Apr 3, 2017 | 0 comments

Super Diamonds – the World’s Most Famous Diamonds.

by: richard haruni

When a diamond is given a name, you know 3 things. It’s going to be enormous, it will probably cost more than the GDP of a small country, and it will set any auction house to rapture every time one of these diamonds comes under the hammer.

Welcome to the world of super diamonds. These giant diamonds of white, pink and blue have been going to auction and selling for telephone number prices over the past few years. So, we thought we would have a look at the most famous diamonds of all time – none are ordinary and all are spectacular, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from diamonds anyway.

In the past, these amazing giant diamonds have been given as gifts to monarchs to be used in crowns. Now they are the most sought after possession of the super-rich and investment houses – these are the people now with pockets so deep that allow the purchase of super diamonds.

Here are a few of the most famous diamonds in the world

Name: The Cullinan Diamond

Colour: Colourless

Size: 530.2 carats

Value: 400 million – estimate

This is currently the largest cut diamond on earth. It is pear shaped with 74 facets and set in the Royal Scepter – and kept with the rest of the British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. In its original rough form when it was first found in Transvaal in South Africa it was 3,106-carats.

Rough cullinan diamond

Name: Pink Star

Colour: Pink

Size: 59.60-carat

Value: Estimated Value going into auction is $60 million

The 59.60-carat diamond known as “The Pink Star” is considered one of the world’s great natural treasures. The rare fancy oval mixed-cut fancy vivid pink internally flawless diamond, the largest internally flawless diamonds the Gemlogical Institute of America(GIA) has ever graded, weighs 59.60 carats and is currently mounted in platinum. The diamond was first unveiled to the public in May 2003 as the ‘Steinmetz Pink’, and was modelled by Helena Christensen at a dedicated event thrown to coincide with the Monaco Grand Prix. Writing in the Financial Times on the 31 May 2003, Mike Duff described the diamond as “the rarest, finest, most precious stone the world has ever seen”. The stone was first sold in 2007 and was subsequently renamed “The Pink Star”.

In November 2013, a Geneva auction of the stone fetched a world record $83 million but the buyer, New York-based diamond cutter Isaac Wolf, could not pay up and defaulted.

The Pink StarPhoto Credit: Reuters 

Name: The Orlov

Colour: Bluish green

Size: 189.62 carats

Value: 200 million – estimate

The Orlov Diamond, a stunning 189.62 carat bluish green diamond, is part of the Kremlin’s treasury. This diamond has more historical episodes than a TV drama. Legend has it that at one time, the diamond was set as the eye of Vishnu’s idol, a Hindu God. It was stolen in the dead of night from the innermost sanctuary temple in Sriangam before being stolen 300 years ago, the thief believing he had stolen a curse along with the giant diamond, promptly sold the diamond to an English sea-captain for 2,000 pounds.
However, it only gained its name when it came into the possession of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia. Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov, one of the Empress’s lovers, bought the diamond for 1,400,000 florins, equivalent to 400,000 rubles, and presented it to the Empress, in the hope to gain her never ending favour. And even though she accepted the diamond – who wouldn’t? Never ending favour was not bestowed. She did however name the diamond after Count Orlov, and had it mounted on the Imperial Scepter, in which setting it is preserved up to this day, among the treasures of the Kremlin Diamond Fund.

During the time of the Napoleonic wars, the Russians, fearing that Napoleon with his Grand Army was about to enter Moscow, hid the Orlov in a priest’s tomb. When Napoleon discovered its location, and went to claim it a priest’s ghost appeared and pronounced a terrible curse upon the Army. The Emperor, Napoleon scampered away without the Orlov.

The Orlov Diamond

Name: Koh-i-Noor

Size: 108.93 carats

Colour: White

Value: “equal to half-day production costs of the world”

This is the diamond with the oldest documented history, dating back to some 5000 years ago. This diamond has held many names, the current is Koh-i-Noor, which is Persian means, Mountain of Light.

