Famous diamonds

KOH - I - NOOR (Mountain of light)
First Appeared: in 1304
Weight: 186 Cts
Cut: Oval shape
 

The story of this gem is the oldest and most exciting story of all diamond stories of the English crown. This diamond initially belonged to Raza, leader of the area of Malva, which now days includes the areas of Indor, Wopal and Gvalior. Two centuries later it was found in the possession of Sultan Babour, a Mongol emperor of India. Then it passed by the hands of all Mongols sovereigns and later it was found in the possession of Shah Jehan. According to the tradition, whoever possessed this diamond, could rule the whole world.

From the Mongols it passed to all the Afghan Princess, till KOH-I-NOOR became English property, after the conquest of India, by the English. On 3/6/1850 it was transferred to London and it was offered to Queen Victoria. Until then, the diamond has no brilliance nor sparkling, since it was badly cut, so Queen Victoria ordered to be recut.

When the process was completed KOH-I-NOOR weighted 108,93 cts and had an egg shape. This diamond decorated the English crown of Queen Mother Elizabeth, mother of Queen of England, who has passed away.

 

CULLINAN 
This is the biggest diamond ever found. It was discovered on 25/1/1905 by the Director of the "Premier Diamond Mines" in Transvaal of South Africa. As a rough stone weighted 3106,00 cts, almost 680 grams. Because its shape wasn't absolutely octahedral and looked like half an octahedral, the specialists believed that they had found only half of it, so they began looking for the other half. This hope is still alive among some people in the area.


After having studied for a whole two years about how it should be cut, Joseph Usher, a famous diamond cutter in Amsterdam, tore it with a metal tool in two parts, weighting approximately 2000,00 cts and 1000,00 cts respectively. Finally it was divided in 9 big gems, ninety-six smaller (brilliant cut) and in smaller gems of 10,00 cts. A total of 3106,00 cts of the initial weight gave 1.603,00 cts of polished diamonds.

 

 

BIG STAR OF AFRICA 
This is the biggest ever-processed gem. It weights 530,20 carats and has 74 facets. It is the biggest ever-fashioned diamond in the world.

King Edward had set it on his Royal scepter and it belonged to the Crown's jewelry. Today it is kept in the Tower of London.

 

 

EXCELSIOR 
 It was discovered in 1893. It is the second biggest in size diamond in the world. As a rough stone, it weighted 995,20 cts. It was found in the mine of Jagersfontane of South Africa. For 10 years the Syndicate tried to sell it.

In 1903 they sent it to Joseph Usher in Amsterdam. The result of the process was a Marquise that weighted 69,80 cts and 20 smaller gems. When the process was completed the total carats of the polished diamonds were equal to 37,5 % of the total weight of the rough stone.

 

THE BIG MOGUL 

It was found in the mid 17th century. There isn't any exact data about it. Its weight before processing reached 787,50 cts. Unfortunately no one knows what has happened of it in now days. It might have been cut in many smaller gems
 

 

ORLOF 
 


When it was found, it weighted 300,00 cts. It was most probably found in the 17th century. Now days it is exhibited in the Diamonds Museum in Russia. As a polished diamond it weighted 189,62 cts.

According to the tradition, this diamond was the eye of the God Hindu Sri Ranga, in a Brahman temple in Southern India. A French soldier disguised as Brahman stole it. It was sold to an English captain for 2000 pounds. Then it was sold to a Persian merchant for 12.000 pounds and it ended in the hands of Earl Gregory Orlof, who bought it for 90.000 pounds. It was then offered as a gift to the Russian Empress "Catherine the Great", who has never wore it, but instead she had it set on the top of her scepter, to decorate the two headed eagle. Now days, it remains on the scepter.

 

IDOL'S EYE 
It was found in the early 17th century in the diamond mines of India. As a polished gem, it weighs 70,20 cts. It was the eye of a God in a Bengal temple. A Sultan's messenger stole it. In 1973 it was auctioned in New York, but finally it was withdrawn from the auction, because the highest bid reached only the sum of 950.000 USD. 

 

REGENT 
 An historical diamond that was found by an Indian slave in 1701 and weighted 410,00 cts. Trying desperately to escape from his slavery he wounded his leg in purpose and hid the famous gem in his wound. When he reached the coast, he made a deal with a captain to sell the diamond to him at half of its price, under the condition that the captain will take him aboard his ship to freedom. But during the trip, the captain killed the Indian and stole the diamond. It is said that the captain committed suicide, due to prior commitments of frauds and crimes.
In 1702 Thomas Pitt, Governor of Madra, a province of India bought the diamond.
He sent it to England, where it was cut in a "pillow" shape and it weighted after being cut 140,50 cts. But a small imperfection was noticed after the process of cut.
So it was being recut to several smaller gems, which were bought by the Emperor "Peter the Great" of Russia.

