The World's Ten Most Valuable Diamonds
This week Georges Marciano, the founder of Guess clothing, spent just over sixteen million dollars (£7,900,000) on a single diamond at a Sotheby's auction in Geneva. The price fell just short of a new world record.
The diamond weighed slightly over 84 carats (nearly 17g), and received the highest possible grading. It is D-colour, or finest white, has flawless clarity, and its cut, polish and symmetry have all been graded 'excellent'.
But while this stone may be the second most expensive diamond in the world, there is a select group that could raise more if they ever went on sale. So where would Georges Marciano's diamond be placed in to our top ten?
10 Fancy Vivid Blue. This 6.04 carat flawless blue diamond sold last month at Sotheby's auction house in Hong Kong, for nearly eight million dollars (£3,890,000). This worked out at more than one and a third million dollars (£644,000) per carat, a new world record.
9 The Taylor-Burton Diamond. It was the jeweller Cartier that first bought this stone when it was auctioned in 1969. But the very next day, film star Richard Burton paid an undisclosed amount of money for the diamond, which he gave to his wife Elizabeth Taylor. In 1979 it was sold to an anonymous buyer in Saudi Arabia for nearly three million dollars (£1,463,000), though it would be worth far more at today's prices.
8 Golden Jubilee Diamond. At 545.7 carats, this is the largest cut diamond in the world. Graded as a 'fancy yellow-brown' colour, it was presented to the King of Thailand in 1997 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of his coronation. Thailand was experiencing economic difficulties at the time so, to avoid accusations of extravagance, the government referred to this stone as a large 'golden topaz'.
7 The Star of the Season. In May 1995, a 100.1 carat pear-shaped diamond went on sale in Switzerland. The stone was free of internal flaws, and its colour was graded 'D', or perfect white. It was bought by Sheikh Ahmed Fitaihi for a world record sixteen and a half million dollars (£8,073,000).
6 The Koh-I-Nor At 105.6 carats, the Koh-I-Nor is set in the Maltese Cross at the front of the crown made for Queen Elisabeth the Queen Mother. Once the largest known diamond in the world, it comes from Golconda in India. Local rulers fought over it for centuries. Eventually, in 1877, it became part of the British Crown Jewels when Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli proclaimed Queen Victoria the 'Empress of India'.
5 Cullinan II (aka The Lesser Star of Africa) Weighing 317.4 carats, this is the third largest polished diamond in the world. It was cut from the Cullinan diamond, the largest rough diamond ever found, which was discovered in South Africa in 1905. It is now part of the British crown jewels, forming part of the Imperial State Crown.
4 The Centenary Diamond. In March 1988, De Beers marked its centenary celebrations by announcing the discovery of a perfectly white rough diamond of 599 carats. But it was not until three years later that the cutting and polishing process was completed. The end result was a diamond weighing over 273 carats, with a record 247 facets.
3 The Hope Diamond. French traveller Jean Baptiste Tavernier brought this steel blue stone back from India in the seventeenth century, before selling it to King Louis XIV. Following the French Revolution, it disappeared for two decades, before being purchased by English banker Henry Thomas Hope. It passed through several sets of hands until the jeweller Harry Winston bought it in 1949, and gave it to the Smithsonian Institute. At 45 carats, it is the largest dark blue diamond in the world.
2 The Millenium Star. In 2000, De Beers and the Steinmetze Group put the 'Millenium Star' on display at the Millennium Dome in London. Within months, this 203.4 carat, flawless D-colour diamond was the target of a daring attempted robbery. Police seized the villains, which is lucky since the diamond had an insured value of no less than one hundred million pounds (USD 205,000,000). This valuation may well be an under-estimate.
1 Cullinan I (aka The Great Star of Africa) Discovered in South Africa in 1905, The Great Star of Africa is the largest polished stone to be cut from the legendary Cullinan Diamond. Weighing 530.2 carats, it is now on display in the Tower of London, where it is mounted in the Crown Jewels at the head of the sceptre. It is literally impossible to put a value on it.