Lifestyle Magazine

The White Whale of Flawless Diamonds

By Raymondleejewelers @raymondleejwlrs

Ahab’s Got Nothing On Harry

Harry Winston Legacy Diamond

The Harry Winston Legacy diamond

On March 15, 2013, the largest, perfectly-colored, flawless white diamond ever to reach the open market was presented by Christie’s at a Geneva auction. Prior to the auction, it was generally believed the diamond would sell for around $20 million (1). The assumption was based on the fact that the diamond of conversation is twice the size of another that sold for $9 million a few months earlier. That diamond was a mere 50 carats.

As the dust settled, Harry Winston Inc. was the last buyer standing. In the boldest move the corporation has made since its founder (Harry Winston of course!) donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian for, ”the American people,” H.W.I. outlasted the competition with an astounding $27 million bid. The 101.73 cetacean is now referred to as the ”Winston Legacy” diamond.

Other Great Whites

Choosing the greatest white diamond is impossible, but there are a few criteria that may narrow down the candidates. It must be over 100 carats (size matters) and it must have been discovered more than 50 years ago and have been lost or stolen at least once (it must have an old story).

As such, the following are the five greatest white diamonds in the world today.

Orlov – Folklore says the diamond was stolen by a Frenchman who sought refuge with the British Army after having deserted the French forces, converted to Hindu, worshiped for many years at the temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy and finally gained access to the temple statue of which the diamond served as a deity’s eye.

After a long journey from the hands of one merchant to another, the stone ended up in the hands of Grigory Grigorievich who had a long standing affair with Catherine the Great of Russia. He eventually overthrew her husband in a coup and put her in power. Catherine eventually left him for another Grigory (Potemkin) and so Orlov gave her the stone in an attempt to buy her love.

Catherine didn’t want his love, but she took the stone and it still resides in the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin. It is almost exactly 100 carats in weight.

Catherine the Great wears the Orlov Diamond

Catherine the Great rocking the Orlov diamond

Nazim – Said to have been 340 carats, the Nazim is from the Kollur Mine in Southern India, the same mine that produced the Tavernier Blue which was later cut and became renamed the Hope Diamond.

The Nazim’s whereabouts are unknown, it’s weight is actually a guess-timate and it is assumed that it was named after Prince Nazim of Hyderabad… if it ever existed.

Koh-i-Noor – This 105 carat diamond has been part of at least six Indian Dynasties, several Afghan Empires and the British Empire. The first time it was mentioned in written history was in 1526, though the tales go that it first appeared in the hands of an Afghan Emperor in 1294.

This diamond has been associated with awful betrayals, one after another. Sons imprisoning fathers, generals usurping kings, fathers overthrown by their sons, empires betrayed by allies, the diamond always a spoil of war. By the time it reached the British took possession of the diamond — in another act of betrayal — it was carrying a terrible curse.

koh i noor british crown

Cullinan I & II – The Cullinan rough diamond was found laying on the ground in 1905 by the supervisor of the Premier Mine in South Africa as he walked around after the work day. At the time of it’s discovery, it was the largest uncut diamond ever unearthed. It was later cut into nine stones, I being the name of the largest, IX being the name of the smallest.

A fake gem was put on a steamboat from South Africa to England under heavily armed guard in order to lure in potential thieves. The actually Cullinan was sent by registered mail.

Jubilee (Reitz) - A massive diamond at 245 carats, it’s the sixth largest cut diamond in the world and the second largest white diamond. Found at the end of the 19th Century in South Africa. It’s history is boring, aristocratic and snobby. The stone has never been on an adventure, but it’s old and grand.

jubilee diamond

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