At first the diamond was called "PITT", until "Peter the Great" sold it to the Duke, Phillip the 2nd, Regent of France, until the coming of age of the King Louis XV. Then it was named by its contemporary name "REGENT".

After the French revolution it was at the possession of Napoleon, who set it as an ornament to his sword. Now days it is exhibited in the Louvre Museum.

 

HOPE 
It is the most famous of all diamonds. It once belonged to Louis XIV and it was known as the "Blue diamond of the Crown".

The "Blue diamond" weighted, before procession, 112,00 cts. The King bought it and recut it. Its weight then reached the 67,50 cts. It was lost during the French revolution. In 1830 a diamond of similar color that weighted 44,50 cts, appeared in the London market. Henry Philip, a Banker and collector bought it for 18.000 pounds.

According to a rumor the original gem was not cut as one diamond but it was cut in three diamonds. These diamonds weighed 44,50 cts, 13,75 cts and 1,74 cts respectively. It is said that Hope purchased the biggest of them.

Although it is called "HOPE", the diamond itself had been connected with superstitions. That's why Hope's family and more specifically Hope's great grandson, sold it, as well as Turkey's Sultan did, afterwards. In 1911 Pier Cartier bought it, and afterwards it was sold to Mrs MacLean. After the purchase Mrs MacLean's only child was killed in an accident. As she couldn't bear it she committed suicide.

In 1947 Mrs MacLean's jewelry were sold and Winston of New York bought "HOPE". He considered these superstitions nonsense, but his clients thought otherwise. He found it impossible to sell it all over the world.
So in the end he offered it to Smithson foundation in Washington, where it still remains.
Today its value is estimated to reach 1.000.000 million USD.

 

 

GREAT SANCY 
 


It weights 55 cts and it is cut in a drop shape. The last Duke of Burgundy lost it in a battlefield in 1477.

But this is not the only version about the luck of this diamond. According to another version the "GREAT SANCY" was the "YELLOW DIAMOND OF FLORENCE". The French Ambassador in Turkey, Arle, who was a collector of precious stones, bought it in 1570.

Back in France, Henry III had borrowed it and he was wearing it on his hat, in order to outshone his boldness, which was causing him inferiority complex.

During the reign of Henry the 4th, Sancy who then was the Minister of Treasury, lends it again to the King, to use it as guarantee for the organization of his army. The messenger who was taking it to the King was found dead. At first it was believed that he was a robbery victim. But during the autopsy the diamond was found in his stomach.

In 1664 the diamond was sold to Jason the 1st of England. In 1668 it returns to Paris. "SANCY" is being considered lost since the French Revolution.

 

TAYLOR BURTON 
Its weight comes up to 69,42 cts. It was bought by "CARTIER" in New York and it was named "CARTIER". Richard Burton offered it to Elizabeth Taylor as a gift.

In 1978 the actress decided to sell it and offer part of the money for building up a hospital in Botswana. Potential customers were obliged to pay the sum of 2.500 USD in order just to view the gem. It was sold in 1979 for about 3.000.000 USD. Today it can be found somewhere in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

HORTENSIA 
 The admirable "peach" color and the weight of 20,00 cts was the prerequisite of this diamond to be included among the most famous diamonds in the world. It was named after the Queen of Holland, daughter of Josephine and stepdaughter of Napoleon. It also became part of the Royal jewelry of France. Today it is exhibited in Louvre Museum together with "REGENT".

 

NIARCHOS

 
It comes from the mines LC of South Africa and has an excellent color . It belonged to the private collection of DE BEERS, owner of "Premier" mines. Harry Winston as the new owner of the gem had it cut in "pear" shape, and "brilliant " cut at the cullet and at the crown, giving a result still with 86 facets on the girdle, and weighting 128,25 cts. The Greek ship owner Stavros Niarchos, bought it the same year it was cut. 

 

 

DRESDEN DIAMOND 

 The diamonds of Dresden green, white, yellow and the English. 

 

 

JUBILEE DIAMOND 
The JUBILEE diamond.

 

STAR OF LEONE 
STAR OF LEONE