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The Biggest Diamonds Found in SA – Part I


A number of diamonds found in SA are known to be the biggest diamonds every discovered in the world, making South Africa one of the leading suppliers of magnificent and high quality diamonds globally.

The first diamonds in SA and the largest diamonds in the world were in fact found in the Cullinan Diamond Mine, situated in the Gauteng Province – formerly known as the Transvaal Province in South Africa. The underground diamond mine in Cullinan started excavating diamonds in SA in 1902 and was known as the Premier Mine, which was later changed to the Cullinan Diamond Mine. The famous SA diamond mine was sold by De Beers to Petra Diamonds in 2007.

It was in January 1905 when the biggest diamond discovery in the world was made. The first of the largest diamonds in SA was discovered by a miner, Thomas E. Powell who gave it to his manager Mr. Frederick Wells. The rough diamond found in the Cullinan Mine was simply named the Cullinan Diamond and weighed over six hundred and twenty grams. The Cullinan Diamond was bought by the Transvaal government at that time and was given to King Edward VII – the King of England as a birthday present.

The largest diamond found in SA was eventually cut into nine smaller diamonds with the biggest piece of the diamond being a magnificent 530.4 carats. It was then named the Cullinan I or the Great Star of Africa. This world famous diamond discovered in SA is now the focal point of the Royal Sceptre as part of the British Crown Jewels guarded in the Tower of London.

The second largest piece cut from the famous diamond in SA was named the Cullinan II or the Lesser Star of Africa and weighs over 63 grams. This splendid stone is now also part of the British Crown Jewels and is mounted on the front of the Imperial State Crown to display its brilliance.