A Short List of Some Truly Phenominal Diamonds

While they may not be perfect for your engagement ring, this list of diamonds is certainly gorgeous to look at or even get inspiration from. Warning – this list contains some extravagant pieces.


The Great Star of Africa

The pear shaped Great Star of Africa, discovered in 1095, was cut from the Cullinan diamond that originally weighed 3106 carats or 1 1/3 lbs! Now cut into 530.2 carats, it is currently listed as the largest cut diamond in the world.


The Star of Africa calls the Queen’s crown jewel collection home. It is set into the royal scepter, though it can be removed and worn as a pin or pendant.


The Centenary Diamond

In 1988, around the 100th anniversary of the De Beers South African Consolidated Mines, the discovery of the aptly named centenary diamond was announced. Originally 599 carats, after it was cut it weighed 273 carats. The centenary diamond is known for its exceptional purity. It is internally and externally flawless and has a color grade of D, the highest grade of colorless diamond.

Whether or not the Centenary has been sold is a mystery as the De Beers corporation has made it a policy not to disclose the buyers at private sales. We do know that in 1991, the Centenary was insured for $100 million dollars.



The Koh-i-noor diamond has a long history. Indian rulers fought over it for centuries before Britain took it as part of the Treaty of Lahore, when it took control of the Punjab, in 1849. The jewel was seized by the Empire’s East India Company as one of the spoils of war and presented to Queen Victoria in 1850.

Originally the Koh-i-noor was a rose cut diamond and some believed it to be the Great Mogul. While in his possession Prince Albert ordered the diamond, then weighing 186 carats, be re-cut to improve its brilliance. It was reduced in weight by 42 per cent and cut into an oval brilliant weighing 109 carats.


The stone is now set in the Maltese Cross at the front of the crown made for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.


The Idol’s eye

The idol’s eye gets its name from it’s unusually shaped cut and its propensity to look like it would fit into an Indian idol’s eye shaped orifice. Gemologists characterize the cut as being something between an old mine cut and a triangular brilliant cut. It is currently set around 18 smaller brilliants and a framework of small brilliants, exacerbating it’s eyeball look.

The Idol’s Eye is 70 carats and a Golcondan diamond from India, characterized by the bluish tinge commonly found in diamonds from that source.


The Blue Hope Diamond

The Blue Hope Diamond has a lengthy and tumultuous history. It was first picked up by the travel John Baptise Tavernier in Golconda, India who later sold it in 1688 to the French monarchy. In 1792 the monarchy fell and the French government seized the jewels. The Hope Diamond was then stolen by looters.

It popped up in England in the 1800s and was purchased by Pierre Cartier in 1909. Private collector, Evelyn Walsh Mclean of DC, bought it from Cartier soon after and then Harry Winston acquired the diamond from her estate in 1949. In 1958 Harry Winston donated it to the Smithsonian.

The Hope Diamond weighs 45 carats and it’s blue coloration is due to the trace amounts of boron in the stone. According to legend, Tavernier originally stole the Hope Diamond from the forehead of an idol in India. Supposedly death is said to befall anyone who owns or even touches the diamond… too bad that still doesn’t stop me from wanting it.


The Sancy

The Sancy is another diamond found in the Golcondan mine in India. It has a pale yellow color and weighs 55.23 carats. It is one of the first large diamonds to be cut with symmetrical facets. The Sancy was once thought to impart invincibility upon anyone who wore it – but also rumored to curse anyone who wore it.


The Taylor Burton Diamond

The Taylor Burton Diamond was found at the De Beers owned Premier Mine. Harry Winston was the first owner. In the late 60’s, after a couple transactions, it was put up for auction.  After a long bidding sessions, the Cartier Company bought it for a record breaking  $1 million. Richard Burton, determined to purchase and name the diamond for Elizabeth Taylor, ended up negotiating with Cartier after its purchase, eventually winning ownership and naming rights of the 69 carat pear shaped flawless diamond.


The Taylor Burton Diamond made it’s first public appearance around Elizabeth Taylor’s neck while she attended Princess Grace’s 40th birthday in Monaco…with two armed guards silently watching.


The Ocean Dream

The Ocean Dream is the smallest diamond on this list, weighing in at 5.5 carats. It is known for it’s bright blue green color, naturally caused by radiation in the earth during it’s formation. It is the only known diamond of it’s specific blue/green hue.

These are but a few of the many famous  diamonds  in the world. If  this post has inspired you to brush up on your stone setting skills, take a look at our flush and tube setting weekend workshops – both of which are coming up soon!


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