It is not just about how big, how expensive, or how flawless. The truly extraordinary diamonds, such as those below, possess something more: history, mythology and character. A real diamond is a story unto itself.
Coming in at a whopping 545.7 carats, the Golden Jubilee Diamond is the largest cut and faceted diamond in the world. The diamond was gifted to King Bhumibol of Thailand for his Golden Jubilee anniversary and was blessed by the Catholic Pope, the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch and Thailand’s Supreme Imam. Quite the holy stone, apparently!
The Aurora Butterfly of Peace is an artwork comprising of a collection of 240 natural, coloured diamonds built over twelve years. The 167-carat installation is dedicated to peace and harmony for all people. More than just a pretty picture, the piece has also provided unique scientific insight into the fluorescence and phosphorescence of different coloured diamonds.
The Centenary Diamond is a grade D, internally and externally “flawless” diamond, the highest grades for colour and clarity respectively. The 274-carat gem is the world’s largest flawless-clarity diamond, cut by master diamond cutter Gabi Tolkowsky with a team of handpicked engineers, electricians and security guards in a specially-designed lab room. The $100 million diamond’s current owner remains anonymous.
King Louis XIV of France had the Tavernier Blue cut into the 67-carat Blue Diamond of the Crown of France, a rare and dazzling violet-blue coloured stone. During the French Revolution, the diamond’s owners, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, were executed and the stone stolen, leading to rumours that the French Blue was cursed. The stone was never recovered but is now believed to have been recut into the Hope Diamond. Left: cubic zirconia replica of the original French Blue
It was long suspected that the French Blue had been recut into a similarly-beautiful, 45-carat stone in England called the Hope Diamond- a suspicion confirmed in 2008 by computer modelling. Although it is unknown who commissioned the diamond to be recut, it is clear that the jewel’s mythological notoriety for ill-luck has been retained. Over the years, the diamond’s various owners have lost their heads, their money and estates, and their children and husbands.
Holding the world record for the most diamonds in a wearable ring is the Tsarevna Swan Ring, with a jaw-dropping 2,525 diamonds weighing a total of 10.48 carats set in an elaborate, swan-shaped white gold ring. The ring is an impressive and beautiful creation but you can probably find a more practical piece of jewellery for $1.3 million.
Once the largest-known diamond, the Koh-I-Noor was a 793-carat diamond cut to 105.6 carats. Various Mogal, Persian and Sikh rulers owned the amazing jewel before it was taken from India following the British conquest. The massive diamond now decorates the crown of Queen Elizabeth, although both India and Pakistan claim to this day that the stone is rightfully theirs and that it should be returned.
Along with the Koh-I-Noor, The Sancy is one of few diamonds that is considered “priceless”. Legend has that a messenger carrying the jewel failed to reach his destination in the early 1500s. The stone’s owner was convinced that the messenger was loyal and after an extensive search found the messenger’s body and, shockingly, the stone in his stomach. He had chosen to swallow it rather than give it to thieves!
The Cullinan Diamond is the largest diamond ever found, at 3,107 carats (621g—more than half a kilogram!) The Cullinan I or Great Star of Africa, was cut from the stone and was the largest diamond in the world until the Golden Jubilee was discovered. The Cullinan I is also the most expensive diamond, priced at around $400 million. It now decorates the Crown Jewels’ Sceptre with the Cross.
That’s not a diamond ring; THIS is a diamond ring.
Swiss jeweller Shawish stunned the jewellery world in 2011 with the world’s first all-diamond ring. The 150-carat ring was laser-cut from a single diamond and has been described as “the epitome of art”. The design has been copyrighted, so don’t expect to own one any time soon—unless of course you have a spare $70 million for the original.