Diamonds, which have been used as decorative items since ancient times, are the most well-known and sought-after gemstones on the planet
The Golden Jubilee and the Cullinan I are just two of the top five largest diamonds in the world.
Diamonds, which have been used as decorative items since ancient times, are the most well-known and sought-after gemstones on the planet.
From the point of discovery, it requires immense patience, expertise and precise craftsmanship before the precious stone reaches its final shape – a process that can sometimes take years.
Here, NS Energy profiles the top five largest diamonds in the world.
Top five largest diamonds in the world
1. Golden Jubilee Diamond – 545.65 carats
Leading the list as the world’s largest cut diamond is the Golden Jubilee. It is a yellow-brown stone that weighed 755.5 carats when it was unearthed in South Africa in 1986, from iconic diamond company De Beers’ formerly owned Premier Mine in the town of Cullinan.
Having been the eighth-largest gem-quality diamond at the time of discovery, the precious stone had a number of cracks and several inclusions at the time.
The job of cutting the diamond was entrusted to world-renowned cutter Gabriel Tolkowsky, who took two years to give it its final “Fire-Rose cushion” shape.
The diamond weighed 545.65 carats after the cutting process was completed in 1990, at which point De Beers lent it for display to the Thai Diamond Manufacturers Association.
The stone was bought by a group of Thai businessmen in 1995, as a present for Thailand’s King Bhumibol to mark his Golden Jubilee (50th anniversary) as King.
It is currently on display at the Royal Museum of Bangkok’s Pimammek Golden Temple as part of Thailand’s crown jewels.
2. Cullinan I – 530.20 carats
Part of the largest diamond crystal to be ever discovered, the 3,107-carat Cullinan diamond was also found at the Premier Mine in 1905.
In 1907, the province of Transvaal’s colonial government bought the rough Cullinan and gifted it to British King Edward VII on his 66th birthday for granting Transvaal its own constitution the previous year.
Named after the mine’s founder Sir Thomas Cullinan, the task of cutting the stone was entrusted by King Edward VII to expert diamond cutter Joseph Asscher.
After nearly six months, it was cut into nine major and 96 minor diamonds in February 1908, while about 19.5 carats of the original stone was left out as unpolished rough.
The largest cut of the original diamond, the Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa, was cut into the shape of a pear and has 74 facets. It is the second-largest diamond in the world.
Set in the British Royal Sceptre, the Cullinan I is on display in the Tower of London with the rest of the crown jewels.
3. Incomparable Diamond – 407.48 carats
Discovered in the 1980s as an 890-carat rough stone by a young girl in a pile of mining rubble from the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine in the town of Mbuji Mayi, Democratic Republic of Congo, the 407.48-carat Incomparable is the third-largest diamond in the world.
The stone found its way through Africa to De Beers director Sir Philip Oppenheimer, before it was then sold to Texas-based jewellery store chain Zale Corporation in partnership with New York’s Premier Gems Corporation.
Following a four-year cutting and shaping process, the natural deep-yellow shield step-cut diamond was later put up for display at the Smithsonian Institute’s Natural History wing, Washington DC, in 1984.
It was later made the centerpiece of a necklace created by Lebanese jeweller Mouawad, which has 90 other white diamonds accompanying it on a vine leaf-shaped rose gold chain.
Unveiled at the Doha Jewellery and Watch Exhibition in 2013, Mouawad’s 637-carat L’Incomparable is the world’s second-most expensive necklace, and is worth an estimated $55m.
4. Cullinan II – 317.4 carats
Second of the nine major diamonds that were cut from the 3,107-carat Cullinan diamond is the Cullinan II – a 66-faceted, cushion-shaped diamond that weighs 317.4 carats.
The precious stone, which is the fourth-largest of its type in the world, sits on the British Imperial State Crown just below the Black Prince’s Ruby and has graced many coronations at Westminster Abbey.
Also known as the Second Star of Africa, it is screwed onto the Royal Crown through a yellow gold enclosure. It has several tiny flaws such as a chip at the girdle and scratches on the table facet that add to its charm.
5. Graff Lesedi La Rona – 302.37 carats
The Graff Lesedi La Rona was discovered in November 2015 as a 1,109-carat rough at Canadian company Lucara Diamonds’ Karowe Mine in Botswana.
The stone, which is the fifth-largest diamond in the world and is estimated to be 2.5 billion years old, was sold to British multinational jeweller Graff in 2017.
The diamond required 18 months of expert cutting and polishing from Graff’s team of craftsman and gemologists to acquire its mirror-smooth surface, as it became the world’s largest square emerald-cut sparkler.
At 302.37 carats, Graff’s Lesedi La Rona is the largest diamond in the world to emerge with the highest colour and clarity to ever be certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
Alonsgide the Lesedi La Rona, 66 other small diamonds were also created from the original rough diamond, which ranged from less than one to more than 26 carats.