The largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered in the history of mankind and roughly weighing in at 3106.75 carat is called The Cullinan Diamond. The diamond was found in 1905 the 26th of January the Premier No. 2 mine, near Pretoria, South Africa. The largest dimension of The Cullinan Diamond was roughly 10.5 cm (4.1 inches). Cullinan 1 or the Great Star of Africa is the name referred to the largest polished gem from the stone.
Premier Mine was South Africa’s most productive mine early 1900’s and one of the men in charge of site and operation, Captain Frederick Wells, was the person who found this spectacular diamond during his daily inspection of the mines on the 26th January 1905. The story of this discovery reveals that Captain Frederick Wells saw a flash of light, reflected by the sun on the wall of the shaft while completing his daily rounds. It was only when he moved closer to the shaft that he could see slightly exposed crystal, implanted in the rock. Thinking it was a practical joke by one of the miners, he used his pocket knife to extract the diamond that was pronounced twice the size of any diamond previously discovered.
Captain Wells took the diamond to Sir William Crookes where it was analysed. The stone was instantaneously named in honour of Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of Premier Mine, who had discovered the mine after many years of unsuccessful exploring. The analysis of the Cullinan Diamond indicated that it was comprised of amazing clarity but also did contain a black spot. A black spot in a diamond is not unusual, it simply implies that the diamond encountered internal strain; due to the fact that one side of the diamond was perfectly smooth implies that the stone had originally been part of a much larger diamond, that had been broken up by natural forces. Understandably the discovery became a global responsiveness, with the developments being followed eagerly by the press.
Captain Wells was presented with ₤3,500 for his diamond discovery. The Transvaal government bought the diamond for ₤150,000 involving an insurance sum of ten times the buying price.
The Prime Minister Botha suggested that the diamond be presented to King Edward VII as ‘a token of the loyalty and attachment of the people of Transvaal to his throne and person’. A vote was performed which would act as the final verdict as to what should be done with the diamond. The final vote was 42 against and 19 in favour. The journey to England posed a few challenges for the people responsible for transportation due to the immense value of the Cullinan Diamond. After implementing several tactic strategies and various plans, the Cullinan arrived safely in England where Transvaal government agents in London travelled by train to Sandringham, Norfolk and merely escorted by 2 qualified Scotland Yard policemen. They reached their destination out of harm’s way, despite reports of a potential robbery looming. The diamond was presented to the king on his birthday, in the presence of a large crowd of people.
The Cullinan Diamond measurements:
At 1 1/3 lbs, 3 7/8 inches long, 2 1/4 inches wide and 2 5/8 inches high