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The Cullinan Diamond: The Sparkle in the English Crown Jewels and More

The Cullinan I, a.k.a. the "Star of Africa"

The Cullinan I, a.k.a. the "Star of Africa"

Fun Facts About the Cullinan Diamond

 

  • Sir Thomas Cullinan holding the rough, pre-cut diamond

    Sir Thomas Cullinan holding the rough, pre-cut diamond

    The giant Cullinan is one of the most famous and the largest diamond in the world. The Cullinan weighed a massive 3,106 carats as a rough diamond crystal. The rough diamond was 10 cm long, 6 cm high and 5 cm thick.

  • The Cullinan Diamond was named after Thomas Cullinan (later Sir Thomas) who was a South African businessman. Thomas Cullinan was a successful Johannesburg building contractor and amateur geologist. Thomas became interested in the area because of the alluvial diamonds that were being found in nearby stream.
  • The Cullinan diamond was discovered at the Premier Diamond Mine in 1905. Mr. Frederick Wells, the superintendent of the Premier Mine found the crystal when he was making a routine inspection of the mine, eighteen feet below the ground. Frederick Wells received 3,500 pounds as a reward.
  • The Cullinan was sold to the Transvaal government for £150,000 who presented it to King Edward VII on his 66th birthday on November 9th, 1907.
  • King Edward VII entrusted Abraham and Joseph Asscher, of the famous Royal Asscher Diamond Company in Amsterdam, with cutting the giant stone which was finally finished in 1908.
  • The Asscher brothers studied the giant sized rough diamond for three months before making the final decision of where the diamond should be cut.
  • Joseph Asscher preparing to cut the Cullinan Diamond

    Joseph Asscher preparing to cut the Cullinan Diamond

    On February 10, 1908 Joseph Asscher prepared himself for the greatest responsibility of his life – the cleaving of the giant Cullinan rough diamond. The tension, pressure and stress on Joseph Asscher can hardly be imagined. He was responsible for cutting the biggest and most expensive diamond in the world and a mistake in this task would, literally, cost a fortune.

  • Joseph Asscher placed the cleaving blade at the prearranged point of the diamond and struck the blade with his hammer. To his horror the cleaving blade broke. Thankfully, the diamond was unharmed. A special, extra large, cleaving blade was obtained. The second attempt was understandably even more tense than the first. Failure was unthinkable. Joseph Asscher struck the rough diamond again but this time it split perfectly into three large sections. These sections were closely studied and then divided into nine principal diamonds and approximately 100 smaller ones.
  • Imperial State Crown

    Imperial State Crown

    The nine principal diamonds today are found in either in the British Regalia, the English Crown Jewels, or in the personal possession of the British Royal Family.

  • After cutting the giant rough Cullinan diamond the following stones were created each being given different numbers according to their diminishing weights. Facts and information about each of the diamonds are listed below together with details of their current mountings:
    • The Cullinan I aka “the Star of Africa” cut into a pear shape and weighing 530.20 carats is set in the Royal Sceptre
    • The Cullinan II in the center-front of the Imperial State Crown of Great Britain was cut into a cushion shape and weighing 317.40 carats is mounted in the band of the Imperial State Crown
    • The Cullinan III (bottom) and Cullinan IV (top)

      The Cullinan III (bottom) and Cullinan IV (top)

      The Cullinan III is cut into a pear shape and weighing 94.40 carats is mounted in the finial (an ornament projecting as a round or oval shape ) of Queen Mary’s Crown. It can also be worn as a pendant-brooch

    • The Cullinan IV is set in the band of Queen Mary’s crown after being cut into a square cushion shape and weighing 63.60 carats. It can also be worn as a pendant-brooch
    • The Cullinan V was originally mounted in a brooch for Queen Mary but now used as a replacement for the Koh-i-Noor diamond which was used in a new crown made for Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother) in 1937. It was cut into a heart shape and weighs 18.50 carats
    • The Cullinan VI is set in a diamond and emerald necklace was cut into a marquise shape and weighing 11.50 carats
    • The Cullinan VII is mounted as a pendant drop on a diamond brooch, cut into a marquise shape and weighing 8.80 carats
    • The Cullinan VIII was cut into a rectangular cushion and weighing 6.80 carats. It is mounted as the centre diamond on the same brooch as the Cullinan VII
    • The Cullinan IX

      The Cullinan IX

      The Cullinan IX was cut into a pear shape, weighing 4.39 carats and set in a ring.

