The 26th of January, 1905 at the Premier mine near Pretoria, South Africa, the largest gem-quality diamond was discovered, the Cullinan Diamond (the Great Star of Africa). The Cullinan was cut into 7 main stones and 96 smaller stones. Edward VII owned the Cullinan I and Cullinan and the remainder of the seven larger stones and the 96 smaller stones continued in the possession of the Dutch diamond cutting establishment, until the South African Government bought these stones and the High Commissioner of the Union of South Africa presented them to Queen Mary.
The largest of the Cullinan diamonds is the Cullinan I. This diamond is pear shaped and 530.2 carat. Another term for the diamond is the Great Star of Africa. It may also be hung as the pendant, on its own or from Cullinan II in a brooch. For this purpose the diamonds have both been fitted with two tiny platinum loops on the edges.
The Second Star of Africa, Cullinan II, weighs 317.4 carats and is rectangular cushion cut.
Weighing 94.4 carats, the Cullinan III is pear cut shaped and is also known as one of the Lesser Stars of Africa.
Weighing 63.6 carats, the Cullinan IV is square cushion cut. Collectively, Cullinan III and Cullinan IV are affectionately known as ‘Granny’s Chips’, by Queen Elizabeth II and are worn as a brooch. The Queen has worn the brooch no more than six or seven times in public during her reign.
Cullinan V is heart cut and weighs 18.8 carats. It is set in the center of a brooch forming a part of the stomacher of the diamond. The brooch was designed to show off Cullinan V and has a large number of smaller stones surrounding it. The brooch can also be attached to Cullinans VI and VII to become a large stomacher, often worn by Queen Mary.
Cullinan VI is also marquise cut and weighs 8.8 carats. It hangs from the brooch containing Cullinan VIII and along with Cullinan VIII can also be fitted together to make yet another brooch, surrounded by roughly 96 smaller diamonds. The design was created around the same time that the Cullinan V heart shaped brooch was designed, with them both having a similar shape.
Cullinan VII is marquise cut and weighs 11.5 carats.
The Cullinan VIII is set in the center of a brooch and is cushion cut with a weight of 6.8 carats. Together with the Cullinan VI it forms a brooch. Queen Elizabeth II inherited this brooch in 1953.
The Cullinan IX is the final large diamond to be obtained for the Cullinan. This diamond is pear cut and weighs 4.4 carats. It is set in a platinum ring, known as the Cullinan IX Ring.