A diamond by itself almost seems like a result of nature’s most intriguing alchemy. The more you read about how it was born and why the world is obsessed with it, the more you realize it will always be an extraordinary gem. And then there happen to be some diamonds that are in a completely different league; the crème de la crème in its truest sense. Here are 5 such marvels…
The Hope Diamond
Contrary to the positive interpretation that its name may have, the Hope Diamond had a reputation for being cursed. Misfortune and death of the people who owned it was knowingly linked to the possession of this gem. The trail of ‘bad luck’ apparently came to an end in the year 1958, thanks to Harry Winston. He donated the Hope Diamond to Washington’s National Museum of Natural History; it’s still here on display in case you want to take a look.
Past rumors and bad publicity is not the real reason why this blue diamond made it to the list. The Hope Diamond also weighs over 45 carats (about the size of a walnut), and was last reported to be insured for US $250 million. As far as visual magnificence is concerned, we’ll just let its picture do the talking.
The Koh-i-Noor Diamond
The glorious Koh-i-Noor diamond has done a fair bit of travelling since its discovery in India, way back in the 13th century. Post the British conquest of Punjab (a state in northern India) in 1849, the Koh-i-Noor has found a permanent home in the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London.
With a name that translates to “Mountain of Light”, you can expect this diamond to be a gigantic piece of marvel, and it was. The Koh-i-Noor was originally said to weigh an incredible 793 carats in the uncut form. Today, it is estimated to be approximately 186 carats (or less) and still looks extravagant.
The Cullinan Diamond
On 26th January 1905, the Premier No. 2 mine in Cullinan, South Africa gave the world something that will forever be etched in history – a phenomenal diamond weighing a massive 3,106.75 carats. The mine’s chairman, Thomas Cullinan, gave this gem his name which is now recognized for being the largest gem-quality rough diamond to have ever been discovered.
This single rock was used to carve nine other diamonds in different cuts and sizes. Out of these, the two most noteworthy creations are the Cullinan I (530.4 carats) and the Cullinan II (317.4 carats). Both of them now shine along with other glorious gems in the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
Among the many famous diamonds of Europe, the Sancy probably has the most confusing yet colorful history. It is named after its first French owner, Nicolas de Harlay, seigneur de Sancy. There are different theories about how this beautiful, pale yellow diamond found its way to him; but nevertheless, it still bears his name.
What makes the Sancy special? This 55.23 carat shield-shaped stone, apparently of Indian origin, is said to be one of the first large diamonds to showcase symmetrical facets. Another distinct feature about the Sancy is that, unlike other diamonds, it has no pavilion; just a pair of crowns, one on the other. To take a good look at this beauty, you’ll have to visit the Louvre Museum in Paris, where you’ll find it sparkling in the Apollo Gallery.
De Beers Centenary Diamond
On 17th July 1986, De Beers used their X-ray imaging system to spot the Centenary Diamond within the Premier Mine located in South Africa. The original rough weighed 599 carats (119.8 g) and it was showcased at the Centennial Celebration of the De Beers Consolidated Mines in the year 1988. This astounding gem was later cut into a heart shape, but without a groove.
The fact that the Centenary Diamond has been classified as level D by the Gemological Institute of America is what makes it truly outstanding. For the uninitiated, this is the highest grade a diamond can receive for being flawless, both internally and externally.
This gem was never publicly appraised for value. It was, however, believed to have been insured for over US $100 million at the time of its unveiling in May 1991. The Centenary Diamond no longer belongs to De Beers, and the status of its current owner continues to remain a mystery.