- The Cullinan Diamond, weighing 3,106 carats in its rough state, was first discovered in 1905 at a mine near Pretoria in South Africa
- It was originally thrown away as it was thought it to be too large to be a diamond
- Once recovered, it was presented to King Edward VII as a gift and cuts were used in the Crown Jewels
- Other cuts were used to make brooches, necklaces and earrings worn by royalty including Queen Elizabeth II throughout her 60-year reign
- Seven of the nine cuts of the gem are to go on public display at Buckingham Palace this summer to celebrate Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Of all the celebrations planned for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it is perhaps the most fitting.
Stunning jewels created from the largest diamond ever found are to be collected together in public for the first time in a unique exhibition at Buckingham Palace.
They include a brooch containing gems weighing 94.4 carats and 63.3 carats and another heart-shaped piece featuring an 18.8 carat jewel.
Cullinan III and IV Brooch: The third and fourth largest of the gems – a pear-shaped drop of 94.4 carats (III) and the cushion-shaped 63.3 carat IV – were originally placed by Queen Mary on her new crown in 1911. The stones were most often worn hooked together as a pendant brooch..
Cullinan V Brooch This heart-shaped stone weighs 18.8 carats and is mounted in a fine radiating platinum web with a scrolling millegrain and pave-set border of brilliant diamonds. The mounting of the jewel was designed to be as adaptable as possible and was most often worn by Queen Mary (and now by The Queen) as a brooch.
It also forms the detachable centre section of the diamond and emerald stomacher made for Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in 1911 and has been worn suspended from the Cullinan VIII Brooch
All the items – worn regularly by the Queen over the past six decades – use gems cut from the incomparable Cullinan Diamond.
And the priceless collection’s history is all the more incredible given the history behind the stone.
When the diamond was mined in 1905, it looked nothing more than a worthless crystal – so much so that the manager of the Premier mine near Pretoria, South Africa, threw it out as rubbish.
It was only on closer inspection that staff were persuaded the piece of rock could be a genuine diamond. In fact it turned out to be three times larger than anything discovered before.