The Cullinan Diamond: From Rough Stone to Royal Jewels and their Estimated Value
Unearthing a Marvel: The Cullinan Diamond
The intriguing story of the Cullinan Diamond, the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered, unfolds like an exciting novel filled with geology, history, and spectacular craftsmanship. This epic tale has resulted in some of the most awe-inspiring and priceless jewels in the British Crown Jewels.
A Gem of Epic Proportions
In 1905, an incredible find occurred at the Premier No.2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa. This was the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond, weighing a whopping 3,106 carats. Named after the mine's owner, Sir Thomas Cullinan, the sheer size and quality of this rough diamond stirred the gemological world.
A Kingly Gift
The Transvaal Colony government purchased the diamond, which was then gifted to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom on his 66th birthday. Despite the risks associated with the journey, the diamond was sent to England via regular post, cleverly diverting potential thieves with a decoy.
Masterfully Sculpting the Cullinan
The responsibility of transforming this immense diamond into polished gems fell on Joseph Asscher of the renowned Asscher Diamond Company. After months of examination, Asscher successfully split the Cullinan into nine significant stones and numerous smaller fragments.
The Star of Africa: Cullinan I
The largest of the polished diamonds, the "Great Star of Africa" or Cullinan I, weighs an impressive 530.2 carats. Currently mounted at the top of the Sovereign's Sceptre, it's one of the most valuable diamonds in the world. Its value, if sold today, could easily exceed $400 million.
The Second Star of Splendor: Cullinan II
The Cullinan II, also known as the "Second Star of Africa," is the fourth-largest polished diamond globally, weighing 317.4 carats. It adorns the Imperial State Crown and, like Cullinan I, could fetch several hundred million dollars due to its size, quality, and historical significance.
The Lesser Known, But Invaluable, Cullinans
The seven remaining major diamonds, Cullinan III through IX, along with smaller fragments, have been set into various royal jewelry pieces. These stones collectively contribute to the British royal collection's magnificence and have a combined value possibly reaching into the tens of millions.
A Century-Long Legacy
Over a century after its discovery, the Cullinan Diamond continues to spark awe and admiration. Its journey from a rough stone in a South African mine to the priceless gemstones that grace the British Crown Jewels is a tale as multifaceted and brilliant as the diamond itself.