The Cullinan Diamond is the largest rough gem-quality diamond ever found, at 3,106.75 carats (621.35 g or 1.3698 pounds). It was found by Frederick Wells, surface manager of the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, Gauteng, South Africa, on January 25, 1905. The stone was named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the owner of the diamond mine.
Sir William Crookes performed an analysis of the Cullinan diamond and mentioned among others its remarkable clarity but also a black spot in the middle. The colors around the black spot were very vivid and changed as the analyzer was turned. According to Crookes this pointed to severe internal strain. Such strains are not uncommon for diamonds, and have actually been addressed in causing diamonds to explode when reaching the surface, or even in the pockets of the miners due to the exposure to the miner's body warmth.
The major event of gem history in the year 1908 was the cutting at Amsterdam of the great Cullinan diamond, destined to become the bright jewel in the British crown. In this connection it may be stated that said crown was already of great weight-thirty-nine ounces and five pennyweights-a handicap that His Majesty King Edward VII probably does not relish on the rare state occasions when he must submit to having it rest upon his head, as, for example, when it becomes his annual royal duty and prerogative to formally open Parliament. The crown, which usually rests in the Tower of London, contained, prior to additions from the Cullinan Diamond, two thousand eight hundred and eighty diamonds and two hundred and ninety-seven pearls, many many other rare and exquisite jewels. Before its eclipse by the Cullinan Diamond, the chief gem ornamenting the crown was a ruby, valued according to an estimate at about $ 500,000; This famous gem is the one presented to the Black Prince by Spain, in the year 1367, and was worn by Henry V in his helmet at the battle of Agincourt.
The royal regalia are safely deposited in a chamber of the Wakefield Tower in the Tower of London. The valuable addition resulting from the partitions of the Cullinan Diamond added nothing to the precedcies against theft which previously existed. The crown jewels are thoroughly lighted and guarded by night and by day, never, for an instant, being exempt from the scrutiny of armed and uniform sentries. The jewels are kept in a glass case within a double cage of steel, and cleaned semi-annually under the supervision of high officers of the British realm. The Cullinan Diamonds were on November 1, 1908, delivered to their Majesties, King Edward and Queen Alexandra, at Windsor Castle by Mr. Joseph Asscher of the Amsterdam firm which successfully cut the famous stone. Two secret service men of the Holland government, accompanied by several Scotland Yard detectives, guarded Mr. Asscher's every movement against the possible attacks of thieves. In the following month the Cullinans were transported to the Tower by a closely guarded royal messenger in a motor car, and placed with the regalia near a model of the Kohinoor. Since then the British public and visitors from all parts of the world have curiously viewed the famous gems.
There was disappointment among the diamond cutters and in the gem trade in England when it was decided to send the Cullinan Diamond to Amsterdam to be cut; the great distinction was conferred upon the house of J. Asscher & Co., of Amsterdam and Paris, who "fabriek," or factory factory is in the Tulp Straat or "Tol-straat," as it is sometimes written, of Holland's capital. The stone was delivered to the Amsterdam firm in January, 1908, where for nine months it was kept in the vault, of which the walls of concrete and steel are over two feet thick. On February 10th the stone was split by Mr. Joseph Asscher under the oversight of Messrs. MJ Levy & Nephews, precious stone experts, retained to additionally assure the best scientific methods in the operations in which so vast a sum in values was involved. The stone was first cleft in two pieces by Mr. Asscher in such a way that a defective spot in the diamond was exactly in the center, leaving a part of it on each piece of the stone. Subsequently the larger of these two pieces was split.
Source by Mayline C. Homecillo