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Kohinoor
Origin: India ~1304 AD
Weight: 108.93 carats
Current Location:  England (Royal Crown)

Historical Perspective: Kohinoor means "mountain
of light" and it was thought that whoever possessed
it would rule the world.  It is regarded as one of the
most famous diamonds in history.  The British
empire took possession of this gem in 1849 during
its conquest of India and it was presented to Queen
Victoria in 1850.  Today is remains part of the Royal
Crown jewels, but not without controversy as to why
it has not been returned to India .The stone is set in the
Maltese Cross at the front of the crown made for
Queen Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother).
The Kohinoor
Cullinan II (Lesser Star of Africa)
Origin: South Africa 1905
Weight: 317.4 carats
Current Location: England (Royal Crown)

Historical Perspective: Cullinan II, also referred to
as the Lesser Star of Africa, is the third largest
known cut diamond in existence. It is part of The
Cullinan which was a massive 3,106 carats (uncut)
diamond discovered in the Premier Mine of South
Africa in 1905.  This diamond was ultimately cleaved
into 9 large pieces of which the Cullinan I and II are
the largest. The stone is set in Queen Elizabeth II's
Imperial State Crown of Great Britain
The Cullinan
Cullinan I (Greater Star of Africa)
Origin: South Africa 1905
Weight: 530.2 carats
Current Location:  England (Royal Crown)

Historical Perspective: Cullinan I, also referred to as
the Greater Star of Africa, is the second largest
known cut diamond in existence.  It is actually part of
The Cullinan which was a massive 3,106 carats
(uncut) diamond discovered in the Premier Mine of
South Africa in 1905.  This diamond was ultimately
cleaved into 9 large pieces of which the Cullinan I
and II are the largest. The stone is set in the Royal
Scepter and is part of the British Royal Jewelry
Collection
The Cullinan II
Centenary
Origin: South Africa 1986
Weight: 273.85 carats
Current Location: Unknown

Historical Perspective:  The discovery of this original
gem was made in 1986 in the Premier Mine of
South Africa.  Also, the discovery site of The
Cullinan.  It was unveiled at the 100 year anniversary
gala of De Beers in 1988 after having been crafted
into its current cut appearance by Gabi Tolkowsky.  
Regarded as one of the most accomplished
diamond cutters in the world, his family had long
been in the diamond trade.  It was his great-uncle,
Marcel Tolkowsky, diamond expert and
mathematician, who authored the publication
Diamond Design in 1919 that is still today's basis
for round brilliant diamond cuts.
The Centenary
Blue Hope
Origin: India  ~1668 AD
Weight: 45.52 carats
Current Location: Washington D.C. (Smithsonian)

Historical Perspective:  Blue Hope Diamond is one
of the most notorious diamonds.  It was once
owned by Louis XIV and was officially designated
"the blue diamond of the crown."  It was stolen
during the French revolution and turned up in
London in 1830.  Henry Philip Hope, after whom it is
currently named, bought the diamond. During
possession by the Hope family, it acquired its
reputation for bad luck.  His family died in poverty. A
similar misfortune occurred to a later owner, Mr.
Edward McLean.  The Hope was acquired from the
McLean estate by Harry Winston, Inc. and ultimately
donated to the Smithsonian Institution in
Washington.
The Hope Diamond
Golden Jubilee
Origin: South Africa 1985
Weight: 545.67 carats
Current Location: Thailand

Historical Perspective:  The Golden Jubilee is the
largest faceted diamond in the world and was
designed by Gabi Tolkowsky, who also designed
the Centenary Diamond(see above). It was
presented to the King of Thailand in 1997 for his
Golden Jubilee - the 50th anniversary of his
coronation. Prior to this, the stone was simply
known as the Unnamed Brown and does not get the
publicity because of it is a fancy (colored)
yellow-brown diamond, but nonetheless it is the
largest known cut diamond.
The Golden Jubilee
The Taylor-Burton
Carat Weight: 69.42 carats
Color: F-G
Clarity: IF
Cut: Pear Shape
Source: Premier Mine, Transvaal, South Africa

This stone was found in 1966 in South Africa. The rough
stone, that weighed 240.80 carats, was cut into a 69.42
carats pear shape diamond.

