Cullinan Diamond

Cullinan Rough 3,106 Carats

Discovered in January 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa, the Cullinan Diamond is the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered weighing 3,106ct and achieved instant notoriety across the globe. It measured 50 x 50 x 100mm and weighed a little over 600 grams. The rough stone was names after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the founder of Premier Mine, who just so happened to be visiting the mine on that day.

Two years later, the Cullinan rough was sold to the Transvaal Colonial Government for approx. US 1 million and was given to the King Edward VII on his 66th birthday in thanks for granting the Transvaal its own constitution.

Kind Edward VII tasked the Amsterdam’s House of Asscher, who at the time were the most experienced, with the assessing and polishing of the rough stone. It took months and the modification of tools before finally in February 1908, the Cullinan rough diamond was divided into nine major diamonds and ninety-six minor diamonds, leaving approx. 19.5 carats of unpolished rough.

The two largest stones became the Cullinan I, First Star of Africa and the Cullinan II, Second Star of Africa weighing 530 carats and 317 carats respectfully. The Cullinan I, a pear-shape cut, is set into the Sceptre with the Cross, originally made for the coronation of King Charles II, that was redesigned in 1910 to accommodate the stone. The Cullinan II, a cushion cut, is set into the front of the Imperial State Crown, worn by the sovereign upon leaving Westminster Abbey after coronation or on major State occasions. Of the rest of the stones polished, King Edward VII bought one of the larger stones for his consort, Queen Alexandra and in 1910 the Transvaal government bought the remaining stones and pieces.

The Transvaal government then presented six major stones to Queen Mary, who remain with Queen Elizabeth II today together with the stone purchased by King Edward VII for Queen Alexandra.

Finally, two of the smaller stones were given to Louis Botha, Premier of the Transvaal Government. As for the remaining pieces, no one knows what became of them.