Every time we see someone wearing a huge diamond, we tend to gasp. These most famous diamonds known to mankind will surely make you rub your eyes too. They are that big and shiny!
1. The great star of Africa - The Great Star of Africa goes by many names. The most famous ones are “the Cullinan I” and “Star Africa”. This stone is the largest (polished) diamond in the world. It is pear-shaped with 74 facets.
It is in the Royal Sceptre, displayed with other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. This diamond was actually a part of the largest diamond crystal ever: the 3,106.75 Cullinan diamond. This stone was found in Transvaal, South Africa.
2. The Orlov Diamond - It is an exceptionally pure diamond. The diamond is a Mogul-cut rose shaped diamond. Currently, it is in the Diamond Treasury of Russia in Moscow. According to common belief, this diamond was the diamond eye of the Hindu god Vishnu’s Idol, in the sanctuary temple in Sriangam. But in the 1700s, a French deserter stole it. In fear of retribution, the deserter only dared to dig out one eye. Therefore, the other eye remained in the statue. When he finally got the diamond out, the deserter travelled to Madras. Here he sold it for 2,000 pounds to an English sea captain.
3. The Centenary Diamond – Discovered at the Premier Mine in July 1986, the Centenary Diamond originally weighed about 599.10 carats. Master cutter Gabi Tolko sky and his team took nearly three years to transform it into the largest, most modern-cut, flawless, and top-colour diamond. The Centenary has 247 facets. 164 of them are on the stone and 83 over its girdle. On the whole, it weighs 273.85 carats. The diamond was unveiled in May 1991 at the Tower of London.
4. The Regent Diamond - Although The Regent is by far not the biggest diamond, its perfect cut and limpidity make it stand out – and very valuable. The stone was initially discovered in 1698 in India. A man named Thomas Pitt, the Governor of Madras, acquired it and sent the diamond to England for cutting purposes. The diamond was sold to the Regent in 1717 for the French Crown. It was first fixed on the band of Louis XV’s silver coronation gilt crown in 1722. After they put it on Louis XVI’s crown in 1775. A few decades later, in 1825, Charles X wore the diamond on his coronation crown. During the Second Empire, they put the diamond on the “Grecian diadem” of Empress Eugenie. Currently, the Regent is at the Louvre in Paris.
5. Kohi-noor Diamond – This oval cut diamond is a part of the British Crown Jewels. The “Mountain of Light”, has a history that dates back to 1304. This is the diamond with the longest history of all the famous diamonds. It was the Rajahs of Malwa that captured the diamond in the sixteenth century. Later on, the Mogul Emperors acquired the diamond and placed it in the famous Peacock Throne.
After the end of the Persian Empire, this diamond reached India. After a long history of moving from one emperor to the other, the British East India Company took the Koh-I-Noor. They presented it to Queen Victoria in. They say the diamond weighed nearly 1986 carats upon coming from India. The Queen first wore it in a brooch. Later, it became a part of the State Crown, worn by Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary. In 1937 Queen Elizabeth wore the crown with the Koh-I-Noor for her coronation. At the moment, the diamond is in the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels.
6. The Idol’s Eye Diamond – A flattened pear shaped stone the size of a bantam’s egg, its polished size is 70.20 carats. This is another famous diamond that was once set in the eye of an idol before it was stolen. Legend also has it that it was given as a ransom for Princess Rasheetah by the Sheik of Kashmir to the Sultan of Turkey who had abducted her.
7. The Taylor Burton Diamond – This pear-shaped 69.42 carat 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.
8. The Sancy Diamond – It weighed 55 carats and was cut in a pear shape. It was first owned by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who lost it in battle in 1477. The stone is in fact named after a later owner, Seigneur de Sancy, a French Ambassador to Turkey in the late 16th century. He loaned it to the French king, Henry III, who wore it in the cap with which he concealed his baldness. Henry IV of France also borrowed the stone from Sancy, but it was sold in 1664 to James I of England. In 1688, James II, last of the Stuart kings of England, fled with it to Paris. It disappeared during the French Revolution.
9. The Blue Hope Diamond – More notorious than any other diamond, the Hope was once owned by Louis XIV and was officially designated “the blue diamond of the crown.” Stolen during the French Revolution, it turned up in London in 1830 and was bought by Henry Philip Hope, after whom it is currently named. It was while the diamond was in the possession of the Hope family that it acquired its gruesome reputation for bad luck. All his family died in poverty. A similar misfortune befell a later owner, Mr. Edward McLean. It is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
10. Hortensia Diamond – This peach colored stone of 20 carats was named after Hortense de Beauharnais, Queen of Holland, who was Josephine’s daughter and the stepdaughter of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Hortensia had been part of the French Crown Jewels since Louis XIV bought it. Along with the Regent, it is now on display at the Louvre, Paris.
11. The Cullinan Diamond – The largest diamond ever found was 3,106 carats in the rough and originally weighed just less than one and a half pounds. The Cullinan was cut into 9 major stones and 96 smaller stones
12. The Tiffany Yellow Diamond – In the late 19th century, “King of Diamonds” Charles Lewis Tiffany-founder of famed jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co. purchased a 287-carat yellow diamond discovered in the Kimberley Mine in South Africa in 1877. The stoned was the largest yellow diamond ever mined, and was fashioned by gemmologist George Kunz into a cushion-cut brilliant of 128 carats. Kunz gave it a total of 90 facets: 48 on the pavilion, 40 on the crown, plus the table and culet. Breakfast at Tiffany’s fans may recognize the stone from promotional photos for the film — actress Audrey Hepburn wore it as part of the Jean Schlumberger-designer Ribbon Rosette necklace. Schlumberger worked with the stone again years later, when he mounted it to create a whimsical “Bird on a Rock” brooch for the jewellery designer’s career retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. In 2012, the stones were reset once again into a diamond and platinum necklace to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Tiffany & Co. Today, the exquisite diamond is on view in the brand’s New York City flagship store.
13. The Great Mogul Diamond – Great Mogul diamond is believed to have been discovered around 1650 most probably around Kollur Mine in the Golconda region of southern India. Tavernier described the diamond as "The stone is of the same form as if one cut an egg through the middle.