Diamonds are undeniably the most sought after gems in the world. Coveted for their dazzling sparkle and enchanting luster, diamonds are found in the most expensive jewelry stores in the world. As the hardest known naturally occurring mineral on earth, many say that diamonds are forever.
Diamonds come in different varieties, from shape and size, to color, cut, and clarity. The most common diamonds are brown, yellow, gray, or colorless. The rarest diamonds are the ones that are black, blue, green, pink, violet, orange, and translucent white.
For the shape and cut, there are many different choices. The shapes of cut diamond depend on many factors, including the use of the diamond, and the preference of the jeweler. Each diamond shape is admired for its own unique elegance and style. Some of the more common shapes are oval, round, pear, emerald, princess, and marquise.
As a tribute to the world’s most beautiful naturally occurring minerals, here is a list of the top ten most famous diamonds in history.
1) The Cullinan: Birth of the Great and Lesser Stars of Africa
The most popular diamond in the world, the Cullinian diamond
The Cullinan is the most popular diamond in the world. Known alternatively as The Star of Africa, it is also the largest cut diamond in the world. Found in South Africa in 1905, the diamond was named after Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mining company that discovered the gem (For more information on South Africa, read South Africa: The Multitude Rainbow Country
). The Cullinan diamond weighs 3106.75 carats, or about 621.35 grams, and was cut into 105 beautiful diamonds. The largest cut diamond from the Cullinan was named Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa, which was 530.2 carats, (106.4 grams); while the second largest cut diamond was named Cullinan II, or the Lesser Star of Africa, at 317.4 carats (63.48 grams). Both diamonds are now part of the British Crown Jewels. The Cullinan I is mounted at the head of the Scepter with the Cross, while the Cullinan II is found on the Imperial State Crown.
2) The Hope Diamond: The Curse Lies Within
The cursed Hope diamond
The Hope Diamond is a dark grayish-blue diamond that was known to be cursed. Currently found in the Smithsonian National History Museum in Washington, DC, the rare diamond weighs 45.52 carats. In 2005, the Smithsonian Institution verified that the Hope Diamond was part of the Blue Diamond of the Crown, or the French Blue, which was worn by King Louis XIV of France. The French Blue, in turn, was known to be cut from the Tavernier Blue, which formed part of a sculpture of the Hindu goddess Sita. According to legend, a curse was placed on the Tavernier Blue when it stolen from the sculpture of Sita. The curse rumors were fueled by an article in The Times in 1909, which claimed that the succession of owners of the diamond had suffered a gruesome end. Whether you believe in the diamond’s curse or not, you are sure to be fascinated with its history of owners.
3) The Millennium Star: The Star of Humanity
The rarest of all diamonds, the Millenium Star
The world’s rarest diamond, and probably the most valuable, was released by diamond giants De Beers and the Steinmetz Group. The Millennium Star, which was unveiled to mark the year 2000, was an internally and externally flawless diamond. Pear-shaped and colorless, The Millennium star has perfect proportions, and is a hefty 203.04 carats. The diamond was discovered in Zaire in 1990, and was purchased by De Beers. It took the Steinmetz Group three years to cut a perfect pear shaped diamond from the rough. De Beers presented The Millennium Star in 1999 at the Millennium Dome in London. It formed part of a collection, together with eleven smaller blue diamonds, and another famous blue diamond, The Heart of Eternity. According to De Beers, the ‘millennia [may] come and go, but diamonds are forever.’
4) Beauty and Purity: The Heart of Eternity
The love diamond, Heart of Eternity
The Heart of Eternity forms part of the eleven rare blue diamonds unveiled by De Beers to commemorate the millennium. A diamond measuring 27.64 carats, or 5.528 grams, The Heart of Eternity was found in the Premier Mine in South Africa. Rated as Fancy Vivid Blue diamond by the Gemological Institute of America, The Heart of Eternity was cut by the Steinmetz group, who owned the diamond before selling it to the De Beers Group. As one of the rarest diamonds in history, the price of The Heart of Eternity is unknown to the public; what is indeed known is that a private collector has it on loan for exhibits.
