Top Ten Diamonds

Top Ten Diamonds

Cullinan I2Public DomainThe Hope DiamondThe Incomparable

In mineralogy, diamond, greek for “unbreakable,” is a metastable allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material. Those properties determine the major industrial application of diamond in cutting and polishing tools and the scientific applications in diamond knives and diamond anvil cells. Diamond also has remarkable optical characteristics. Because of its extremely rigid lattice, it can be contaminated by very few types of impurities, such as boron and nitrogen. Combined with wide transparency, this results in the clear, colorless appearance of most natural diamonds. Small amounts of defects or impurities (about one per million of lattice atoms) color diamond blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red. Diamond also has relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors), which results in its characteristic luster. Excellent optical and mechanical properties, notably unparalleled hardness and durability, make diamond the most popular gemstone. Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 km (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth’s mantle. Carbon-containing minerals provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth′s surface through deep volcanic eruptions by a magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Diamonds can also be produced synthetically in a high-pressure high-temperature process which approximately simulates the conditions in the Earth mantle.

  1. Golden Jubilee
    Golden Jubilee
    The Golden Jubilee is the largest faceted diamond in the world, weighing 545.67 carats. The stone was designed by Gabi Tolkowsky, who also designed the 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond, which is the largest D-Flawless diamond in the world. The Golden Jubilee was presented to the King of Thailand in 1997 for his Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of his coronation. Prior to this event, the stone was simply known as the Unnamed Brown.
  2. Cullinan I
    Cullinan ICullinan I1Cullinan I2
    The Cullinan I was the largest gem produced from the rough stone. It is a pear shaped stone of 530.2 carats and is the world’s largest cut diamond. The Cullinan I is now in the head of the royal scepter in the British crown jewels.
    Links: Top Ten Scepters, Top Ten Crown Jewels,,
  3. Cullinan II
    Cullinan IICullinan II1
    The second largest cut diamond, the Cullinan II, is a cushion-shaped stone weighing 317.4 carats, and is set in the British imperial state crown.
  4. The Incomparable
    The Incomparable
    The Incomparable is the largest diamond in the US and was found in its rough state weighing 890 carats in the town of Mbuji Mayi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in the 1980’s. It was found by a young girl playing in a pile of rubble outside her uncle’s house. This rubble had been legitimately collected from old mine dumps from the nearby MIBA Diamond Mine, having been rejected during the recovery process as being too bulky to be worth scanning for diamonds. The girl gave the diamond to her uncle, who sold it to some local African diamond dealers, who in turn sold it to a group of Lebanese buyers operating out of Kinshasa. It was later purchased in Antwerp by the Senior De Beers Buyer. As a result, Sir Philip Oppenheimer, then president of the Central Selling Organization and a De Beers director, sold it to Donald Zale, chairman of the board of the Zale Corporation, the Dallas-based jewelry store chain. He bought the diamond in partnership with Marvin Samuels, of the Premier Gems Corporation, and Louis Glick, both prominent figures in the New York diamond industry. The huge stone was finally unveiled in November, 1984, which coincided with the Zale Corporation’s 75th anniversary (their Diamond Anniversary). Shortly afterwards it was put on display at the Natural History wing of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
  5. For the Love of God
    Public Domain
    For the Love of God is a sculpture by artist Damien Hirst produced in 2007. It consists of a platinum cast of an 18th century human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, including a pear-shaped pink diamond located in the forehead that is known as the Skull Star Diamond. The skull’s teeth are original, and were purchased by Hirst in London. The artwork is a Memento mori, Latin for “Remember your mortality” or “Remember you must die,” referring to a genre of artworks that vary widely but share the same purpose: to remind people of their mortality, an artistic theme dating back to antiquity. In 2007, art historian Rudi Fuchs, observed: ‘The skull is out of this world, celestial almost. It proclaims victory over decay. At the same time it represents death as something infinitely more relentless. Compared to the tearful sadness of a vanitas scene, the diamond skull is glory itself.’ Costing £14 million to produce, the work was placed on its inaugural display at the White Cube gallery in London in an exhibition Beyond belief with an asking price of £50 million. This would have been the highest price ever paid for a single work by a living artist. According to Art Knowledge News, a sale was being completed at the $100 million asking price.
    Links: Top Ten Works of Art by Damian Hirst, Top 100 Works of Art,
  6. Star of Sierra Leone Broach

