Auction House Christie’s is known for their stunning jewel auctions. Their most recent unveiling over the weekend was an impressive 228.31 carat diamond which will lead the house’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale in May. The diamond is said to be the largest white diamond ever, joining the Cullinan diamond in the list of the largest diamonds to be unearthed.
While it is the largest white diamond, The Rock is hardly the largest diamond ever. Take a look at some of the most expensive diamonds to be discovered over the years.
1. The Cullinan Diamond – 3,106.75 carat
Named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the Cullinan is the largest crystal diamond ever. It was discovered in 1905 at the Premier Mine. While the original rough diamond was a whopping 3,106 carats, it was cut down into nine major and 96 minor diamonds in February 1908. Of these, the Cullinan I and the Cullinan II remain the largest at 530.20 carats and 317.4 carats respectively. Currently sitting on the Queen’s separator, the Cullinan I is on display in the Tower of London with the rest of the crown jewels.
2. Graff Lesedi La Rona – 1,109 carat
The world’s largest square emerald cut diamond, the Graff Lesedi La Rona was discovered in November 2015 at Canadian company Lucara Diamonds’ Karowe Mine in Botswana. The rough diamond estimated to be at least 2.5 billion years old, was sold to British multinational jeweller Graff in 2017. 18 months of meticulous craftsmanship transformed the rough diamond into what is now Graff’s Lesedi La Rona which weighs about 302.37 carats. Another 66 small diamonds were also created from the original rough diamond.
3. Debswana – 1,098 carat
Another precious rock discovered in Botswana in 2017, the Debswana diamond is named after Debswana Diamond Company, a 50-50 partnership between De Beers and the government of Botswana. Found in Jwaneng mine’s South Kimberlite pipe, Debswana is the third-largest diamond in the world and the largest in Debswana’s history. While both companies kept mum on whether the rock would be sold or auctioned, Debswana Diamond Company’s acting managing director Lynette Armstrong stated that the rare fist-sized rock would fetch at least 40 million sterling pounds.
4. Star of Sierra Leone – 968.9 carat
On a very special Valentine’s Day in 1972, miners discovered a 968.9-carat diamond in the Diminco mine in Sierra Leone. Named after the mine it was discovered in, the Star of Sierra Leone was purchased by American jeweller Harry Winston for approximately $2.5 million. Winston initially cut the diamond into a 143.2 emerald-cut gem. However, after noticing an internal flaw, the jeweller recut the diamond into 17 smaller pieces, of which a 53.96-carat pear-shaped diamond remains the largest.
5. Excelsior Diamond – 995.2 carats
The second-largest diamond to be found in Africa, the Excelsior Diamond was discovered in 1893 at the Jagersontein Mine in South Africa. Before the discovery of the Cullinan, the Excelsior was believed to be the largest diamond ever. Its flawless character made it impossible to sell until 1904 when diamond expert I. J. Asscher of Amsterdam cut it into ten smaller stones. The largest of them is a pear-shaped gem weighing 69.69 carats.
6. Constellation – 813 carat
Unearthed in 2015 in the Karowe Mine of Botswana, the Constellation diamond was mined and owned by the Lucara Diamond Corp. The diamonds went through several hands including De Beers and Zale Corporation. The rough diamond was finally purchased by Dubai-based Nemesis International for a record-breaking USD 63.1 million in 2016. After 18 months of work, the diamond was cut and polished by Nemesis into a 313-carat diamond.
7. Koh-i-Noor – 793 carats
The oldest and most talked about diamond, the Koh-i-Noor diamond dates back to the 13th century. Discovered in the Kollur Mine in India, the diamond was passed and succeeded from one dynasty to another before being obtained by Queen Victoria in 1849 after the Second Anglo-Sikh War between the Sikh Empire and the British East India Company. The 793-carat diamond was cut down in 1852 and turned into a 186-carat oval-cut diamond. Today the Koh-i-Noor is part of the British Crown Jewels and is set in the Queen’s crown.
8. Millennium Star – 777 carats
The second-largest colourless diamond in history, Millennium Star was found in the Mbuji-Mayi mine of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1990. It was then sold to the De Beers Group who sent it to the Steinmetz Group to be cut and formed into a 203.04-carat pear-shaped diamond. Additionally, a 27.64 carat fancy vivid blue heart-shaped diamond and 11 blue diamonds equivalent to 118 carats were also cut.
9. Woyie River Diamond – 770 carat
Also discovered in Sierra Leone, the Woyie River Diamond is named after the river with the same name. When discovered in 1945, the Woyie River Diamond was the largest alluvial diamond at the time. After being brought to England in 1947, the diamond was displayed to the public at the British Industries Fair in 1949, after which it was cut into 30 smaller diamonds. The largest of them is the Victory Diamond weighing 31.35 carats. The Woyie River diamond is also the third-largest gemstone to be discovered in Africa after the Cullinan and Excelsior diamond.
10. The Rock – 228.31 carats
At 228.31 carats, The Rock may not be the largest diamond, but it is the largest white diamond in history. The rough diamond was mined and polished in South Africa more than 20 years ago and since then has gone through a total of three owners so far. Talking about the size of the diamond, auctioneer Rahul Kadakia compared the diamond to the size of an egg. The Rock will be actioned at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale on May 11, 2022.