Early in 2021, a record-breaking diamond was sold in Australia. It was 25.02 carats—the largest diamond ever auctioned in the country, and it sold for a whopping $870,000. But, even at this colossal size, it’s nowhere near the largest diamond ever found.
So what is the biggest diamond in the world? In this article, we’ll take a look at the largest diamond ever found as well as a few of the most famous diamonds in the world.
While you’re here, why not check out our collection of elegant and affordable rings?
Joyce Layered Stack Ring
Charisse Vintage Ring
Midi Knuckle 2-Ring Set
1. The Cullinan Diamond
The largest diamond of gem quality ever mined was the Cullinan Diamond. The Cullinan was found at the Premier No. 2 Mine in Cullinan, South Africa, in 1905. Named after Sir Thomas Cullinan, the Cullinan was a 3106.76-carat rough diamond.
It was bought and presented to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Eventually, it was given to Joseph Asscher & Co.—the same man who invented the famous Asscher cut. In total, the Cullinan was cut into 96 minor stones and nine major stones.
Of the nine major stones, Cullinan I is the world’s biggest clear-cut diamond. The Cullinan I and Cullinan II are mounted in the Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross and Imperial State Crown, respectively—both of which are part of the United Kingdom’s Crown Jewels.
Queen Elizabeth II still owns another seven of the minor diamonds that came from the original Cullinan, weighing a total of 208.29 carats.
In 2015, the second-largest gem-quality diamond was found: the Lesedi La Rona. This rough diamond was 1,111 carats and was discovered by the Lucara Diamond Corp. in northeastern Botswana. This massive diamond was 2.6 inches by 2.2 inches by 1.6 inches when it was mined.
The Lesedi was bought by Graff, a British jeweler, for $53 million in 2017, and it remains one of the world’s most famous diamonds.
Lesedi La Rona means “our light” in the Tswana language of Botswana. In 2019, it was cut into the world’s largest emerald-cut sparkler at 302.37 carats. Along with the large diamond, it was also cut into 66 smaller stones. The main diamond is the largest diamond with the highest clarity and color grading from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).
The Incomparable Diamond really is incomparable. A deep brownish-yellow shade, it was discovered by a Congolese girl in 1989 on a pile of trash. The rough Incomparable Diamond weighed a massive 890 carats and was eventually crafted into a uniquely shaped, 407.48-carat gemstone.
The Incomparable Diamond was the fourth-largest rough diamond when it was found, but more impressively, it’s the largest diamond in the brown color that has ever been discovered.
The cutters of the Incomparable Diamond originally wanted to outdo the colossal 530.2-carat Cullinan I but inevitably decided it would be impossible.
The Incomparable Diamond is now part of the L’Incomparable necklace, created by the Lebanese jeweler Mouawad.
4. The Sewelo
The Sewelo is second in size only to the Cullinan. At 1,758-carats, the Sewelo was discovered in 2019 in Botswana, again by the Lucara Diamond Corp. The Sewelo is the biggest stone ever found in Botswana.
The name Sewelo was decided by a competition held by the Lucara Diamond Co. and means “rare find” in Setswana.
Analysis of the Sewelo gem has shown that it has large regions of high-quality white gem beneath a layer of black carbon. It was bought by Louis Vuitton for an unknown amount “in the millions” and remains to be cut and polished.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond was discovered in 1985 in South Africa and is famous for being the world’s largest faceted diamond. The Golden Jubilee Diamond weighs in at 545.67-carats (even larger than the Cullinan I!) and was blessed by Pope John Paul II.
The Golden Jubilee Diamond was found in the Premier Mine, the same mine in South Africa where the Cullinan was found 80 years prior. It is golden brown and was cut by Gabriel Tolkowsky for the De Beers mining company.
Today, the Golden Jubilee Diamond is part of the Crown Jewels of the Thai royal family.
Will the record ever be broken again?
It’s been well over 100 years since the biggest diamond in the world was discovered. And even after being cut down to a mere 5th of its rough carat weight, the Cullinan remains one of the largest gems in history. Will the record ever be broken?
The biggest diamond to be found since then didn’t even reach one-third of the carat weight of the Cullinan, so it’s hard to be optimistic. Either way, these famous diamonds are something to admire.