The Cullinan I Diamond is also known as the Star of Africa diamond. It is the
largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found and largest cut diamond in the world. The stones is pear shaped with 74 facets
and currently set in the Royal Scepter (Sceptre with the Cross).
Found by Thomas Evan Powell in Transvaal, South Africa in 1905 during an inspection
tour of the Premier Mine. The diamond was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan the owner of the diamond mine. The original crystal
was approximately 3,106-carats.
The stone was purchased by the Transvaal government and presented to King Edward
VII for his birthday. The Cullinan was cut by Joseph Asscher and Company of Amsterdam. Asscher Brothers of Amsterdam
examined the enormous crystal for around six months before determining how to divide
the diamond. It was first cut into three parts then eventually 9 major stones and 96 smaller brilliant cut stones.
King Louis XV, in 1749, had the stone reset by the court jeweler Andre Jacquemin, in a piece of ceremonial
jewelry for the Order of the Golden Fleece (Toison D'Or). In 1791, after an attempt by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to flee France, the
jewels of the French Royal Treasury were turned over to the new government. During a week-long looting of the crown jewels in September of
1792, the French Blue diamond was stolen. A deep blue diamond described by John Francillion as weighing 177 grains (4 grains = 1 carat)
was documented as being in the possession of London diamond merchant, Daniel Eliason, in 1812. Strong evidence indicates that the stone was acquired by
King George IV of England. At his death, in 1830, the King's debts were so enormous that the blue diamond was likely sold through private channels.
There are rumors that when the stone was initially discovered it was part of a larger
crystal. This second part has still yet to be found and mined. Other claims state the diamond was broken off before selling it to
Sir Thomas Cullinan. It was supposedly sized at 1,500 to 2,000 carats. However, this is not known factually.