FAMOUS DIAMONDS 3. 25 May 2017

CULLINAN I, STAR OF AFRICA

Weight: 47.75ct polished, 83.50ct rough
Shape: Pear Shape Brilliant
Colour: Unrecorded
Clarity: Unrecorded
Origin: Zandfontein Farm, South Africa

At 530.20 carats the Cullinan I, or Star of Africa diamond is the largest cut diamond in the world. Pear shaped, with 74 facets, it is set in the Royal sceptre (kept with the other crown jewels in the Tower of London). It was cut from the 3,106 carat Cullinan, the largest diamond crystal ever found. The Cullinan was discovered by Frederick Wells, a mine superintendent in Transvaal, South Africa in 1895 on an inspection tour of the Premier Mine. The Cullinan was cut by Joseph Asscher and Company of Amsterdam, who examined the enormous crystal for around six months before determining how to divide it. It eventually yielded nine major and 96 smaller brilliant-cut stones. When the Cullinan was first discovered, certain signs suggested that it could have been part of a much larger crystal, but no discovery of the ‘missing half’ has ever been authenticated.

FAMOUS DIAMONDS 2. 24 May 2017

THE EUREKA

Weight: 10.73ct polished, one of two diamonds cut from 21.25ct of rough
Shape: Oval Brilliant
Colour: Yellow
Clarity: Unknown
Origin: Northern Cape, South Africa

The Eureka was discovered per chance by a 15-year-old boy, Erasmus Jacobs, on the south bank of the Orange River near Hopetown, Kimberley in 1867 and later handed it to his neighbour, farmer Schalk van Niekerk, who was a collector of unusual stones. Van Niekerk entrusted the stone to John O’Reilly, a travelling peddler, who sent it in an unsealed envelope to Dr. W.G. Atherstone of Grahamstown, one of the few people who knew anything about minerals and gems. Dr. Atherstone identified the stone as a 21.25ct brownish-yellow diamond and was sold to Sir Phillip Wodehouse for GBP 1,500.

FAMOUS DIAMONDS 1. Teusday 23 May 2017

THE CULLINAN

Weight: 3106ct rough
Origin: Transvaal, South Africa

The Cullinan, the largest gem quality diamond ever found, was discovered at the Premier Mine on 26th January 1905. The rough diamond was nearly flawless and named the Cullinan in honour of Sir Thomas Cullinan, the founder of the Premier Mine, who was visiting that very day. Louis Botha, premier of the Transvaal, persuaded his government to buy the diamond for approx. US $1 million and presented it to England’s King Edward VII as a token of thanks for granting Transvaal its own constitution.

The Cullinan was handed to Amsterdam’s House of Asscher to polish. The diamond was divided into 9 major gemstones, 96 smaller stones and about 19.5cts of unpolished pieces. The two largest gems were kept for England’s regalia and the rest went to Asscher as payment. King Edward bought one of the major gems for his consort, Queen Alexandra. The Transvaal government bought the remaining stones and pieces, and presented the other 6 major gems to Queen Mary in 1910. Two of the small stones were presented to Louis Botha, who gave one to his daughter when she turned 17.

The ring Napoleon gave to Josephine sold for 896,400 euros (including fees), or $1.15 million

The ring had an estimate of $23,500 to $26,000. “In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 …

The ring had an estimate of $23,500 to $26,000.

“In my wildest dreams, I did not think we would outsell the estimate by more than 47 times,” Emily Villane, an auction house spokeswoman, told ABCnews.com. “We based the estimates in our catalogue on the actual market value of the ring, minus Napoleon and Josephine provenance. It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium.”

The ring features a pear-shaped sapphire and a diamond. The combined weight of the two is the less than a carat.

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