World’s Most Expensive Diamonds: Top 5
Greatest diamonds ever found
I have been wondering for ages why would some people bid tens of millions of dollars for a piece of gemstone. At times, marble-sized rocks easily fetch over $10 million in auctions to literally serve just one purpose for the owner – show it to others.
I never got a chance to see such a precious diamond with my own eyes. Perhaps this is why I do not have the answer to this riddle – why someone spends a great fortune to acquire a fancy diamond.
Solitaire diamonds are mesmerizing to look at, I can tell you that. Engagement rings I have seen before. A diamond quarter the size of a nail is a showstopper in any gathering, if used with an appropriate ring setting.
It is because nothing beats a diamond. Trust me, I have tried and failed. Once I borrowed every counterpart I could find in jewelry stores and placed all of them next to a very little brilliant-cut diamond (ring) one by one. The result – everything begins to fade when a diamond starts to glitter.
If a one-carat white diamond ring can hypnotize me and make me look at it forever, then a 90-carat naturally colored diamond must be like Sirius A. I wish I could hold something like that for a while and know for myself what it’s all about.
Talking about fancy diamonds, the following are arguably the World’s Greatest Diamonds ever discovered:
5. The Pink Star
A vivid pink masterpiece of mother nature, The Pink Star Diamond made an extraordinary collectible at Sotheby’s, which sold this largest Internally Flawless diamond (as graded by the Gemological Institute of America) for USD 71.2 million in 2017. Renamed as CTF Pink Star (after Chow Tai Fook), it is also the highest-rated pink diamond for color and clarity parameters, as per GIA.
- Place of Origin: Africa. Mined by De Beers in 1999 at 132.5-carat in rough shape.
- Carat: 59.60 at present, after polish and cut.
- Estimated Value: Sold at US$71.2 million in an auction in Hong Kong.
- Properties: Oval mixed-cut, and NO impurity present. The fancy pink color is due to a mutation in its molecular structure itself – an extremely rare phenomenon that cannot be precisely assessed for scientific accuracy.
- Present Owner: Chow Tai Fook.
4. De Beers Centenary Diamond
Discovered by De Beers in 1986 using X-ray imaging, the Centenary Diamond weighed a massive 599 carats in its crude shape. The unveiling of this diamond was done in 1988 – the 100th anniversary of De Beers. Hence the name Centenary was chosen for this flawless stone.
- Place of Origin: Premier Mine of South Africa.
- Carat: 273.8 after cut and polish.
- Estimated Value: $100 million.
- Properties: Colorless with highest GIA rating – D.
- Present Owner: Rumored to be sold to an unknown buyer, due to De Beers’s anonymity policy.
3. The Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond is one of the most remarkable diamonds in the history of mankind. Passed on to multiple owners during the course of four centuries, the Hope Diamond is thought to have illuminated the brow of an idol in an ancient Indian temple, before it was plucked out by a priest. The ensuing story tells us that it was excavated from the Golconda mines later on, and then taken to Europe. There are many historically significant stories associated with this mysteries diamond before it was finally given to the National Museum of Natural History, courtesy of Harry Winston, an American jeweler.
- Place of Origin: India
- Carat: 45.5.
- Estimated Value: $200–$350 million.
- Properties: Dark bluish color, an antique cushion cut with GIA’s Apparently Flawless VS1 rating.
- Present Owner: Permanently stored for exhibition in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.
2. Cullinan I
Also called The Great Star of Africa or Cullinan I, the size of its uncut ‘mother diamond’ was 3,106.75 carats, i.e., a whopping 621.350 grams! Nine precious diamonds were forged out of this gigantic gemstone, all named from Cullinan I to Cullinan IX.
The largest one was crafted at 530.4 carats — Cullinan I, or simply, The Cullinan Diamond. After its find in 1905, it was presented to King Edward VII to become a part of the crown jewels of England.
- Place of Origin: Cullinan, South Africa.
- Carat: 530.4, cut and polished.
- Estimated Value: $400 million.
- Properties: Pear-cut, colorless.
- Present Owner: Queen Elizabeth II (embedded in ‘Head of Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross’).
And finally, the part I was waiting for!
My personal favorite is Koh-i-Noor and let me tell you why.
There is a reason why this diamond is called Mountain of Light. If we are to believe a Sanskrit script’s mention about ‘Syamantaka’, Koh-i-Noor was founded over 5000 years ago. However, the known history of transfer of this most exquisite diamond starts from 1304 when it belonged to the Emperor of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji. Passed down from one ruling dynasty to another within the rich Indian culture, the Koh-i-Noor was finally conquered by the British East India Company and handed over to Queen Victoria in the year 1850. At present, Koh-i-Noor is THE prime jewel of the British crown.
Known for its fabled appearance, even the great rulers in ancient times were not spared with Koh-i-Noor’s brilliance. It was reduced many times over the centuries to better its appearance and match its owner’s preferences.
- Place of Origin: India.
- Carat: 105.6 at present.
- Estimated Value: $1 Billion. Although it has never been made available for sale.
- Properties: Colorless, oval brilliant with 66 facets.
- Present Owner: Queen Elizabeth II.