The Largest Diamond in the World
aka The Diamond in the Scepter
At 3106.75 carats in the rough it was--of course--The Cullinan. And
the finest diamond cutters in the world of that time--based in
Amsterdam circa 1905--were the Asscher Brothers who had cut the
Excelsior Diamond which was then no more than a bagatelle of a stone
coming in at a mere 925.2 carats. They were the ones chosen by King
Edward VII to cut the Cullinan which--parenthetically--was named
after Sir Thomas Cullinan. Due to a natural cleavage on its largest
face there appeared to be a piece missing from the stone and there
are those who would like to believe that this refers to a piece
missing from the stone which will one day be discovered. Should any
of you dear readers, ever meet any of these people, I urge you to
take advantage of the situation for I feel they may well be amenable
to buying the Brooklyn Bridge. or any other structure--real or
imaginary--that may suit your fancy. The road to opportunity which
leads to success is the ability to leave no stone--or
The Cullinan was discovered at the Premier mine and subsequently
acquired by the Transvaal government and it was then that a birth was
bestowed upon a great conundrum. How to ship the little doozie to
London? A plan was hatched. The security precautions were enormous
and elaborate. Those who knew of the impending shipments knew that no
limits on safety were ignored. The box was finally packed and shipped
to London. Amid the brouhaha a second box was also shipped to London
by register parcel post for the small cost of a three shilling stamp.
The first box was empty. The second box arrived safely with the
Cullinan inside and the ruse was a success.
Ah. but another ruse was in the works. Oh the intricate ploys to
which we subscribe in order to protect great wealth. The Asscher
Brothers were summoned to England for a private audience with ol'
Eddie the seventh--at which time they convinced him to cut the stone
into multiple parts for better yield. Eddie agreed. And now ruse
number two was born. The Royal Navy was called upon to escort an
empty box supposedly holding the Cullinan across the North Sea while
Abraham Asscher slipped the stone into his pocket and
traveled--identity unknown--to Holland by train and night ferry.
Ultimately--after several months of study-the rough was cleaved and
cleaved again with a final result of nine large jewels and ninety six
smaller brilliants. One of the nine--all of which are presently part
of the British crown jewels--is the Cullinan I. a 530.2 carat 72
facet pear shape also known as the Great Star of Africa. which
presently resides in the British Imperial Scepter and is on permanent
display at the Tower of London. It is a sight and a half to behold.
I do hope you all enjoyed this truncated history of the stone and the
devious machinations used to deliver it to its final destinations.
And now you know the rest. The visit to the image. also known as the
viewing experience. You know where to go. Home page.
. Scroll down. Left side. Tidbits. Click.
And there for your pleasure will be a picture of the Cullinan I in
the British Imperial Scepter.
And there ya have it. That's it for this week folks. Catch you all
next week. Benjamin Mark