  • The Premier Diamond mine in South Africa, where the Cullinan diamond was found, is situated on an ancient diamond-bearing kimberlite pipe. The pipe is a carrot-shaped volcanic neck originating from great depths within the Earth and is the largest in South Africa.
  • Diamonds are formed when extreme heat and extreme pressure cause carbon atoms to crystallize forming diamonds approximately ninety miles under the earth’s surface. Diamonds reach the surface of the earth via volcanic pipes, or channels.
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St. Lucia: Jewel of the Caribbean

St. Lucia

St. Lucia

Fun Facts About St. Lucia

 

  • St Lucia is the second largest of the Windward Islands located in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
  • On February 22, 1979, St Lucia gained independence from Great Britain
  • The island was created because of volcanic activity and is 43 km (27 miles) long and 23 km (14 miles) wide.
  • In recent years, St. Lucia has mainly been engaged in the export of bananas, clothing, vegetables, cacao and coconuts. In the past, St. Lucia’s biggest cultivation was of sugarcane, which was replaced by the cultivation of banana during the mid 1960s.
  • St. Lucia is situated in the Caribbean Sea, as part of the Lesser Antilles, with its total area covering 616sq km.
  • The closest islands neighboring St Lucia are St Vincent to the south, and Martinique, to the north.

  • The year-round temperature in St Lucia remains in the average range of about 27ºC (80ºF).
  • Castries, the capital city of St Lucia, is actually located in a flood gut region. Interestingly, Castries has been built on a reclaimed land mass.
  • St. Lucia, divided into 11 quarters, is estimated to have a population of almost 170,000.
  • The East Caribbean dollar (EC$) is the national currency of St. Lucia.
  • The recorded literacy rate of St Lucia shows about 67 percent of the population to be literate.
  • The average life expectancy of the people of St. Lucia is around 72 years.

  • Jacquot, or the St. Lucia Parrot, is a bird native only to these islands. It is the national bird of St. Lucia, and its scientific name is Amazona Versicolor.
  • St. Lucia was known as the Island of the Iguanas by the Amerindian Arawak and Carib people who are known to have been among the earliest settlers here.
  • At 950 m (3,117ft), Mount Gimie is the highest point on this island nation of St. Lucia.
  • Both France and England continuously struggled to establish sole control over St Lucia throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries. In the bargain, this island nation changed hands nearly 14 times.
  • Around the year 1600, the Dutch were the first to built Vieux Fort (or the old fort).
  • In 1746, the town of Soufriere was built, under French administration.
  • In 1814, St Lucia was surrendered to the United Kingdom, and came under British rule.
  • On 1st March, 1967, the island nation of St Lucia became self-governing in internal affairs.
  • “The Land, The People, The Light” was coined as the national motto of St. Lucia when it obtained total independence from England on 22nd February, 1979.

  • “Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia” is the national anthem of St Lucia. Penned by Charles Jesse, it has been set to music by Leton Felix Thomas.
  • St Lucia continues to be a current member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • The Honourable Stephenson King, born in Castries, is the current Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.
  • Sir Arthur Lewis, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1979, was born in St Lucia in 1915.
  • Derek Walcott, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, was born in Castries in 1930.

  • The Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton – are twin volcanic peaks that rise from the sea. These marvelous volcanic monuments have contributed in a big way to making St Lucia very famous.
  • In 2004, the Pitons Management Area containing much of a collapsed stratovolcano known as the Soufriere Volcanic Centre, became a World Heritage Site.
  • Sadly, hurricane Lenny left a lot of damage in its wake when it hit St Lucia in November 1999. The loss was estimated at around seventeen thousand East Caribbean dollars.
  • The rules for driving in St Lucia officially state that roads should be approached from the left hand side.
  • The Voice, The Star, The St Lucia Mirror, The Crusader and One Caribbean are some of the main newspapers of St Lucia. 

 

Special thanks to www.iloveindia.com

 

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