  7. Queen Victoria’s Jubilee
    Queen Victoria’s Jubilee
    A colorless cushion cut stone weighing 245.35 metric carats, ranking as the 3rd largest cut stone in the world. It weighed 650.8 carats in the rough and was discovered in 1895. Originally called The Reitz, it was renamed, The Jubilee, in 1896 in honor of The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. It was supposed to be presented to her, but it never happened. Shortly after being displayed in the Paris Exhibition of 1900, the stone was sold at a value of 7,000,000 francs to an Indian Industrialist and Philanthropist, Sir Dorabji Jamsetji Tata.
    Links: Top Ten Queens,
  8. Sea of Light Diamond
    Sea of Light Diamond
    The pale pink table-cut diamond, the Darya-i-Nur (Sea ofLight), weighing 186 carats, is the largest pink diamond in the world, and originated in the famous Kollur diamond mines ofSouthern India. It was believed to be part of the “Grand Table Diamond” or “Diamanta Grand Table” which Tavernier saw when he visitedGolconda in 1642, during one of his many trips toIndia in the 17th century. Tavernier also reported that the “Great Table Diamond” was at one time mounted on the famous “Peacock Throne” of Shah Jahaan. Modern diamond historians in trying to trace the whereabouts of the “Great Table Diamond” eventually concluded that the 186-carat table-cut “Darya-i-Nur” diamond which formed part of the Iranian Crown Jewels, may possibly be a part of this diamond, and another 60-carat oval pink diamond known as the Nur-ul-Ain which also belonged to the Iranian Crown Jewels may be another part. A team of Canadian Experts who conducted research on the Iranian Crown Jewels in 1965, also came to the same conclusion, and it is now generally accepted that the Great Table Diamond was cleaved into two parts during the rule of one of the Mogul Emperors after Shah Jahaan, and the major portion was transformed into the Darya-i-Nur, and the lesser portion into the Nur-ul-Ain.
  9. The Hope Diamond
    The Hope Diamond
    The 45.52 carat Hope Diamond is in a platinum setting surrounded by 16 white pear-shaped and cushion-cut diamonds designed by Pierre Cartier in 1910.
  10. The Spoonmaker’s Diamond
    The Spoonmaker’s Diamond is an 86 carat pear-shaped diamond which is considered the pride of the Imperial Treasury exhibitions at the Topkapi Palace Museum (Turkey) and its most valuable single exhibit. Considered the fourth largest diamond of its kind in the world, it is kept under conditions of high security. Set in silver, surrounded by a double row of 49 old-mine cut diamonds it hangs in a glass case on the wall of the third room in Imperial Treasury section of Topkapı’s “Conqueror’s Pavilion”, where it is clearly the most eye-catching jewel.
    Links: Museums and Galleries,,
  11. Star of the East
    The Star of the East is 95-carat stone once owned by Evalyn Walsh McLean of Washington DC, who also owned the Hope Diamond. The Star of the East remained in Evalyn Walsh McLean’s ownership for 40 years or so. After her death, Harry Winston bought both diamonds and in 1951 he sold the Star of the East and a fancy colored oval cut diamond to King Farouk of Egypt. By the time of the King’s overthrow in 1952, Mr. Winston had still not received payment for the two gems, but three years later an Egyptian government legal board entrusted with the disposal of the former royal assets, ruled in his favor. Nevertheless, several years of litigation were needed before he was able to reclaim the Star of the East from a safe-deposit box in Switzerland. In 1969 Harry Winston sold the Star of the East, the new owner asking him to remount the gem as a pendant to a V-shaped diamond necklace to which two flawless matching pear shapes could be attached  The Star of the East was displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1978, at a reception marking the 50th anniversary of Harry Winston Inc. Six years later the diamond came back into the ownership of Harry Winston Inc. Its present whereabouts are unknown.
    Links: The Universe, Top Ten Stars,
  12. Bonus: Lucy (Largest Known Diamond)
    The biggest diamond ever discovered completely dwarfs the Cullinan diamond.  A white dwarf star called BPM 37093 was discovered on February 13, 2004. BPM 37093 has a huge diamond at its heart which is spherical in shape and measures some 4,000 kilometers in diameter. The only problem is that the diamond, which has been named Lucy, after the famous Beatles song, is approximately 50 light years away from Earth. Located in the Centaurus constellation, the dead star was originally the size of the Sun. After exhausting its nuclear fuel it turned into a white dwarf. When cooling down, the carbon crystallized, transforming itself into a gigantic diamond. Lucy is estimated to weight 5 million trillion trillion pounds which makes her 10 billion trillion trillion carats, in other words a one followed by 34 zeros!
    Links: The Universe, Top Ten Stars, Top Ten Suns,,
  13. Shah Diamond
    As you can tell, this is not a cut diamond in the usual sense. The Shah diamond is unique in that it has been polished from its original 95cts to its present 88.7cts and has been variously described as Table Cut, Portrait Stone and bar Shaped. It is unique because 3 of its polished faces are engraved with the names of 3 rulers who have owned it. The oldest dates the stone to around 1591 (AD) or 1000 in the Muslim calendar and refers to Burhan II. The second inscription reads “Son od Jahangir Shah, Jahan Shah 1051” (1641 AD). The third inscription is that of the Persian Ruler Fath Ali Shah (1797-1834). The stone was probably acquired whenPersia invadedIndia in 1739. There are many stories about how the stone then traveled toRussia and became part of the Russian Crown Jewels. In 1914 the stone was taken fromSt Petersburg toMoscow for safekeeping and it was found after the Russian Revolution in 1917 and put on display in the Kremlin.
  14. Kooh-I-Nor
    Kooh-I-NorPublic Domain
    Believed to have been presented by Sultan Ala-ed-in to two brothers but captured on 4th may 1526 by Humayin, at which point it was stated to be valued at half the daily expense of the whole world. It arrived in England in 1850 and was presented to Queen Victoria on the 3rd of July. It originally weighed 186 carats (190 metric) and took 38 days to cut to its present form at a cost then of $8,000. It is currently an Oval Brilliant of 108.93 metric carats. The name means Mountain of Light. The stone is currently set into the Maltese Cross in the crown made for the Queen mother in 1937.
  15. Links: Nature, Top Ten Minerals,,,,,,

