Diamonds have always been a prominent fixture through history, whether given as a gift from someone famous to someone famous or due to the political tensions and ethical questions around the way in which the diamond was attained by the current owners, their mystery and popularity maintains throughout history.
Here we are going to look at the 10 largest diamonds ever found, which includes some of the world's most famous and historically important diamonds.
10. Star of Africa - Discovered in 1869, weighing 83.50ct. This diamond started the diamond rush in South Africa. It signalled the rush of prospectors to this new diamond field at Orange River. The area was later known as Kimberley, where the Kimberley Process took its name. The diamond was found by a shepherd boy. The diamond was cut in to an oval weighing 47.69ct.
9. Shah - Originally from India, thought to have been found circa 1450. This partially polished diamond has the names of 3 past owners engraved into the diamond itself. The diamond was seized several times in conflicts through history, moving from India to Persia and then to Russia. It weighs 88.70ct and is a light yellowish colour. It is now at the Kremlin in Russia.
8. Koh-I-Noor - First mentioned in 1304, it weighed 186ct and was oval cut from India. Steeped in history, the diamond is currently part of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. However, governments in India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan have all claimed rightful ownership of the Koh-I-Noor. It moved between various factions in Asia until being relinquished to Queen Victoria after the British annexation of the Punjab in 1849. As the history involves a great deal of fighting between men it became known as unlucky, within the British Royal Family, for men and so it has only been worn by female members of the Royal Family. The Koh-I-Noor is a hugely historically important stone.
7. Taylor-Burton - 240.80ct found in 1966 at Premier Mine in South Africa, D colour, flawless. Cut to 69.42ct in a pear shape. Famous as Richard Burton wanted to buy the diamond for Elizabeth Taylor. He set a maximum budget of $1million for the diamond and on the day of the auction he was out bid by Cartier. Famously, Burton was furious, he spent the next 24 hours at the pay phone by his hotel in discussions to precure the diamond from Cartier. He wrote in his diary: "Bugger Cartiers, I was going to get that diamond if it cost me my life or 2 million dollars whichever was greater. For 24 hours the agony persisted and in the end I won. I got the bloody thing." He paid Cartier $1.1 million.
6. Tiffany - 287.42ct from South Africa, in the Kimberley Mine in 1878, during the diamond rush. Cut in to a cushion cut weighing 128.54ct, the diamond is a golden yellow colour. It was brought by Charles Tiffany and named after his jewellers, Tiffany's. It has only ever been worn by 3 ladies, Mrs E Sheldon Whitehouse at the 1957 Tiffany Ball, Audrey Hepburn for Breakfast at Tiffany's and in 2019 Lady Gaga wore it for the 91ct Academy awards ceremony.
5. Regent - Found in India weighing 410ct in 1698. Originally known as the Pitt diamond it was cut to a cushion shape weighing 140.50ct. It is a very rare colour of white to pale blue. Folklore says the diamond is cursed due to the misfortune of those in possession of the stone. Today, the diamond is part of the French Royal Treasury at The Louvre.
4. Centenary - Found in 1986 at the Premier Mine in South Africa weighing 599ct. It has been cut to a modified heart shape weighing 273.85ct. The diamond is D colour and internally flawless. The third largest diamond to have been produced at the Premier Mine. The cut is also unusual, 247 facets is a huge number, normally heart shapes have between 56 to 58 facets.
3. Millennium Star - Found in Zaire in 1990, it weighed 777ct and is D colour and flawless, making it the world's second largest top colour, internally and externally flawless pear shaped diamond. Its cut weight is 203.04ct. The diamond was found in alluvial deposits. It was purchased by De Beers during the height of the country's civil war.
2. Golden Jubilee - Discovered in 1986 at The Premier Mine, weighing 755.50ct the diamond is a golden-yellow colour and was cut to a fire-rose cushion shape weighing 545.65ct. The Golden Jubilee outweighs the largest ever cut stone, Cullinan 1 by 15.37ct. De Beers decided to trial new technology to cut the diamond so an underground workshop was constructed to ensure it was free from vibrations. The Golden Jubilee was brought by a group of Thai business people in 1995 and it was given to King Bhumibol as a gift from the Thai people to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the King's accent to the throne. The diamond is now on display at the Royal Museum in Bangkok.
1. Cullinan - Largest piece of gem diamond ever found. Discovered in 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa, weighing 3,106ct producing 9 major stones and 96 smaller stones. The largest is a pear shape 530.20ct with 74 facets and is set in the Imperial Sceptre, Cullinan 1. The second largest is a cushion cut of 317.40ct which is set in to the Imperial State Crown. Both part of the British Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. The Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam were chosen to cut the stone. It was collected from London in 1908 by Abraham Asscher, he put it in his coat pocket and caught the train and ferry back to the Netherlands. Whilst, under significant fanfare, a Royal Navy ship carried and empty box across the North Sea. Even the Captain was unaware that he was protecting a decoy. The day the first attempt was made to cut the diamond, Mt Asscher had a nurse and doctor there, and as soon as he made the first attempt he fainted!
And that concludes the top 10 largest diamonds ever found. Hopefully there are interesting facts and anecdotes that perhaps you didn't know before!