In this article we present the most splendid and expensive diamonds in the world to dazzle our readers.
“Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend!” as the popular song goes. But it’s not only ladies who are making friends with these shiny stones. Many men are considering them to be a profitable investment for their portfolio.
There are 4 C-criteria that determine the value of a stone: carat (weight), color, clarity and cut (quality).
We’ll tell you about the most expensive diamonds in the world, mostly owned by private collectors or museums.
Kohinur is one of the largest diamonds in the world today. It was produced in the Collura mines in Andhra Pradesh (India) and historically belonged to the Indian dynasty of Cucuta. The West India Company seized it during the war and presented it as a gift to Queen Victoria in 1850. Originally 186 carats, it was reduced to 109 carats after it was faceted to create an oval shape.
Queen Victoria, according to her contemporaries, felt guilty about taking the diamond away from India. Kohinur has also been called a cursed stone as over several decades each of its owners in India had died a painful death. Victoria ordered that the jewel should be encrusted into the royal crown. When the throne passed to Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1937, it was transferred into her new crown.
It adorns the crown of the late Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon to this day and is currently exhibited in the Tower of London. The Kohinur is the third largest diamond in the collection of the British Crown.
The Cullinan is the largest mined diamond in the world. Up-cut, it weighed approximately 3106.75 carats, with a length of about 10.5 cm. It was discovered in a mine near Pretoria in South Africa and owes its name to the mine’s owner, Thomas Cullinan. The Cullinan Diamond was later split into 9 large stones and 96 small diamonds of a bluish-white color.
The largest of the 9 diamonds, Cullinan I, is also known as “The Great Star of Africa” and is pear-shaped. Cullinan I has 76 facets, weighs about 530.20 carats and adorns the scepter of King Edward VII, currently kept in the Tower of London. The next largest diamond, the Cullinan II, is called “The Second Star of Africa”. It weighs 317.4 carats and is also part of the British crown.
The estimated price of the Cullinan Diamond is 400 million dollars.
Hope, also known as the “French Blue” Diamond
This is a large 45-carat diamond of a rare dark blue color.
It is believed to have belonged for a long time to the French King, Louis XIV, and is known as “the blue diamond of the French crown” or the “French Blue”. The Diamond came into the possession of the French government in 1791. The following year, it was stolen and was not heard of until 1812. According to historians, in 1839 it came to be owned by a British aristocrat Henry Philip Hope, hence its current name.
An American heiress, Evelyn Walsh McLean (daughter of the owner of the Washington Post), brought the stone to the United States. She had it set into a piece of jewelry, where it remains to this day. The Hope is the heart of the pendant, framed by a circle of 16 white diamonds. The pendant has a total of 45 different diamonds. Thanks to its rare combination of carat, clarity, color and cut, the Hope diamond was twice exhibited at the World Exhibition, in Paris (1851) and in London (1855).
The Hope Diamond has an ancient “Pillow” shape. It has a faceted gemstone belt and additional facets on the back (or a pavilion, to use jeweler jargon). The American Gemological Institute classed it as an unusual dark grayish-blue diamond.
Today the diamond is part of the Smithsonian University collection, presented as a gift by its last owner, Harry Winston. The estimated value of the Hope is 200-250 million dollars.
The Centennial Diamond
The Centennial is the third-largest diamond found at the Premier Mine near the African city of Pretoria and owned by a US company, Petra Diamonds Ltd. It was mined in 1986, but reported only in 1988 for the centenary of the company, hence its name.
The American Gemological Institute identified the color of the stone as a colorless category D. This is the highest degree of colorlessness, which can only be determined by experienced gemologists and not visible to the naked eye. The shape of the diamond was similar to the “Heart.” The stone is reported to have no external or internal flaws.
Its original weight was 599 carats. After being faceted, the diamond was reduced to 273.85 carats. The Centennial has the highest number of facets: 247. Its pavilion and crown carry 164 facets and the belt has 83.
