the Braganza is the second largest stone
ever found, but there are no records of its existence and many
believe it is mythical or not even a diamond. The Excelsior was cut
into ten stones, the largest of which is 69.68 carats. The GIA
certified The Excelsior I has 'G' color and VS2 clarity. In May of
1996 The Excelsior I was bought by Robert Mouawad for $2,642,000.
THE STAR OF
largest rough diamond ever discovered was found on February 14, 1972,
at the Diminco Mine in Sierra Leone, which was 969.80 carats in the
rough. Harry Winston purchased this diamond and had it cut into 17
stones, six of which are now set in the Star of Sierra Leone Brooch.
1701 by an Indian slave near Golconda, this diamond weighed 410
carats in the rough. Once owned by William Pitt, the English Prime
Minister, it was cut into a cushion shaped brilliant of 140.50
carats, and until it was sold to the Duke of Orleans, Regent of
France when Louis XV wore at his coronation. After the French
revolution, it was owned by Napoleon Bonaparte who set it in the hilt
of his sword. It is now on display in the Louvre.
The Orloff is
thought to have weighed about 300 carats when it was found. At one
time it was confused with the Great Mogul, and it is now held in the
Diamond Treasury in Moscow. One tale told is that The Orloff was set
as the eye of God in the temple of Sri Rangen and was stolen by a
French soldier disguised as a Hindu.
In 1964, this
almost perfect yellow crystal was found in the Dutoitspan Mine,
Kimberly, South Africa. It was acquired by Harry Winston, who
presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in memory of the late Sir
Ernest Oppenheimer of DeBeers Consolidated Mines.
"Mountain of Light"
mentioned in 1304, it weighed 186 carats and was an oval cut stone.
It is believed to have been once set in the famous peacock throne of
Shah Jehan as one of the peacock's eyes. Recut in the reign of Queen
Victoria, it is amongst the British Crown Jewels and now weighs
A total of
69.42 carats, this pear-shaped diamond was sold at auction in 1969
with the understanding that it could be named by the buyer. Cartier
of New York successfully bid for it and immediately christened it
"Cartier". However, the next day Richard Burton bought the
stone for Elizabeth Taylor for an undisclosed sum, renaming it the
"Taylor-Burton". It made its debut at a charity ball in
Monaco in mid November where Miss Taylor wore it as a pendant. In
1978, Elizabeth Taylor announced that she was putting it up for sale
and planned to use part of the proceeds to build a hospital in
Botswana. Just to inspect the diamond, prospective buyers had to pay
$2,500 to cover the cost of showing it. In June 1979 it was sold for
nearly $3 million and was last reported to be in Saudi Arabia.