The Queen’s Diamonds Go On Display

This summer as part of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, the Queen is allowing her personal jewellery collection to be put on display. Some of this fabulous jewellery has been created from the world’s largest diamond and is sure to draw the crowds into the palace in large numbers. This incredible exhibition, on display within the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will illustrate the many ways that diamonds have been utilised by monarchs over the last two centuries. Included in the display are many items inherited by the queen that now make up part of her personal jewellery collection, many of which have been cut and remounted several times over their life in the royal collection. The jewels will be on display from June 30th 2012.

Photo by Michael Gwyther-Jones
Photo by Michael Gwyther-Jones

Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration

The exhibition exhibits include rings, brooches and a fabulous necklace made from the largest diamond ever found – the Cullinan Diamond. This incredible stone, in its raw and uncut state weighed in at a massive 3.106 carats. It was found just outside of Pretoria, South Africa at the Premier Mine in 1905.

Due to the size of the stone is was assumed at first that it was just a naturally occurring rock crystal, upon being brought the stone the clerks of the manager’s office threw the stone away, out of their window, simply refusing to believe that a stone so unreasonably large could possibly be a diamond. It took some time for them to come round to the idea that it was indeed a diamond, the largest ever mined anywhere in the world, and it was then named after the then chairman of the mining corporation Mr Thomas Cullinan.

Exceptional Purity

It was the colour and purity of the stone, other than its size that made it so exceptional. Very soon after it was unearthed the stone was transported to the City of London and presented to the king for his inspection. Despite the stone being shown to many prospective owners, not one of them could see how the stone could be cut, until the Transvaal’s Prime Minister offered the deal that the diamond should be purchased by his government, and presented back to Edward VII as a symbol of the country’s loyalty to the crown. They did not cut it however, it was presented back to the king in its raw state and the cutting of the stone, which had attracted attention from around the globe, was given to a firm in Amsterdam.

It took many days for the diamond cutters to decide on how the stone should be cut. It was eventually broken down into nine large principal stones, seven of which are on display in the exhibition. Along with 96 smaller cut diamonds there remained a further 9 carats still in a cut but unpolished state. From the diamonds original weight 1,055.9 carats were cut.

This is a once in a lifetime exhibition that needs to be seen to be truly appreciated. Make sure it is on your list of places to visit in the city this summer.

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