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Monday, January 26, 2009

This Week In 1905 - Cullinan Diamond!

Rough diamond – the giant Cullinan stone as found in 1905
from [www_firstscience_com]

This week back in 1905...Frederick Wells discovered the world's largest diamond in the Premier mine, Pretoria, South Africa.

The 1.33-pound colorless behemoth checked in at 3,106 carats.

Named for Sir Thomas Cullinan, who had discovered the mine three years earlier, the colourless stone was purchased by the Transvaal government and was presented (1907) to the reigning British monarch, King Edward VII.

It was cut into 9 large stones and about 100 smaller ones by I.J. Asscher and Company of Amsterdam, famed for their cutting of the "Excelsior diamond", which until the discovery of the Cullinan had been the largest known diamond.

Copy of nine of the diamonds cut from the famous Cullinan diamond, from the "Reich der Kristalle" museum in Munich. The top left one is the Great Star of Africa *

The stones cut from the Cullinan diamond, all flawless, are now part of the British regalia. The largest of these is the second largest cut diamond known and is called the "Great Star of Africa", or Cullinan I, a 530.2-carat, pear-shaped gem set in the English sceptre. Another is the most valuable stone in the imperial state crown, the 317-carat Cullinan II, sometimes called the Second Star of Africa
Today, the largest stones are on display in the Tower of London as part of Britain's crown jewels.


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