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Article: Cullinan Diamond

Cullinan Diamond

Discovery and Early History

  • Cullinan Diamond was discovered on January 26, 1905, in Cullinan, South Africa.
  • It was found 5.5 meters below the surface at the Premier Mine.
  • The diamond weighed 3,106 carats (621.2 grams) and had a blue-white hue.
  • Cullinan was initially displayed in Johannesburg and then sent to London.
  • Despite considerable interest, the diamond remained unsold for two years.
  • The Transvaal Colony government bought the diamond for £150,000 in October 1907.
  • Prime Minister Louis Botha suggested buying the diamond as a gift for Edward VII.
  • Winston Churchill persuaded Edward VII to accept the diamond.
  • The diamond was presented to Edward VII on his birthday, November 9, 1907.
  • Edward VII accepted the gift on behalf of himself and his successors.

Cutting Process

  • Joseph Asscher & Co. of Amsterdam was chosen to cleave and polish the diamond.
  • The rough stone was split in half by Joseph Asscher on February 10, 1908.
  • Cutting the diamond was difficult and risky due to the technology at the time.
  • It took eight months and three people working 14 hours per day to complete the task.
  • The largest diamond ever known was successfully split into multiple gems.

Diamonds Cut from the Cullinan

  • Cullinan produced 9 major stones weighing a total of 1,055.89 carats.
  • The two largest stones are Cullinan I and Cullinan II, part of the Crown Jewels.
  • 96 minor brilliants and unpolished fragments were also produced from the diamond.
  • The South African government bought most of the cut stones.
  • Cullinan VI was purchased by Edward VII and given to Queen Alexandra.

Ownership and Significance

  • The Cullinan Diamond is owned by Charles III in right of The Crown.
  • Cullinan I, named the Great Star of Africa, is the largest clear-cut diamond.
  • Cullinan II, named the Second Star of Africa, is mounted in the Imperial State Crown.
  • Queen Elizabeth II inherited seven major diamonds from her grandmother, Queen Mary.
  • The Cullinan Diamond is considered one of the most significant gem-quality diamonds.

Notable Diamonds Cut from the Cullinan

  • Cullinan I: Pendeloque-cut brilliant weighing 530.2 carats, set at the top of the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross.
  • Cullinan II: Cushion-cut brilliant with 66 facets weighing 317.4 carats, set in the front of the Imperial State Crown.
  • Cullinan III: Pear-cut weighing 94.4 carats, adapted to the Delhi Durbar Tiara.
  • Cullinan IV: Square-cut weighing 63.6 carats, set in the base of Queen Mary's Crown.
  • Cullinan V: Heart-shaped diamond weighing 18.8 carats, set in a platinum brooch as part of the stomacher made for Queen Mary.

Cullinan Diamond Data Sources

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