It is believed that the diamond was first mentioned more than 5000 years ago in a Sanskrit script, where it was called the Syamantaka. Until 1304 the diamond was in the possession of the then Emperor of Delhi, Allaudin Khiljo. By 1306 it had changed hands again – and like all the great super diamonds had a curse attached to it saying, “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.” By 1526 the Mogul ruler Babur mentions the diamond in his writings, Baburmama, it had been gifted to him by the Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. He was the one who described the diamond’s value equal to half-day production costs of the world.

For the next few hundred years it was passed to descendants and a Persian general Nadir Shah – who it is said fell to the diamonds curse after being assassinated by one of his generals.

By 1849 the diamond fell into the hands of the British forces, the properties of the Sikh Empire were confiscated. The Koh-i-noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. The curse stroke again, while it was being shipped to Britain cholera broke out, and supposedly the keeper of the diamond lost it for some days and it was returned to him by his servant.

The diamond was handed to Queen Victoria in July 1850. Two years later, in 1852 the Queen decided to reshape the diamond and it was taken to a Dutch jeweller, Mr Cantor who cut it to 108.93 carats. She left the diamond in her will with one stipulation – it may only be worn by a female queen. After Queen Victoria’s death, the Kohinoor became part of the Crown Jewels.

Koh-i-Noor

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Name: The Millennium Diamond

Size: 10.10 carats

Colour: Fancy Vivid Blue

Value: $32 million

The Millennium Diamond is one of twelve rare diamonds – eleven blue and one colourless – that form the world-renowned De Beers Millennium Jewels collection that was unveiled in 2000 in celebration of the millennium.  At 10.10 carats, it is the largest oval-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond ever to appear at auction in 2016 – selling in Sotheby’s for $32 million.

What made this diamond super famous – other than it’s size and colour is that, it, along with the others appearing in the collection in the Millenium Dome in 2000, was the target of a failed jewellery heist in November 2000, which was foiled by the Metropolitan Police. A gang of thieves had planned to ram-raid the exhibition and escape down the Thames in a speedboat, taking an estimated £350 million of diamonds with them. Thanks to a police tip-off, the gang was arrested as they attempted the raid and later received prison sentences.

Millennium DiamondPhoto Credit: Getty Images 

Name: Blue Moon Diamond

Size: 12.03 carat

Colour: Blue

Value: $48.4 million

This diamond 12.03 blue diamond, was famous before it came to auction, but because it was bought by a loving father for his daughter, and promptly renamed the Blue Moon Diamond, the Blue Moon of Josephine in her name, this diamond has gone down in history. This came only a day after the same Hong Kong tycoon spent $28.5 million buying a rare 16.08 carat pink diamond which he also renamed after his daughter “Sweet Josephine”.

Blue Moon Diamond-1

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Name: The Pink Graff Diamond

Size:24.78 carat

Colour: Fancy Vivid Pink

Value: $46 million

The Graff Pink, is a rare 24.78 carat fancy vivid pink diamond. The Graff Pink was named after its owner Laurence Graff, who proclaimed the 24.78ct gem “the most fabulous diamond” he had ever seen. And as it is set in a ring, it is also the most expensive ring in the world. The “Graff Pink” has a classic emerald cut with rounded corners, typical for the American jeweller Harry Winston, who secured the “Graff Pink” to a platinum ring with two white diamonds. In 1950, he sold the piece to a private collector, who was in possession of the stone for 60 years before its sale at Sotheby’s.

Graff Pink

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Name: Oppenhiemer Diamond

Size: 14.62

Colour: Fancy Vivid Blue

Value: $57.5 million

We saved the best till last. Feast your eyes on this amazing truly wondrous vivid blue diamond named the Oppenheimer Blue – the gem of gems. This diamond was named after its previous owner Sir Philip Oppenheimer. Sir Phillip as controller of De Beers, could have had any diamond he wanted, but he chose this one with its perfect hue, impeccable proportions and fabulous rectangular classic cut shape.

The Oppenhiemer came to Christies Auction in 2016, setting a new world record for any jewel sold at auction, the Oppenheimer Blue sold for US$57,541,779.  This sale set the auction room alight with anticipation, it soared over its low estimate of $38 million as the fierce bidding among collectors before it came down to three private collectors in the tense final moments. The room broke out into applause as the gavel came down and the final number was announced.

Oppenhiemer DiamondPhoto Credit: Getty Images

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