The Five Largest Diamonds of All Time

When it comes to diamonds, some say it’s okay to throw rocks at girls. Because let’s face it, they may be the hardest substance on Earth, but they’re not really rocks. They’re more like beautiful, mysterious pebbles that cost a fortune and have the power to reflect and refract light in a thousand different directions.

But what about the ones that really are the size of rocks? We’re talking about diamonds so huge that even the wealthiest of celebrities would look ridiculous trying to pull off as an engagement ring. These are the stones that should never be thrown – no matter what material one’s house is made of. Here are the five largest diamonds of all time.

5. The Incomparable Diamond – 890 carats

Back in the 1980s, when the Democratic Republic of Congo was called Zaire, the Incomparable Diamond was found in a mining town called Mbuji Mayi. Next to the MIBA diamond mine, a small girl was playing in some rubble that was cast aside from the mine – having been deemed too bulky to scan for diamonds. In this rubble, the girl found an 890-carat diamond, which she gave to her uncle. Her uncle sold it to a couple of local diamond dealers, and the rough stone passed through the hands of several major players from Lebanon, to Antwerp, to Dallas, to New York, and eventually to Washington D.C., where it was displayed at the Smithsonian. From there, experts spent four years studying and cutting the diamond. The rough stone was eventually cut into 15 separate diamonds, with the main stone weighing in at 407.48 carats.

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4. Star of Sierra Leone – 969 carats Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 7.25.25 PM

Discovered on Valentine’s Day of 1973 in the Diminco mine of Sierra Leone, the Star of Sierra Leone is the largest alluvial diamond ever found. This means that the diamond was transported from its original source by natural erosive processes over millions of years and deposited into a new environment. The diamond was originally bought by Harry Winston for just under $2.5 million and cut into a single 143-carat emerald cut diamond. However, due to an internal flaw in the stone, it was decided that the stone should be cut into 17 smaller stones, 13 of which are considered to be internally flawless. Eventually, Harry Winston decided to set 6 of the stones into the “Star of Sierra Leone” brooch.

3. Excelsior Diamond 995.2 carats

The Excelsior diamond was found in 1863 in South Africa by a mine worker as he was shoveling gravel into a truck. The miner took the diamond to the mine manager and was rewarded with 500 British pounds and a horse. The diamond was discovered around the same time as the Jubilee diamond (different from the Golden Jubilee), and although the Jubilee weighed only 650 carats, it overshadowed the Excelsior due to the fact that the Excelsior diamond was deemed too large and too perfect for any prospective buyer…hard to imagine, right? For this reason, the diamond was cut into ten smaller stones. At the time, Alpheus F. Williams, the general manager of De Beers claimed it was “the greatest tragedy of modern times in the history of famous diamonds.”

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2. Cullinan Diamond – 3106.75 carats

Also discovered in South Africa, and named after the owner of the mining company, the Cullinan diamond is the largest rough stone ever unearthed. It was found as the superintendent of the mine was doing a routine inspection – when all of a sudden, a glimmer in the wall of the mine caught his eye as the stone reflected the faint light of the setting sun. The rough stone was eventually cut into 103 smaller stones, the largest of which weighs 530.2 carats and is affectionately called the Star of Africa. Also known as Cullinan I, this stone was placed in the Sovereign Royal Scepter. Likewise, Cullinans II-IX have been set into various pieces that belong to the British Crown Jewels or are otherwise possessed by the Royal Family.

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1. The Golden Jubilee – 755.5 carats

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “According to the headings listed, the Golden Jubilee is actually the smallest of these five diamonds.” And indeed, in its rough form, this stone was much smaller than the previous four stones. However, as a cut and polished gem-quality stone, this fire rose cushion cut (originally known as the “Unnamed Brown”) weighs in at 545.67 carats, just 15 carats larger than the Star of Africa. Due to a number of inclusions and deep cracks in the stone, the Golden Jubilee had to be cut in a room that was specially designed underground to be free from vibrations. It has been blessed by Pope John Paul II, the Supreme Imam in Thailand, and the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch. It is currently located in the Royal Thai Palace and is undeniably the most prized possession of the Thai Crown Jewels.

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