Top Ten Emeralds

Top Ten Emeralds

       Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the 10 point Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Most emeralds are highly included, so their toughness (resistance to breakage) is classified as generally poor.

  1. Bahia Emerald

    The Bahia Emerald is one of the largest emeralds (or rather, emerald crystals embedded in host rock) and contains the largest single shard ever found. The approximately 840 lb (1,900,000 carats) Brazilian stone narrowly escaped flooding during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 during a period of storage in a warehouse in New Orleans. It was subsequently reported stolen in September 2008 from a secured vault in South El Monte in Los Angeles County, California. Whilst the stone has been valued at some $400 million, the true value is unclear.
  2. The Guinness Emerald Crystal

    The 1759-carat Guinness Emerald Crystal. The stone was found at the Coscuez in Columbia and is one of the largest gem-quality emerald crystals in the world.
  3. Chalk Emerald Ring

    The Chalk Emerald is a 37.82 carats (7.56 g) Colombian emerald. It originally weighed 38.40 carats (7.68 g), but was re-cut and set in a ring, where it is surrounded by sixty pear-shaped diamonds (totaling 15 carats (3.0 g), by Harry Winston Inc. The ring is housed in the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the US and was donated to the museum by Mr. and Mrs. O. Roy Chalk in 1972. The Chalk Emerald ranks among the very finest Columbian emeralds, it was once the centerpiece of an emerald and diamond necklace belonging to a maharani of the former state of Baroda in India.
  4. The Duke of Devonshire Emerald
  5. The Gachala Emerald

    The Gachala Emerald is an uncut 5-cm emerald crystal weighing 858 carats (172 g). The stone was found in 1967 at Vega de San Juan mine in Colombia and is named after the mining district where it was discovered. Now in the United States, it was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by the New York jeweler, Harry Winston.
  6. The Mackay Emerald

    Description: The largest cut emerald in the National Gem Collection designed by Cartier Inc. In 1931, Clarence H. Mackay presented the necklace as a wedding gift to his wife, Anna Case.
  7. Mogul Emerald
    The Mogul Emerald weighs in at 217.8 carats. It is embellished with an Islamic prayer written in Arabic script. The Mogul was mined in Columbia and was engraved by the late 17th Century Mogul rulers of India. It is believed to have possibly been worn as the centerpiece of a turban pin. To this day, Emerald is a highly sought after gem and seeking it can be dangerous. In the areas of the world where the gem is found (particularly Columbia) those who seek it or mine it consider their treasure hunting profession at the very least “predatory” due to illicit forays into the mines, theft and even murder. Emerald is actually a form of Beryl. Crystal healers associate the “vibe” properties of Emerald and Beryl to be connected to the Heart Chakra. The Emerald acts as a powerful influence in aiding in the recovery of infectious illness.
  8. Maximillian Emerald Ring

    Donated to the Smithsonian Museum by Marjorie Merriweather Post.
  9. Hooker Emerald Brooch

    Description: A 75.47-carat emerald set in a brooch, part of the Smithsonian Museum’s collection.
  10. Emerald City Earings
    Emerald City Earrings
  11. The Patricia Emerald Crystal

    It is one of the largest gem-quality emeralds in the world, The stone resides in the New York Museum of Natural History.
  12. Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara

    Links: Top Ten Crowns,,
  13. Links: Top Ten Minerals,,

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