Glittering gems can be mesmerizing, and the bigger the gem, the more awe it generates. High-quality gems can also go decades without growing dull or wearing down, and over the years, there have been several large gems dug up and cut into beautiful, dazzling jewels.
Some of these large gems have made an impact on history and have been passed through several famous hands, such as those of royalty. To learn more about five of these famed gems, read on.
The Star of Africa
Also known as Cullinan I, the Star of Africa is the largest gem to be cut out of a 3,106.75-carat diamond called the Cullinan, which was mined out of an African mine in 1905. The Star of Africa is pear-shaped with 74 facets and weighs 530.2 carats. It sits atop the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross and remains the secondlargest cut diamond in the world.
Today, it’s on display in the Tower of London alongside gems from the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain, which include other jewels cut from the enormous Cullinan diamond.
The Millennium Star
As an uncut diamond, the Millennium Star was around 777 carats, but it shrunk to 203.04 carats when it was cut to its current clear, pear-shaped form. Like the Star of Africa, the Millennium Star was also discovered in Africa but at a much later time.
The diamond was found in 1990, and it was purchased by a diamond mining and trading company called De Beers a handful of years later. The diamond was then cut and put in the De Beers Millennium diamond collection in 1999.
Out of all the colorless, or top-color, diamonds in the world, the Millennium Star still stands at second largest.
The Moussaieff Red
When most people think of a diamond, they often think of white diamonds. But the Moussaieff Red is actually a brilliant, stunning red diamond. It has such excellent color that the Gemological Institute of America has rated the Moussaieff Red as a Fancy Red.
When compared to the Millennium Star or the Star of Africa, the Moussaieff Red is much smaller. It weighs
5.11 carats in its current triangular shape but is still the largest red diamond on the globe.
It was originally found in the ’90s by a farmer in Brazil, weighing 13.9 carats uncut. The William Goldberg Diamond Corp. bought and cut the diamond and originally named it the Red Shield. The diamond was then sold to a man named Shlomo Moussaieff in 2001 or 2002 and is still in possession of Moussaieff Jewellers
The Star of India
The breathtaking Star of India is actually a grayish blue star sapphire that weighs an impressive 563.35 carats. A star sapphire is a stone that contains the mineral rutile, The rutile gives the stone its milky color, and the rutile also reflects light in such a way that it looks like there’s a star on the surface of the stone. The Star of India is unique because you can see a star on both sides.
The Star of India was actually a part of the gem exhibit for the Paris Exposition of 1900. The stone was found by a Tiffany & Co. gem specialist named George Kunz, who was commissioned by J.P. Morgan, a wealthy investor, to collect a large collection of gems for the exposition.
It was originally unearthed in Sri Lanka but was donated alongside other gems to the American Museum of Natural History after the exposition. The Star of India still holds its title as the largest and most famous star sapphire on Earth.
The Hope Diamond
Whether you are a great admirer of gems or have a mild interest in rare jewels, you may have heard of the Hope Diamond. The brilliantly blue Hope Diamond has a long and interesting history, and it’s seen quite a bit in the last few of centuries.
It’s unclear when and where the diamond was found, and it’s even more unclear who first owned the gem. However, from written records, it’s suspected the Hope Diamond was mined in India in Andhra Pradesh. The first known owner was Jean-Baptiste Tavernier who managed to get the gem sometime in the 1600s.
In Tavernier’s possession, the diamond was uncut and weighed around 115 carats, and when he brought it back to Paris, it was named the Tavernier Blue. The diamond was sold to King Louis XIV sometime around 1670, and the French king had the stone cut by the court jeweler. After it was cut, it weighed 67.125 carats, and it was renamed the Blue Diamond of the Crown of France.
The diamond was stolen from the royal family in 1792, and the whereabouts of the diamond was largely unknown for a couple of decades until it reappeared sometime in the early 1800s in the United Kingdom. During its disappearance, it had been recut, having been shaved down to 45.54 carats.
Historians suspect the stone was owned by King George IV shortly after it’s resurfacing, but the jewel was later lost sometime after 1830. It was then purchased by Thomas Hope and renamed the Hope Diamond in 1839.
The Hope family owned it for several decades until it was sold in 1901 to pay off debts. It then passed through several hands and developed a reputation for being bad luck with a trail of financial struggles and deaths behind it. It was eventually donated to the Smithsonian in 1958, where it is still happily on display.
These are only five examples, but there are many other famous stones throughout history and the world. And while you may not have something quite like the Hope Diamond or the Moussaieff Red in your collection, even small gems can be valuable.
If you have jewelry in your collection you’d like to sell, trust in Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. Our honest jewelry experts can take a look and give you a reasonable price for any piece.