Famous Diamonds

Diamonds are a very personal stone which can represent a beautiful moment in time; a beautiful proposal, a thoughtful gift, an special anniversary or a treasured family heirloom.  They are held on a pedestal for their beauty and sayings such as ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ and ‘diamonds are forever’ reflect how much they are loved.

 

Diamonds have been a part of everyone’s history and made even more famous by films, songs, books and film-stars.   James Bond films, Shirley Bassey and Marilyn Monroe songs, Elizabeth Taylor’s infamous $1.1 million diamond and many more keep diamonds in the limelight as one of the world’s great treasures.

 

HISTORY’S MOST FAMOUS DIAMONDS

CENTENARY DIAMOND

 

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In 1988, De Beers held a huge celebration of being in business for 100 years.  The Chairman, Julian Oglivie, capped off his speech by unveiling a diamond they had discovered 2 years previous and kept under-wraps.   The diamond was perfect in colour and weighed a massive 599 carats.  The diamond had to be cut to take off some of the crack it naturally had, when it was complete it was 273.85 carats with 247 facets.  It was rumoured to be sold however, De Beers has respected the client and kept the identity anonymous.

 

THE GREAT STAR OF AFRICA

 

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The Great Star of Africa is the largest cut diamond in the world, coming in a 530 carats.  Pear shaped, with 74 facets, it is set in the Royal Scepter and kept with the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.  The original diamond that it was cut from was a massive 3,106 carat, the largest diamond crystal ever found.  The crystal was found in South Africa in 1095 and was later cut but Joseph Asscher, who examined the crystal for 6 months before determining how to divide it.  It eventually yielded nine major cut diamonds and 96 smaller brilliant cut stones.

 

THE TAYLOR-BURTON

 

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With the name as a giveaway, this diamond was bought by Richard Burton as a gift to Elizabeth Taylor.  Burton bought the 69.42 carat pear diamond for $1,100,000 and named the stone accordingly.    Sourced in South Africa in 1966, the stone was originally 240.80 carats and cut into a pear shape diamond.    After Burton’s death in 1979, Taylor sold the stone for charity and reportedly received $2.8 million.  The donation went to a hospital in Biafra in Burton’s memory and the stone itself, was last seen in Saudi Arabia.

 

HOPE DIAMOND

 

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At 45.52 carat, the Hope Diamond is considered the most famous diamond in the world.   It was discovered centuries ago in the southern region of India and has an illustrious history.   It was believed to have a great mystical power that surrounded this unusual size and unique colour, a deep indigo blue.  The Hope was reputedly used to adorn the statue of a Hindu idol.

In 1642, the famous diamond was in the hands of King Louis XIV who had it cut to bring out its brilliance.  Later, the diamond was discovered stolen during the French Revolution.  For many decades, the Hope Diamond could not be found.  It was rumoured, according to legend, jewellers and thieves had previously acquired the stone. Some say, those who owned the blue stone, had some kind of bad luck with them wherever they went.

In 1911, the diamond was purchased by a young American socialite heiress named Evalyn Walsh Mclean who bought the Hope Diamond from Cartier for $185,000. She owned it for 36 years until her death in 1947.  It is now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.