Largest Diamond in the World

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 mine.

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 the World

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 world 

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!

Picture of Lucy the largest known diamond (click to enlarge).

Video 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 sparkle!

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?

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