The Most Famous Diamonds in the World
As I make engagement rings and custom wedding bands for couples from all over Sydney, I am lucky enough to see many diamonds.
But even as a jeweller and custom engagement ring designer, I am still sometimes absolutely floored by the diamonds I read about or see online. Discovering the rich history of some of these early in my career engendered an ongoing fascination with these precious stones.
Here are a few of the most well-known and revered in the world.
The Star Africa
When a diamond can lay claim to being named after a whole continent, you get a sense that it must be fairly spectacular. The Star Africa is the largest cut diamond on the face of the Earth. It’s intricate detail runs to 74 individual facets, or hollows, in the stone. Each of these serves the purpose of refracting the light that passes through the stone and enhances it’s brilliance.
The stone, which is also known as the ‘Cullinan I’ and the ‘Great Star of Africa’ also resides in a location that matches its fame. The home of the Star Africa is the world-famous Tower of London. That’s because the British Royal family saw fit to embed the one-of-a-kind-stone in the Royal Scepter, which makes the Star Africa one of the Crown Jewels.
The history of diamond suggests that the raw stone was examined for over six months by master craftsmen before it was cut into it’s current shape. Now that’s a custom hand made piece of jewellery!
Mountain of Light
Another exquisite stone that is part of the Crown Jewels that also resides at the Tower of London, the Mountain of Light has a far more extensive history than it’s more famous cousin. While the Star Africa was discovered early last century, the Mountain of Light, or ‘Koh-I-Noor’ as it’s sometimes known, has been treasured for more than 700 years.
It was initially the plaything of Rajahs from the sub-continent of India and the invading Mogul armies from Asia who fought over it as part of the spoils of their long-running wars. Eventually it found a more permanent home in the Peacock Throne that was created for Shah Jehan, a powerful ruler of the Persian Empire.
It fell into the hands of the East India Company who presented it to Queen Victoria in 1850. It was first part of an ornate brooch before later becoming part of the State Crown which was worn by the current Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, for her coronation.
The Regent is another diamond with royal history, but this time for the French crown. After it’s initial discovery in India, it was transported to London before eventually being sold to the French aristocracy.
It’s first home was the silver crown worn by Louis XV in 1775 before being extracted and embedded in the swords of the Emperor, Napoleon. Those who wish to see this incredible stone that has witnessed the rise and fall of the kings, queens and emperors of France can do so at the Louvre in Paris.
Completing the Royal quartet, the Orloff is a stone that went from it’s place of discovery in humid and tropical India to the frozen expanses of Russia. The diamond is what is known as a mogul rose-cut stone, and because of its brilliance it was initially incorporated into a statue of a Hindu God as his eye.
Even in the 1700s it’s value was well-known, with a thief who plundered the shrine where it resided, selling the stone for 2000 crowns to a British captain, which would be worth millions of dollars in today’s terms.
A lover of Empress Catherine the Great bought the stone many years later for 90,000 crowns, and has the honour of still having the stone named after him. He mounted the stone in her Imperial Sceptre, and the Empress was so taken with the lavish gift that she gave him a marble palace in return.
As you can see, diamonds are far more than just stones, with the history of nations, kings and queens woven around them. A custom made engagement ring that you have helped design is a way to make sure that your specially chosen diamond will be part of your history as a couple.
If you would like to learn more about how I can help craft you a custom made engagement ring from my studio in inner-Sydney why not get in touch. I would love the chance to meet you and help plan the design of your unique handmade ring.
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