5) The Kohinoor Diamond: The Queen of All Diamonds
Koh-i-Noor: the Queen of all diamonds
One of the oldest diamonds, the Kohinoor, dates back to the 16th century, in the Baburnama of 1526. Believed to be the most precious diamond, the Kohinoor forms part of the British Queen’s Crown. The Crown was last worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, before she passed away in 2002. The Kohinoor, also called Koh-e Noor or Koh-i-Nur, is a hefty 105 carats, or 21.6 grams, and has the color of finest white. As with other famous diamonds, the Kohinoor is believed to have a curse of death attached to it. The diamond’s name, which translates to "Mountain of Light," is believed to bring death or misfortune to any male who owns or wears it. Females, however, are luckier for wearing it.
6) The Dresden Green: The Object of Envy
A rare Dreseden Green Diamond
One of the rarest diamonds, the Dresden Green has a beautiful green shade that is unparalleled. Also one of the oldest diamonds to be recorded in history, it was estimated that the Dresden Green reached London in 1726 through a diamond merchant named Marcus Moses. Supposedly discovered from the diamond mine in Golconda, India, the Dresden Green was named after the capital of Saxony, Germany where the diamond was on display for the last two centuries. The diamond has been on display since 2000 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. At 41 carats, or 8.2 grams, the Dresden Green is truly a rare gem.
7) The Orloff: Love Flows Through
The historic Orloff diamond
The Orloff, also called The Orlov, is one unusual diamond. Weighing 189.62 carats, The Orloff is mounted in the Imperial Scepter, which was made during the reign of Catherine the Great during the 18th century. It has a bluish-green tint and exceptional clarity that makes it one of the finest Indian diamonds ever discovered. Aside from its color, the shape of The Orloff is also highly unusual. It has been described as resembling half an egg, which gem collectors and historians believe to be the stolen eye of a statue found in a temple in southern India. The diamond got its name when it was sold to Count Grigory Orloff, who gave it to his love, Catherine the Great.
8) The Oppenheimer Diamond: In Memory of Greatness
The perfect diamond: the Oppenheimer
The Oppenheimer Diamond is a near perfect-form diamond of the color yellow. It weighs an astounding 253.7 carats, or 50.74 grams, and remains one of the largest uncut diamonds. Discovered in the Dutoitspan Mine in South Africa in 1964, the Oppenheimer Diamond was named after Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the gold mining entrepreneur. The Oppenheimer Diamond was acquired by the jeweler Harry Winston, who later donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in memory of its namesake. The Oppenheimer fascinates collectors around the world for its natural, uncut beauty.
9) The Centenary: Celebrating Flawless Beauty
The Centenary diamond shows greatness of De Beers
The De Beers Centenary Diamond, weighing a hefty 273.85 carats, or 54.6 grams, is the third biggest diamond to be discovered from the Premier Mine. Rated in color as grade D, the diamond is both externally and internally flawless. The Centenary was named and presented in 1988 to commemorate the Centennial Celebration of diamond giant De Beers. The cut and perfectly polished diamond was unveiled in final form in 1991. The Centenary today is in the hands of an unknown diamond collector.
10) The Taylor-Burton
The Taylor-Burton diamond, named after its celebrity owners
Only one of the many celebrity-linked diamonds is the Taylor-Burton Diamond, so named because of its celebrity owners Richard Burton and then-wife Elizabeth Taylor. At 69 carats, this white diamond is already of non-average proportions. The pear-shaped diamond was originally named the Cartier Diamond, as it was sold by jewelry house Cartier. It was purchased for $1,050,000 at an auction, and was subsequently purchased by Richard Burton the following day. The famous actress Elizabeth Taylor wore the diamond at a ball in Monaco for Princess Grace’s 40th birthday. The Taylor-Burton Diamond was sold in 1978, to fund a hospital in Botswana. Later on, the diamond was purchased by collector Robert Mouawad.
Captivating and magical, diamonds are sure to enchant generations to come. Nothing compares to diamonds, with their beauty and strength. This only proves that diamonds are indeed forever. If this article interests you, definitely reading how are diamonds made will awaken your curious minds.
* You may not get the chance to own these historical treasures but anyone who is interested in good jewelry and the power it can give the wielder should definitely check out the Top Ten Most Popular Names In Designer Jewelry and learn How To Test If Diamonds Are Real.