The World's Largest Diamonds - A Few Facts About the Biggest Diamonds in the World
By Tiffany Moore , Friday, March 04, 2016
Large, sparkling diamonds are undoubtedly impressive, but we all know a diamond isn’t just judged by its size. In fact for many, the quality of the diamond is equally or more important than its circumference. Take a look at our Diamond Buying Guide to find out why biggest isn’t always best.
However, big, beautiful diamonds have been hitting the headlines a lot recently following the naming of the second largest diamond ever to be discovered the Lesedi La Rona.
In celebration of the naming of the Lesedi La Rona, which translates as “our light”, we’re taking a little look at the tales behind the world’s biggest and sharing some amazing facts about the diamonds that dwarf all others. To start, let’s get to grips with the largest diamond in the world…
The Largest Diamond in the World
Long before Lesedi La Rona came the largest colorless diamond ever discovered was, Cullinan I, also known as the Great Star of Africa. The South African sparkler was discovered at the Premier Mine in Pretoria on January 25th 1905.
The Great Star of Africa Diamond
Image Source: Wikipedia
The uncut gem weighed in at a whopping 1.33 pounds and an amazing 3,106 carats. The diamond was found by miner Frederick Wells but took its name from the owner of the mine Sir Thomas Cullinan. However, the diamond was soon destined for great things as it was sold to King Edward VII as a birthday gift. The King was keen to ward off potential robbers and actually arranged for a decoy diamond to make the journey from Africa to distract people from the delivery of the real thing!
Transforming the stone was no easy task and the appointed cutter, Joseph Asscher of Amsterdam reportedly spent six months assessing the stone and planning its cut before attempting to break it down into smaller diamonds.
It is rumoured that his first attempt failed – breaking the blade but not harming the diamond. The next attempt was more successful and the Cullinan was broken down into nine large stones and around 100 smaller ones. The main stone, which is 530 carats took the name Star of Africa and the second biggest stone, the Star of Africa II is 317 carats.
They found their home in the British sovereign’s Royal Sceptre and Imperial State Crown, respectively as part of the Crown Jewels. If you’d like to see them in all their glory, you will find them on display in the Tower of London.
The Second Largest Diamond
The world had to wait over one hundred years for the discovery of the second largest diamond, which was also found in Africa, this time in Botswana. The 1,111 carat diamond was unearthed just north of the capital of Garborone at the Lucara Diamond firm’s Karrowe mine in November last year. It measures 65mm x 56mm x 40mm, which means it is roughly the size of a tennis ball!
The Lesedi La Rona Diamond
It has been speculated that the diamond could fetch up to $66 million when it goes on sale. The diamond was named following a competition held by the Lucara Diamond firm, the destiny of the diamond is yet to be decided. Perhaps it too will end up in the possession of royalty or maybe a celebrity will snap it up? We’ll be watching closely to see where this stunning stone ends up!
Some other Headline Hitting Diamonds
While the great Star of Africa and Lesida La Rona have won the titles of largest and second largest colorless diamonds there are other notable stones that have hit the headlines thanks to their own size. Here is a quick run down of some of the other stars of the diamond world…
The Golden Jubilee
This yellow-brown diamond was found in the Premier Mine at South Africa in 1985 and once cut and faceted it weighed in at 545.67 carats, which is larger than the Star of Africa. It was cut from a stone of 755.5 carats but needed careful polishing and finishing because of cracks and inclusions. Once cut and polished the stone was given a papal blessing by John Paul II. It went on to be owned by the Royal family of Thailand.
The Millenium Star
At 203.4 carats the pear-shaped Millennium Star held the position of second largest colorless and flawless diamond when it was unearthed in Zaire in the Republic of Congo (Africa) in 1990 and uncut was 777 carats. The diamond is owned by the De Beers Group, who displayed the stone as part of their Millennium Diamond collection at the Millenium Dome in London in October 1999. While on display the collection was subject to a theft plot that was thankfully thwarted.
The Millenium Star Diamond
The Golden Jubilee and Star of Africa may be the largest polished diamonds ever found, but the Sergio diamond, discovered in Bahia in Brazil in 1893, is the largest rough diamond discovered. At 3,167 carats it is far larger than those previously mentioned and is a rare black diamond believed to be of meteoritic origin.
The Incomparable Diamond
Yet another African diamond, the Incomparable Diamond set a world record as the most expensive necklace when it sold in 2013 for an incredible $55 million.
There’s a rather lovely story behind the discovery of the 890 carat stone too. It was found in 1989 when a girl noticed the diamond among rubble and gave it to her uncle. Once in the hands of the experts, the yellow-brown stone was cut into a triangular shape, which led it to become the star of the Incomparable necklace.
It was framed with a total of 35 round diamonds, 27 pear diamonds, nine heart-shaped diamonds, five emerald-cut diamonds, five cushion diamonds, four oval diamonds, three Asscher-cut diamonds and two radiant diamonds all in 18k gold.
Size Isn't Everything
Whilst there are record-breaking diamonds which are known for their size, others become famous for other reasons.
The 4.6 carat Esperanza Diamond was discovered in a field by a tourist at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The lucky discovery created much excitement and after cutting and polishing, the result is an incredibly rare, completely flawless triolette stone.
The diamond is deemed to be so important that a touring show was announced for it to be displayed at a number of specialist diamond locations. Whiteflash was proud to be one of those chosen to display the diamond and recently gave those in the Houston area the opportunity to see such a rare piece of beauty.
Want to add your very own large diamond to your collection? Explore our loose diamond collection now. We have diamonds up to 14 carats in size available.