Origin of name "CULLINAN"
|Carat Weight||Shape/Cut||Present mountings of the diamond|
|1||Cullinan I||530.20||pear||Mounted on the head of the Royal Scepter.|
|2||Cullinan II||317.40||cushion||Mounted on the brow or band of the Imperial State Crown.|
|3||Cullinan III||94.40||pear||Mounted on the finial of Queen Mary's Crown. Can be combined with IV as a pendant brooch|
|4||Cullinan IV||63.60||cushion||Originally set in the band of Queen Mary's Crown. Can be combined with III as pendant brooch|
|5||Cullinan V||18.80||pear||Originally mounted in a brooch for Queen Mary. Later mounted on the circlet of her crown as replacement for the Koh-i-Noor.|
|6||CUllinan VI||11.50||marquise||Worn by Queen Elizabeth II as a drop on a diamond and emerald necklace.|
|7||CUllinan VII||8.80||marquise||Mounted as a pendant on an all diamond brooch with cushion-cut VIII in the center.|
|8||Cullinan VIII||6.80||cushion||Mounted in the center of a diamond brooch, with VII hanging as pendant|
|9||Cullinan IX||4.39||pear||Mounted in a ring for Queen Mary and sometimes worn by Queen Elizabeth II|
When the cutting of the Cullinan diamond was completed in 1908, the Cullinan I also known as the Greater Star of Africa with a weight of 530.20 carats became the largest faceted diamond in the world. The Cullinan I held this rare distinction for a period of about 80 years, until the discovery of the 755-carat Golden Jubilee rough diamond in 1985, which was subsequently transformed into the 545.67-carat, cushion-shaped, fancy yellow brown diamond, the largest faceted diamond in the world.
Other notable distinctions held by the Cullinan I diamond are the largest pear-shape faceted diamond in the world; the largest D-color faceted diamond in the world; and the largest D-color, pear-shaped, faceted diamond in the world. See table below
|12||Queen of Holland||135.92||cushion|
|13||Zale Light of Peace||130.27||Pear|
|23||Star of Egypt||105.51||emerald|
|25||Star of America||100.57||asscher|
|26||Star of Happiness||100.36||radiant|
|27||Star of the Season||100.10||pear|
The Cullinan diamond was discovered accidentally on January 26th, 1905, by the surface manager of the Premier diamond mines in Transvaal, South Africa, Mr. Frederick Wells, when he was on a routine inspection of the mine, late afternoon, on that particular day. Mr. Wells was about 18ft below the surface of the earth, when his attention was drawn by a shining object reflecting the last inclined rays of the setting sun, on the steep wall of the mine, a few feet above his head. Mr. Wells lost no time in scaling the wall and retrieving the shining object, which at first glance appeared to be a large diamond crystal. The object was immediately taken for testing, and eventually turned out to be the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered, weighing 3,106 carats. This unique distinction was previously held by the 995-carat Excelsior diamond for a period of 12 years, from 1893 to 1905. The Cullinan diamond turned out to be the undisputed King of all rough diamonds in the history of mankind, and had been holding this position for the last 102 years. It is highly unlikely that any rival could appear, that could challenge the exalted position held by the Cullinan, in the future, unless new deposits of diamond are discovered in the world. See table below.
List of largest gem-quality rough diamonds discovered in the world
|Country of discovery||Year of discovery||Carat Weight||
|Star of Sierra Leone||Sierra Leone||1972||969.80||3|
|Woyie River||Sierra Leone||1945||770||7|
|Golden Jubilee||South Africa||1985||755||8|
|Kimberley Octahedral||South Africa||616||14|
|De Grisogono||Central Africa||587||17|
|Zale light of peace||Sierra Leone||1969||435||19|
|De Beers||South Africa||1888||428.50||20|
The Premier diamond mine was discovered in the year 1902, by Sir Thomas Cullinan. The massive Cullinan diamond was discovered just three years after this, and this accidental and record-breaking discovery provided a much needed boost for further mining activity. In fact many diamond experts believed that the Cullinan was only a fragment of perhaps a larger diamond, and the remaining larger piece still awaited discovery. The prospect of finding the larger portion of the Cullinan stimulated the activities of miners and prospectors.
The rough Cullinan Diamond held by the mine superintendent, Frederick Wells.
The Cullinan was purchased by the Transvaal Government, and presented to the reigning British Monarch, King Edward VII, to mark the occasion of his 66th birthday, which fell on November 9th, 1907. In the early 20th century transport of passengers and mail was mainly by ship, and as such transporting the priceless diamond to England, raised serious security concerns. An ingenuous plan was put in place that required the boarding by detectives of a London-bound steamer, purported to be carrying the Cullinan diamond. But this was only a diversionary tactic. In fact the stone on the ship was only a fake, meant for any daring thief. The actual diamond however, was sent to England in a plain box, via parcel post.