This diamond was sold at auction in 1969 with the
understanding that it could be named by the buyer.
Cartier of New York successfully bid for it and
immediately named it "Cartier." However, the next day
Richard Burton bought the stone as a gift for Elizabeth
Taylor for an undisclosed sum, renaming it the
"Taylor-Burton." After Burton's death in 1979, Elizabeth
Taylor sold the stone for charity and reportedly received
$2.8 million. She donated this sum in memory of Richard
Burton to a hospital in Botswana. It was last reported to
be in Saudi Arabia
.
The Taylor-Burton
The Regent
Carat Weight: 140.50 carats
Cut: Cushion Shaped Brilliant
Source: India

A truly historic diamond discovered in 1701 by an Indian
slave near Golconda. It once weighed 410 carats in the
rough. It was one of the largest diamonds found in India.

Once owned by William Pitt, the English Prime Minister
and after that it was called "The Pitt". It was sent to
England where it was cut into a cushion shaped brilliant
of 140.50 carats. Of all the larger diamonds known
throughout the world the Regent Diamond is considered
the finest and most beautiful diamond in the world.

In 1717, the diamond was sold $500,000 to the Duke of
Orleans, Regent of France when Louis XV was a boy. It
was then renamed "The Regent" and set in the crown
Louis XV wore at his coronation. Louis XVI and Marie
Antoinette wore the diamond separately. He wore it on
his crown and she wore it on her hat. After the French
revolution, it was owned by Napoleon Bonaparte who set
it in the hilt of his sword. When he went to exile, Marie
Louis, his second wife, gave it to her father. Her father
was the Emperor of Austria, he returned it to French
Crown Jewels.

When the Germans invaded Paris in 1940 the diamond
was sent out of the country, when the war ended it was
returned. During World War II, the Regent was hidden
from Hitler's armies behind a stone fireplace in the
Chateau Chambord. It is now on display in the Louvre,
Paris.
The Regent
The Orloff
Carat Weight: 189.62 carats
Color: Slightly Bluish Green
Clarity: Exceptionally Pure
Cut: Mogul-Cut Rose
Source: India

The Orloff is thought to have weighed about 300 carats
when it was found. There are so many historical
episodes involved with this diamond. As per first tale, the
Orloff was set as the eye of Vishnu's idol (one of the
Hindu Gods) in the innermost sanctuary temple in
Sriangam and was stolen in the year 1700 by a French
deserter disguised as a Hindu. However, the deserter
just dug one eye from its socket, because he was
terror-stricken at the thought of retribution, so he couldn't
take the other. He went to Madras, and sold the stone
quickly to an English sea-captain for 2,000 pounds.

After many years, the stone arrived at Amsterdam where
the Russian count Grigori Orloff, an ex-lover of Empress
Catherine the Great was residing. He heard about
rumors of the stone, and he bought the diamond for
90,000 pounds and took it back to Russia for Catherine's
favor. The stone has been called the Orloff since then.
Catherine received his gift and had it mounted in the
Imperial Scepter. She gave a marble palace to Grigori
Orloff in exchange for the Orloff diamond. However,
Grigori couldn't get Catherine's love. Grigori Orloff
passed away at the nadir of disappointment in 1783.

In 1812 the Russians, fearing that Napoleon with his
Grand Army was about to enter Moscow, hid the Orloff in
a priest's tomb. Napoleon supposedly discovered the
Orloff's location and went to claim it. However, as a
solider of the Army was about to touch the Orloff, a
priest's ghost appeared and pronounced a terrible curse
upon the Army. Napoleon scampered away without the
Orloff.
The Orloff