The Cullinan Diamond

The Cullinan Diamond (the Star of Africa) is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found. It weighs 3,026 carats (other sources put its weight at 3,106 carats) and its dimensions are 100x65x50mm. It was discovered accidentially in 1905 in South Africa. The Transvaal government presented the diamond to Great Britain’s King Edward VII on his birthday. The diamond had an internal strain, rendering it impossible to cut without dividing it into parts.
The king gave the stone to Europe’s best jeweler, Joseph Asscher, to cut it. Asscher studied this unique, large diamond for several months before making the first, barely visible, scratch. After this, Asscher – surrounded by a group of famous jewelers looking on in rapt silence – put a chisel to the diamond, hit it with a hammer and fainted on the spot. But his calculation was correct. The diamond was broken into several large pieces, which were then cut into two large diamonds, seven average diamonds, ninety-six small azure diamonds, and one 69.5 carat rough piece. The total weight of the cut diamonds was 1,063.65 carats. Pictured: a blue diamond found in the Cullinan Diamond Mine.

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