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Diamond Trivia

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mike04456

Brilliant_Rock
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I got into a gem trivia thread on DCC last week, and I though you guys might enjoy something similar. Here''s one to start with.

It''s no mystery that the vast majority of diamonds end up in the possession of women, even though an even larger majority of them are mined by men. However, a few notable diamonds have been found by women. Which was the largest?

Hint: the most notable stone cut from this rough ended up adorning the hand of perhaps the most famous woman in the world at the time, Jacqueline Kennedey Onassis. At the auction of her possessions held in 1996, it sold for over $2.5 million.
 

gemsource

Rough_Rock
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Mar 11, 2003
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scratching my head.when ya posting the awnswer?are you gonna leave me hanging like last week?im gonna cheat and do some research
 

cowboystu

Shiny_Rock
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Feb 15, 2003
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It's amazing what you can learn by asking Mr. Internet (google...but i prefer to think of it as a personal friend):


Her was Lesotho III Diamond, one of eighteen gems cut from a 601-carat rough diamond found in Lesotho, South Africa in May 1967.

In 1967, a Basuto woman found a mountain diamond weighing 601 carats. It was the eleventh largest diamond ever found in the world.

Follow-up question (i am still looking for this answer):
What are the top 10 largest diamonds ever found?
 

mike04456

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I live and die by Google as well, but that wasn't where I found this one.

The story is told in Ian Balfour's "Famous Diamonds" (1997). Ernestine Ramaboa was the wife of a "digger" in the diamond fields in the highlands of Lesotho. One day while her husband was off selling previous finds, she was sifting gravel when she came upon a rough brown diamond about the size and shape of a hen's egg. She recognized it as a diamond immediately and hid in her hut until her husband returned. They walked the 225 km down the mountains to the diamond market in Maseru, telling no one and stopping only briefly to eat and sleep.

When they arrived, the diamond created so much excitement that the government had to take over for their protection. A sealed bid auction was conducted, and the crystal was sold for about US$150,000 to a South African buyer. De Beers bid on the stone but did not win. Shortly thereafter, the stone was sold to Harry Winston for (reportedly) about twice that price. The initial cleaving of the rough was performed on live television, and after much planning and contemplation, the stone was cut into 18 finished diamonds. The third largest, a 40.42 ct marquise, was set into the engagement ring that Aristotle Onassis gave to Jacqueline Kennedy. After her death, it sold for US$2,587,500 to Irish businessman and former international rugby player Tony O'Reilly as a gift for his wife. Nice guy.


I can think of a few of the top ten but the rest I'd have to look up. Maybe someone else wants to take a stab at it.
 

mike04456

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----------------
Follow-up question (i am still looking for this answer):
What are the top 10 largest diamonds ever found?
----------------
This proved to be far too obscure for Google. I had to check a couple of books for this. This list is not definitive, as some authorities differ on a few of the diamonds, notably the Great Mogul.

1. Cullinan, 3106 ct, 1905, South Africa
2. Excelsior, 995 ct, 1893, S.A.
3. Star of Sierra Leone, 969 ct, 1972
4. Incomparable, 890 ct, 1980s(?), Dem. Rep. of Congo
6. Great Mogul, 787 ct, 1650(?), India
7. Woyie River, 770 ct, 1945, S.L.
8. Golden Jubilee, 755.5 ct, 1986, S.A.
9. President Vargas, 726.6 ct, 1938, Brazil
10. Jonker, 726 ct, 1934, S.A.

Turns out that the Lesotho isn't #11--it's around #16 depending on what source you go by.
 

Lanee

Brilliant_Rock
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Jan 29, 2003
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Gentlemen,

This is all so fascinating. I love these posts.
 

shurikt

Rough_Rock
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Nov 4, 2002
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I was just thinking that it would be interesting to read a fictional history of the Great Mogul diamond...

...and then I realized that it would be The Silmarillion and changed my mind.

And if you know what I'm talking about, you're a geek too. hehe.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Typed 'worlds largest diamond' into Google and it pulled up this. It has about 5 of the 10 that LG lists...with pictures! Always fun. Those babies are monsters!! I love to see the uncut rough.

http://www.worlds-largest-diamonds.com/
 

mike04456

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There are scholars who consider most, if not all, of the stories about the Great Mogul to be fictional. About all one can be somewhat sure of is that Jacques Tavernier, the great diamond explorer/scholar, examined the finished diamond in 1655. It has been variously reported to have been anywhere from 188 ct to 280 ct, but as it has not been seen in public almost 300 years, one can only speculate.

Tavernier was told that the rough was 787.5 ct, and this number has come to be accepted. According to the story he was told, the great difference between the rough and finished weight was because of the ineptitude of the cutter, who destroyed most of the rough in trying to polish it. Supposedly Shan Jahan, who owned the diamond, was so upset that he not only refused to pay him, he fined the man his entire fortune. A nice story, but who knows?
 

Lanee

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
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Mara,

Cool link. The Mogul looks cool, like a bowl, is there ay better pics of it, it also looks green to me. Did you notice there is a link "How to retire rich in the Phillipines" at the bottom of the page? I thought that was funny.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Some of those diamonds look odd actually! For example, what is up with the 247 facets or 100+ facet cuts on some of these? Do larger carat weight stones need more facets in order to retain the sparkle? I am completely unfamiliar with 200+ carat stones (heee hee though I wish that were not true), so I don't know if the larger the stone the better it is to have more facets...or if that is just a 'trying to be unique' type feature. Some of the stones look oddly cut as well, the Mogul is one of them.
 

mike04456

Brilliant_Rock
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Normal rules don't apply with rough that big. Suppose you have a 500 ct rough diamond. Do you:

a) break it up into a lot of little pieces and cut 100 one ct H&A rounds
b) cut the largest diamond you can, in whatever shape works, to get yourself and your company into the history books

The largest RB I've ever seen was a paltry 20 ct. Above that level, you almost have to have a custom-designed cut unless you're prepared to give up all kinds of weight. People who cut and own those kinds of diamonds don't care about H&A and conventional notions of brilliance, etc.--they want the biggest diamond they can get.
 
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