We all know how prestigious and notorious diamonds are in the luxury trade; they are sought after by those who can afford them and are by far the most popular gems in the world for their internal optical fire and heart-striking sparkle.
The diamond has been around for centuries and has held its renowned name since the beginning, but some of them are so notorious that they have now hit the history books. Let’s have a look at ten of the world’s most famous diamonds, and what brought them to the limelight.
Cullinan I, ‘Star of Africa’
Our first diamond is one you have most likely heard of before due to its world record breaking size. The Star of Africa consists of a whooping 530.20 carats, cut from the largest rough diamond gem ever to be found at 3106 carats. From this rough stone, named ‘The Cullinan’, 104 other stones were cut including The Star of Africa.
It is adorned by the sceptre of the English King’s insignia and is now kept within the Tower of London.
This beautiful fancy deep blue diamond consists of 45.52 carats and appeared within the trade in 1830. There are beliefs that this stone was recut from a previously stolen gemstone, however this is unconfirmed. It was brought by a banker by the name of H. Ph. Hope – hence the coming of the name ‘Hope’.
Hope now resides in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
Displaying a hypnotic green colour, this fancy diamond consists of 41 carats and is thought to originate from India. Bought in 1742 by Friedrich August II, Duke of Saxony, for 400,000 taler, it later gained it name from its place of security – the Green Vaults in Dresden, Germany.
This sparkling diamond was worn by Charles the Bold in 1470 and was later bought in 1570 by Seigneur de Sancy from the French Ambassador to Turkey. Consisting of 55 carats, the Sancy now resides in the Louvre in Paris to be adored by many.
A fantastic 128.51 carats, this fancy brownish-orange diamond was found in Kimberley, South Africa, in 1878. It was originally cut from a rough stone of 287.42 carats by Tiffany the Jeweller. The cutting took place in Paris and turned the gem into a striking 90 facet-faced jewel. Recently, the Tiffany was worn by Lady Gaga on the 2019 Oscar's red carpet.
This gorgeous stone has a rich, adventurous history. Once a round stone of 186 carats belonging to the Indian Raj, this diamond was then plundered in 1739 by the Shah of Persia who named it ‘The Mountain of Light’, or ‘Koh-i-Noor’. Later it then came under possession of the English East India Company and was then presented to Queen Victoria in 1850. Here it was then recut into the 108.92 carat jewel it now sits as. The Koh-i-Noor was set into the crown of Queen Mary, and later the crown of the Queen Mother of Elizabeth II. You can view this jewel in the Tower of London.
Like Cullinan I, this diamond was also cut from the world’s largest rough diamond ever found. This stone consists of 11.50 carats in a beautiful marquise style cut. It was set into the crown of Queen Mary, but was designed to be removed so it could also be worn as a brooch. This diamond now resides in the Tower of London.
The Nassak was originally 90 carats and sat within the Temple of Shiva in Nassak, India (hence its name). This diamond was looted by the English is 1818 and recut in New York in 1927. The now 43.38 carat diamond was then acquired by the Kind of Saudi Arabia in 1777.
This unique diamond holds inscriptions on its surface from 3 monarchs – one being the Shah of Persia. It has clear unique cleavage planes upon its polished surfaces and consists of a fantastic 88.70 carats. It was then given the Tsar Nicholas I in 1829, and currently resides in the Kremlin, Moscow.
Finally, this last gem has a rich history steeped in legend. It is host to a gorgeous lemon-yellow fancy colour and consists of 137.27 carats. Originally it was in the possession of the Medici Family in Florence in 1657. This was then placed within the Habsburg Crown in the 18th century, and following this used as a brooch. However, from 1919 this diamonds whereabouts is unknown to everyone and remains a mystery.
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(information for blog sourced from Gemstones of the World, Walter Schumann)