antique-estate-jewelry

The Great Star of Africa

by on October 20, 2011

The Great Star of Africa diamond was mined in Pretoria, Africa at the Premier Mine in June 25, 1905. This diamond is also known as the Cullinan I diamond named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the mine.

The Great Star of Africa, the largest diamond ever found until 1985, was found by Frederick Wells, the manager of the Premier Mine. He was given a finder’s fee of $10,000. The diamond was later sold to King Edward VII of England for $800,000.

The job of cutting the Great Star of Africa was given to the Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam as they had successfully cut the previous largest diamond named the Excelsior. After studying this fabulous diamond rough for three months, on February 10, 1908, the cleving blade had been placed at the prearranged point for cleving and the blade broke. The diamond was unharmed and the second cleaving device was used to spilt the diamond perfectly. It was the largest cut diamond until 1985 with the discovery of the Golden Jubilee Diamond.

The first cut produced two huge diamonds weighing 1,977.50cts and 1040cts. (These diamonds are known as the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa). Later, diamonds were cut into 9 major brilliant cut diamonds with 9.5cts of remaining unpolished pieces. The total diamond weight of the cut diamonds amounted to 1,063cts, losing 65% of the diamond rough. The two largest diamonds were kept by the King and he gave an 11.5ct diamond to the Queen. The Great Star of Africa or The Cullinan Diamonds are part of the Royal Scepter and are housed with the other crown jewels in the Tower of London. Queen Elizabeth II is the current owner of the fabulous diamonds.

Sending the diamonds to the King proved to be a security risk. As a diversion, they were arranged to be sent on a steamboat to England with a group of detectives. The actual diamonds were sent by parcel post.

 

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