Loose diamonds have been around for many centuries, and have intrigued people of every country and continent. Some of the most famous have been the catalyst behind theft, and even murder.
One of the first, and most famous loose diamonds, was the Koh-I-Noor, which means Mountain of Light. Historians found mention of it as far back as 1304. This loose diamond weighed a heavy 186 carats and its cut was oval. A part of the British monarch, the Koh-I-Noor was thought to have once been a decorative part of Shah Jehan’s peacock throne. The loose diamond served as an eye of the peacock. It was recut during Queen Victoria’s reign and still resides in the UK, along with other valuables of the British Crown. Its current weight is 108.93 carats.
The largest ever of any of the loose diamonds was called the Cullinan. It weighed almost two pounds when first discovered, and in the rough was 3,106 carats. From the Cullinan nine major loose diamonds were created, and 96 other smaller loose diamonds used as gemstones. One of the most famous of these resulting diamonds, and the largest, was The Star of Africa, another current member of the jewels of the British Crown. The Star of Africa has 74 facets, weighs more than 530 carats and is currently the world’s largest cut diamond.
The Excelsior is the second largest of the loose diamonds ever found, with a rough weight of slightly more than 995 carats.
The Great Mogul, which, unfortunately, has disappeared, was found in the 1800’s. It was named after the creator of the Taj Mahal, Shah Jehan. It was reported to have weighed a large 793 carats.
The Blue Hope is the most notorious of any of the famous loose diamonds. It was once the property of Louis XIV, with a designation as the British Crown’s blue diamond. The Blue Hope was stolen during the time of the French Revolution, although it was later found in 1830 in London. Henry Philip Hope then purchased this loose diamond, after which it came to be known. What made it most notorious, however, is that it came to be considered bad luck because all of the Hope family died in poverty, as did Edward McLean, who subsequently owned it. The diamond is now the property of the Smithsonian Institution.