Diamonds, as the most prized gemstones in the world, is one of the most impeccable artworks of nature indeed. As the greatest source of value and fascination since the ancient era, diamonds were initially thought to be broken pieces of the falling stars by the Romans, whereas, the Greeks considered these to be 'tears of the gods' as sparkling gems. The word 'Diamond' has been derived from the Greek word 'Adamao', which means 'unconquerable' and undoubtedly is one of the most 'craved for' gemstones all across the globe.
Though the first-ever discovery of diamond dates back to the era of the 4th century and the earliest archived evidence of it is seen in a Sanskrit manuscript inscribed by a minister of the North Indian empire during the period of 320-296 BCE. However, here we would like to bring the story of the largest uncut diamond ever being discovered in the world.
The Discovery of 'Cullinan'
Way back on Jan 25, 1905, a 3106-carat diamond nugget was unearthed at the preeminent Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa by one of the mine's superintendents, Frederick Wells, during a daily inspection trip. Having a weight of around 1.33 pounds, this precious piece was coined as the 'Cullinan' after the name of the mine's owner, Sir Thomas Cullinan. Soon after, the owner sold the 'Cullinan' to the government of Transvaal Province and they finally presented this treasure to King Edward VII of Great Britain as a birthday present. While having the fear of the diamond getting stolen on the way to London from Africa, the majesty planned to transport a counterfeited diamond by a steamer ship with a team of detectives for distracting the looters. As the fake piece slowly moved from Africa, the original piece was been sent in a normal box to England.
The Cutting of 'Cullinan'
Kind Edward assigned the critical and meticulous task of cutting the 'Cullinan' to the head of Amsterdam's Asscher Diamond Company, Joseph Asscher. Noticeably, Asscher had already gained immense appreciation by then for cutting the world-renowned Excelsior diamond in 1893. He took a period of around 6 months just for studying the nature of 'Cullinan' and the ideal method to deploy for cutting the piece precisely. Though the steel blade broke during his first attempt on 10th Feb 1908 without any effect as such on the diamond, he succeeded in his next attempt as the diamond broke exactly in the same way as he wished. One of his factory workers even reported that Mr. Asscher almost fainted after he accomplished the task successfully.
The 'Cullinan' was being cut into 9 large pieces and another 100 smaller pieces, which valued a whopping amount of millions of dollars altogether. Following here is a brief description of the nine large pieces being sheared from the massive-sized original 'Cullinan'.
All these nine pieces are displayed in the Tower of London Crown Jewels Exhibition and Star Rooms at the Buckingham Palace for public viewing.
Ranging from beauty, rarity, durability to enduring value, the quality and value of a diamond is determined by evaluating the piece on a gamut of significant parameters. Adhering the same, every royal piece of the 'Cullinan' is believed to exhibit a glorious mix of cut, clarity and color because of which, it is profoundly admired all across the globe since its discovery and will continue to cherish its royal glory for many more years to come.