The Famous Cullinan Diamond (The Star of Africa)

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The First Cullinan Diamond:
African diamonds are still too young to leave traces in history. The tales of these famous diamonds will be written by sons of our sons, but the story of one of these stones, whose destiny is connected to the destiny of the British Royal family, is a story worth telling. This is the story of the world's largest diamond named "Cullinan".

This diamond was discovered in 1905 in South African province of Transvaal, in the Premier mine. It was named after the president of "Premier Diamond Mine Company" Thomas Cullinan. This clear, colorless diamond's size was 10x6,5x5 cm. Upon its discovery it weighted 3106 carats (631.3 grams). Judging by its shape, it was probably a part of a larger, fissile crystal octahedron.

First Cullinan Diamond
The stone was bought by the Transvaal government for 150 thousand pound. In 1907 upon an initiative of A. Oppenheim, member of board of directors of "De Beers" corporation, the diamond was presented to King Edward VII on his birthday. In 1908 it was decided to cut the diamond. It was transferred to 'Asscher & Co", famous diamond firm in Amsterdam. Since earlier, cracks were discovered on the diamond's surface, a decision to split the diamond was made.

E. Asscher, owner of "Asscher&Co", who was considered at the time the best diamond cutter in Europe, polished a small part of the stone in order to study its internal structure. An examination of the stone took several months. After thorough investigation, the cutting began. It was a festive ceremony. Before he started, Asscher made a thin, almost invisible incision. Afterwards a specifically designed knife was placed in the incision and the diamond was split in one heavy blow. The excitement was so great, that according the eyewitnesses, after the first blow Asscher fainted.

Master's calculations were correct - the stone split into two crystals. Later, the stone was split into more crystals. Eventually, two large crystals, seven medium and over a hundred of small pieces were obtained. The largest crystal was cut into an extremely clear, drop shaped diamond with 74 facets, called "Cullinan 1" or "The Star of Africa", its weight is 530.2 carats.

The Second Cullinan Diamond:
The second diamond, "Cullinan 2" weighing 317.4 carats, was a square shaped stone with 66 facets. Both diamonds were blue and white. The diamonds were set in the crown and the scepter of the kings of England. Along with other Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, they are displayed at the Tower of London museum. In addition, 103 diamonds were producer from Cullinan, weighing a total of 1063.5 carats, approximately 34.25% of the initial weight of the stone upon its discovery.

Second Cullinan Diamond