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The Biggest Diamond Ever Found Weighed The Same As 7,692 Bees

Or the weight of a basketball if that is easier to imagine.


Eleanor Higgs


Eleanor Higgs

Creative Services Assistant

Eleanor is a content creator and social media assistant with an undergraduate degree in zoology and a master’s degree in wildlife documentary production.

Creative Services Assistant

The uncut Cullinan Diamond on the left and then the nine cut diamonds it became shown on the right on a black background.

The uncut Cullinan Diamond became nine incredible gemstones.

Image Credit: Plate I and X, The Cullinan (1908). Public Domain.

The largest rough diamond ever found is known as the Cullinan Diamond and its story is pretty interesting. Found in South Africa in 1905, this whopper of a gemstone weighed 3,106 carats and was 10.1 x 6.35 x 5.9 centimeters when it was first found. To put this in context the diamond weighed 621 grams or 1.3 pounds, roughly the same as a basketball, or 7,692 bees. 

In 1905, Frederick Wells, who was the superintendent at Premier Mine in Pretoria, South Africa, saw the diamond while performing an inspection. Sir Thomas Cullinan who owned the mine, was given the diamond and the diamond was given his name. While the diamond was put up for sale nobody bought it until 1907. 


The diamond was eventually purchased by the Transvaal Colony government and gifted to King Edward VII of England. However this massive gemstone was thought too big to be kept in its found form so was sent to be cut by a company, Joseph Asscher & Co. in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. 

The Cullinan Diamond was then cut into nine big separate stones, numbered I-IX as well as many smaller stones. The first stone, known as Cullinan I is also known as the Great Star of Africa and weighs 530.2 carats or 106 grams alone, the same weight as 32 tea bags. 

Nine diamond pieces before being cut and polished.
The original diamond was separated into nine smaller pieces.
Image Credit: Plate III, The Cullinan (1908). Public Domain

So where are these nine giant diamonds now? Well, all the nine major stones still belong to the British Royal Family. Cullinan I is set into the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross, part of the British Crown Jewels, and featured in the coronation of King Charles III recently. Most of the others are set into various pieces of jewelry such as brooches and state jewels like the Delhi Durbar necklace that features Cullinan VII and VIII. 

Interestingly there is a slightly larger diamond called the Enigma Diamond, that is not considered gemstone quality that weighs 555.55 carats or 111 grams and is believed to have come from a meteorite that hit Earth 2.6 billion years ago. Or if you fancy some gold or silver to go with your gemstones, check out these impressive discoveries.


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