The estimated value of the Centennial is 100 million dollars. This estimate, however, comes from its insurance price of 100 million dollars, dated 1991. An official evaluation of the stone was never made.
The Pink Star
The “Pink Star” is a perfect pink diamond, discovered in the De Beers mine in South Africa in 1999. The gem was cut into an oval shape, which took almost two years. It was auctioned and sold to an unknown buyer in Monaco under the name of Steinmetz Pink and renamed the “Pink Star”.
The American Gemological Institute recognizes its color as an unusual bright pink. With its initial weight of 132.5 carats, the diamond was reduced to 59.60 carats after cutting. The supermodel Helena Christensen wore it in Monaco in May 2003 as part of a pendant.
Sotheby’s sold the Pink Star to Isaac Wolfe. Since he could not pay the auction price for this precious item, the diamond remains a part of Sotheby’s inventory to this day.
The “Pink Star” is estimated to be worth approximately 83.2 million dollars.
The weight of this large dark blue diamond is 31.06 carats. It was discovered in the mid-1600s in the Collura mines, in the district of Guntur, India.
In 1722 the diamond was given as a dowry for Mary the Austrian. It thus came into possession of her husband Karl Albrecht Wittelsbach, hence its current name.
The stone has an ancient oval cut. It was purchased by Earl Lawrence in 2008 for 16.4 million pounds at Christie’s auction. He ordered it to be cut in order to remove the defects, reducing its weight by 4 carats. The original weight of the stone was 35.56 carats.
The Wittelsbach has a diameter of 24.40 mm and a depth of 8.29 mm. With its 82 facets, its value is estimated at approximately 80 million dollars.
The Graff Pink
The “Graff Pink” is a rare rectangular pink diamond of 24.78 carats featuring an “Emerald” cut and rounded corners.
It originally belonged to the jeweler Harry Winston. Winston sold the diamond at auction in the 1950s. It was then inlaid in a platinum ring, alongside with two other diamonds with a rare “Shield” facet. The American Gemological Institute identified the color of “Graff Pink” as an unusual intense pink and gave it a IIa ranking.
There is no perfectly pure diamond without a single trace of nitrogen in nature. Depending on the number of different substances and impurities contained in each stone, they are divided into different gemological types: Ia, Ib, IIa and IIb. Diamonds of type I, constituting 98 percent of all diamonds in the world, contain some quantity of nitrogen. They are then subdivided into either type Ia or type Ib. Type II diamonds do not have distinguishable nitrogen impurities. They are subdivided into type IIa, which do not contain any nitrogen or boron impurities, and type IIb, containing boron. If a diamond is blue, it is automatically classed as type IIb. A IIb diamond does not contain any nitrogen inclusions, while boron gives it a blue hue.
The “Graff Pink” was auctioned to a billionaire jeweler, Lawrence Graff in November 2010. The untreated stone had more than 25 natural flaws. But the jeweler managed to remove them at a loss of less than 1 carat. The “Graff Pink” is now estimated to be worth about 46 million dollars.
The Moussaieff Red Diamond or the Red Diamond Shield
The Moussaieff Red diamond, also known as the Red Shield Diamond, is the largest red diamond in the world. Red diamonds are a rarity. The jewel has a rare “Billion” facet and combines step-cutting and diamond cutting. A Brazilian farmer found the stone in the river in 1990.
With an initial weight of about 13.9 carats, it was reduced to 5.11 carats after cutting. The William Goldberg Diamond Corp. purchased the diamond and later sold it on to an Israeli jeweler named Shlomo Moussaieff based in London, in 2001.
The diamond was shown to the public at the “The Splendor of Diamonds” exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum in 2003. The “Moussaieff Red” was estimated at about 20 million dollars.
It’s clear that the most expensive diamonds in the world have fascinating origins and stories behind them, in addition to their beautiful shapes and diverse colors.