The Cullinan was
the largest diamond in the world, being 3.106 carats, and with a weight
of 620 grams before being cut. It was extracted at the Premier Mine, near
Pretoria (South Africa), but was amazingly found literally by accident.
On 20 January 1905 the manager
of the Premiere Premier in Transvaal, doing a routine examination of the
mine discovered by chance a sheen in one of the walls. Using his
tools he began digging and found no more or less than a diamond of
more than half a kilogram of weight, exhibiting an extraordinary purity.
He called this huge diamond the Cullinan, after the actual owner of the
The stone was bought by the
government of Transvaal, at the suggestion of General Louis Botha, the
First Minister, for £150,000 and presented to King Eduardo VII for
his 66th birthday in 1907. Since then the Cullinan has been cut into
a number of smaller pieces, the largest of these being called the Cullinan
I, also known as the Great Star of Africa, and being 530.2 carats (a weight
of 106 grams).
Largest Cut Diamond in
Currently the largest cut
diamond in the world is a Fancy Black which the Guinness Book of Records
reports as being 555.55 carats, commissioned by Ran Gorenstein of Belgium.
Cutting and polishing of this unnamed diamond was completed in June 2004.
The repeated use of the number 5 has special significance in the Muslim
world, there being 5 pillars of Islam (the way of life) and the fact that
Muslims pray to Allah 5 times a day.
Largest Diamond outside the
The biggest diamond ever discovered
completely dwarfs the Cullinan diamond. A white dwarf star called
BPM 37093 was discovered on February 13, 2004. BPM 37093 has a huge
diamond at its heart which is spherical in shape and measures some 4,000
kilometres in diameter. The only problem is that the diamond, which
has been named Lucy, after the famous Beatles song, is approximately 50
light years away from Earth.
Located in the Centaurus constellation, the dead star was originally
the size of the Sun. After exhausting its nuclear fuel it turned
into a white dwarf. When cooling down, the carbon crystallized, transforming
itself into a gigantic diamond. Lucy is estimated to weight 5 million
trillion trillion pounds which makes her 10 billion trillion trillion carats,
in other words a one followed by thirty four zeros!
of Lucy the largest known diamond (click
animation of Lucy the diamond star (5.01 Megabytes, opens in a new
window) showing that although she is hidden inside the core of the white
dwarf BPM 37093, a cut-away view of Lucy would display quite an impressive
Picture and video courtesy
of Christine Pulliam, Travis Metcalfe and Ruth Bazinet from the Harvard-Smithsonian
Center for Astrophysics.
I wonder if I can hitch a
ride in Lucy's direction on a passing UFO?