Diamonds have long held the fascination and desires of those who behold them. Their complete beauty has long held hearts and minds captive. Take for example the largest diamond ever discovered. The Cullinan weighed at 3,106 carats in the rough and was cut into nine major stones and 96 smaller stones. The Star of Africa, the largest cut from the Cullinan weighs in at 530 carats and is the largest cut diamond in existence.
The second largest stone in existence, The Excelsior was discovered in 1893 at the Jagersfontein Mine in South Africa. Picking up a shovel of gravel to load into a truck, a worker noticed an enormous stone in the dirt. Rather than presenting it to his overseer, the man took the diamond to the Mine Manager. As a reward he received 500 English pounds and a horse and saddle. Weighing 971 carats The Excelsior possessed the dazzling blue-white color characteristics the mine was known for producing.
Koh-I-Noor, or "Mountain of Light" is also one of the most famous diamonds in existence. Legend holds that whoever owns the stone rules the world. First mentioned in the 1300s, the diamond is believed to have been set in the famous peacock throne of Iran's Shah Jehan. During the reign of Queen Victoria, it was put on display at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, however after much fanfare, many noted its lackluster appearance when observed by the human eye. The diamond was re-cut to its present 105-carat weight and is set in the Maltese Cross at the front of the crown made for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It is part of the British Crown Jewels collection today.
The Regent's adventurous history encompasses greed, murder and trouble. Discovered by a slave in 1701, the diamond was one of the last large diamonds found in India. The slave hid the diamond and took it to the seacoast, hoping to earn his way to freedom by splitting the value of the stone with a ship's captain. During the voyage, greed overcame the captain who murdered the slave and took the diamond. The stone passed hands, including English Prime Minister William Pitt and was eventually worn by Louis XV in his coronation crown. Following the French Revolution, The Regent was owned by Napoleon Bonaparte, who had it fashioned into the hilt of his sword. Considered a national treasure, the diamond is today exhibited at the Louvre.
Perhaps the most notorious diamond of all, The Blue Hope has a long and sordid history. Legend holds that the diamond's origins began as the eye of an Indian temple idol. According to the story, it was smuggled into Paris and sold to King Louis XIV, where it was re-cut and named the Tavernier Blue. Captivated by its beauty, thieves stole the diamond during the French Revolution. It eventually turned up in London and was purchased by Henry Philip Hope, after whom the diamond is named. While in the possession of the Hope family, who all died penniless, the diamond earned its reputation for disaster. The Blue Hope finally became the possession of jeweler Harry Winston, who donated it to the Smithsonian Institution where it is currently on display.
Discovered at DeBeers' Premier Mine in South Africa, The Centenary Diamond was the third-largest stone to be uncovered there. Rated by the Gemological Institute of America as the highest grade of colorless diamond, the Centenary is internally and externally flawless. At 599 carats, the stone was re-cut into an unbelievable 273-carat, multi-faceted diamond. In fact, it is the largest modern fancy cut diamond in the world, surpassed in color only by the Star of Africa and the Cullinan II. While never publicly appraised, The Cenetary is known to have been insured for more than $100 million when it was unveiled in 1991. While no longer believed to be owned by DeBeers, the diamond's whereabouts are unknown, as a result of DeBeers' anonymity policy.
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms, and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.