The biggest diamond ever found is the Cullinan “Great Star of Africa” diamond found in South Africa in January 25, 1905. It had 3,106 carats before being divided. They are part of the British Crown Jewels. The 7,000 carat diamond found in August 2007 turned out to be hoax.
How the Cullinan Diamond was Discovered
The diamond was found by Frederick Wells, superintendent of Premier Mine in the Transvaal province in South Africa. When Wells unearthed the gemstone, it weighed over 1.5 lbs. Following the discovery, the Transvaal Colony named it the Cullinan diamond after Thomas Cullinan, the chairman of Premiere Mine.
The Crown Jewels of England
The biggest diamond ever found was presented as a birthday gift to King Edward VII of England in 1907. The king gave the diamond to his queen Alexandra. Subsequently, the gemstone was cut into nine large pieces and numerous small stones. The pieces are identifiable by their Roman numerals.
The biggest piece is the Great Star of Africa. It has 500 carats. This was placed in the State Scepter. The next largest piece is the Cullinan II with 300 carats. It is in the Imperial State Crown. Another piece, the 11 carat Cullinan VI, was given by the king to his wife Alexandra.
The Cullinan gems III to IX were bought by the South African government along with the smaller pieces. After King George V ascended to the throne, the South African government gave the stones to his queen Mary as gifts. The stones, along with the others, would be passed down to her granddaughter, the future Queen Elizabeth.
How the Diamonds are Put On
The most well known are Cullinan III (92 carats () and Cullinan IV (62 carats). These constitute the brooch. The Cullinan V, VII, VIII and IX are worn as brooches or pendants. Their carats vary from 18 to 4.
During the time of Queen Mary, the diamonds were part of the stomachers. Stomachers are large, ornate pieces that were put on her dress. The Cullinan IX is placed on a ring. It has 4 carats.
Other Large Diamonds
These include the 1,000 carat Excelsior diamond, the 108 carat Koh-i-noor diamond, the 775 carat Golden Jubilee and the 600 carat Lesotho Promise.
Miners are always looking out for other large gemstones, so larger pieces may be discovered one day. Until that time comes, the Cullinan diamond remains the biggest diamond ever found.