Sir Thomas Cullinan
King Edward commissioned the renowned diamond cutters of Amsterdam I. J. Asscher & Co. - who introduced a new diamond cut in 1902 called the Asscher-cut, also known as the square emerald-cut - to undertake the difficult task of cutting the Cullinan. The company had achieved credibility by cutting the Excelsior diamond in 1904, the world's largest un-cut diamond, before the discovery of the Cullinan diamond in 1905.
The stone was subjected to careful examination before the actual cutting. One of those who examined the Cullinan was Sir. William Crookes, who was astounded by it's remarkable clarity, but at the same time reported of a black spot in the midddle, around which the colors were very vivid, and changed as the analyzer was turned. This phenomenon according to Sir Williams was caused by severe internal strain, which is not uncommon for diamonds. Instances have been reported when diamonds have exploded when reaching the surface or sometimes in the pockets of miners due to body warmth, all attributed to internal strain.
The cutting of the Cullinan began on February 10th, 1908. The diamond was first cleaved along a pre-planned axis, by Mr. Asscher himself, who initially made an incision about half an inch deep. to accommodate the blade of a specially designed knife, which was followed by a heavy blow on the knife. The diamond split into two sections as expected. this was followed by a second cleavage in the same direction, producing three principal sections. Each of the sections were subjected to further cleavage, producing altogether nine large pieces. Around a 100 other smaller pieces were also produced. Faceting and polishing of the pieces then began, the shape of the cut being decided according to the dimensions of each piece. When the whole process was finally completed, there were nine major gems, and 96 smaller brilliants.
The nine larger Cullinan diamonds are an important component of the British Crown Jewels and some of them are on display at the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels.
Replicas of the nine diamonds cut from the Cullinan Diamond.
The Royal Sceptor of Great Britain
The Cullinan I, aka the Greater Star of Africa , is the largest of the Cullinan diamonds, with a pear-shaped cut and weighing 530.20 carats. This was the largest faceted diamond in the world, until the discovery of the Golden Jubilee diamond, also from the premier mine in 1985. However, it still remains the largest, D-color, faceted diamond in the world. The dimensions of the diamond are 58.9 x 45.4 x 27.7 mm. The stone has a total of 76 facets. On the orders of King Edward VII, the Cullinan I was mounted on the head of the Royal Scepter, and it is now on display in the Tower of London.
Cullinan I diamond (Star of Africa)
Cullinan II Diamond
The Cullinan II on the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain
The Cullinan II, aka the lesser Star of Africa is the second largest Cullinan diamond, with a cushion shape, weighing 317.4 carats. It is the fourth largest faceted diamond, and the second largest, D-color, faceted diamond in the world, and is also part of the British Crown Jewels. It has been mounted on the brow or band of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, which also features other notable precious stones such as St. Edwards Sapphire, the Stuart Sapphire and the Black Princess Ruby (actually a Spinel). It is also on display in the Tower of London, with the other Crown Jewels.
Cullinan III Diamond
The Cullinan III weighing 94.40 carats has a pear-shaped cut and is mounted in the finial of Queen Mary's (Queen consort of King George V) Crown, but when required Cullinan III could be combined with Cullinan IV to form a pendant-brooch, and most of Queen Mary's portraits show her wearing this combination. Queen Elizabeth II, the present British Monarch, also uses the two diamonds in the same way.
Cullinan III(bottom) and IV(top) set in a pendant brooch
The Cullinan IV, with a cushion-cut weighs 63.60 carats, and like the Cullinan III was originally mounted on Queen Mary's Crown, but as stated above, can also be worn as a jewelry.
The Cullinan V, with a triangular pear-cut, weighs 18.80 carats, and also had a dual use, one as a piece of jewelry, mounted in a brooch for Queen Mary and the other to be worn in the circlet of her crown, as a replacement for the Koh-i-Noor. This was after the Koh-i-Noor was removed to be mounted on a new crown for Elizabeth (Queen Mother), the Duchess of York after her husband George VI's accession to the throne, upon the abdication of Edward VIII, on December 11, 1936.
The Cullinan VI is a marquise-cut stone, with a weight of 11.50 carats. King Edward VII presented it to his Queen consort, Queen Alexandra. This diamond is now worn by Queen Elizabeth II, as a drop on a diamond and emerald necklace. It is said that the Cullinan VI was the section of the Cullinan that was worn more frequently as a jewelry by the young Queen Elizabeth, than any other section of the Cullinan.
Cullinan VII and VIII
The Cullinan VII is also a marquise-cut stone, weighing 8.80 carats, mounted as a pendant on an all diamond brooch, in the center of which is the 6.80 carat, cushion-cut Cullinan VIII.
Cullinan Diamond VII and VIII
The Cullinan IX is the smallest of the Cullinan diamonds, weighing only 4.39 carats and cut in a pear shape. The diamond was mounted in a ring , with a prong setting for Queen Mary, Queen consort of King George V. This ring is also sometimes worn by Queen Elizabeth II.