According to The History Channel, the largest raw diamond ever found was a 3,106-carat monster called “the Cullinan.” It was a light brown stone discovered 18 feet underground at the Premier mine in South Africa in 1905. Both the size of this diamond and its future are interesting.

The Cullinan Diamond

After its discovery, the Cullinan was sold to the Transvaal government, which presented the stone to King Edward VII of England as a birthday gift.

  • 3,100 carats is about 1.33 lbs. That’s a big diamond!
  • This stone was far too large to be set in any standard jewelry or even atop a crown.
  • It was eventually cut into more than 100 reasonable pieces. 

It’s interesting to note that of 3,100 carats, the finished diamonds total about 500 carats — that’s a good illustration of how much rough is lost to the cutting process.

Only a Pro Could Cut the Cullinan Diamond

King Edward entrusted the cutting to the legendary lapidary, Joseph Asscher. He happens to be head of the Asscher Diamond Company and the man who patented Asscher cut diamonds

A Stressful Job

Sources say that Asscher — who also cut the famous 971-carat Excelsior Diamond — studied the stone for six months before attempting to cut it. On that first attempt, his steel blade immediately broke without affecting the stone. On his second attempt, the diamond split precisely as planned. But Asscher then fainted from nervous exhaustion! We think diamond cutting for a king must be a high-stress job.

  • Eventually, the Cullinan was cut into more than 100 stones, with a total value of over $1 million.
  • The biggest stone of the set is called “Star of Africa I” or “Cullinan I.”
  • At 530 carats, it is the world’s largest finely cut colorless diamond on the planet.
  • “Cullinan II” is the second-largest cut diamond and weighs a whopping 317 carats. 

You can see both diamonds today at the Tower of London. Cullinan I is set in the British Sovereign’s Royal Scepter, according to The History Channel. And Cullinan II is set in the Imperial State Crown.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this tale as much as we enjoyed writing it. The diamond experts at Victoria Marie Jewelers are here to help you choose the perfect diamond for any occasion. You can learn more about famous diamonds and diamond buying on our blog. Then contact us to know more.